NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – A section of male MPs are up in arms over a provision in the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill which proposes stiff penalties for men who ogle at women.
MPs Robert Mbui (Kathiani), Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache North) and Paul Otuoma (Funyula) said there is need to properly define the intentional indecent act in order to avoid innocent men from being falsely accused of sexually harassing women in public spaces or Public Service Vehicles.
“It is not fair for our female colleagues to insinuate that when I am looking them, like the way I am looking them now, it means that am desiring them,” David Wafula (Saboti) said.
“How would she know my eyes are lustful, when they are not. I may be seeing her as a sister,” North Imenti MP Rahim Dawood also interjected as MPs got excited by remarks from women MPs.
Angwenyi on his part added:”Is the Honourable Member, in order to challenge God who gave us eyes to look at people and things, to admire, so that we can make advances if necessary.”
Machakos County Woman Representative Susan Musyoka had earlier used popular Bongo song by AY and Diamond Platinumz ‘Kula kwa Macho’ to illustrate the discomfort women go through as some men lustfully undress them as they go about their business.
“They look at a woman, undress her and even do the act without even touching the woman, so this should not be allowed. It makes you very uncomfortable about your work and then when I hear it being sang in the FM stations, that song of ‘Kula kwa Macho’, it is so explicit,” she said amid cheers from her male counterparts.
MPs Zainab Chidzuga (Kwale County Woman Representative) and Dawood Rahim (North Imenti) welcomed the provision that allows plea bargaining and out of court settlement in cases involving sexual offences.
“This people should deserve a death sentence, because they will have wrecked the life of a young boy or young girl,” Chidzuga stated.
South Imenti MP Kathuri Murungi added; “There is a very great need to protect our girls, those who are vulnerable from the sex pests. I think there is a problem because some men are not differentiating between children and women,”
The Bill also spells out similar heavy penalties for families who marry off the victim to the offender or prevents police officers from conducting investigations or distorts evidence.
“The Bill seeks to expressly prohibiting plea bargaining and collusion in sexual offences which help the perpetrators of sexual offences evade justice,” the Bill’s Memorandum of Objects and Reasons states.
The Bill sponsored by Busia County Woman Representative Florence Mutua, also requires Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery to ensure that all police stations have special units to deal with sexual offences, and that police are trained to investigate such cases.
It also calls on the CS to ensure special units within the National Police Service are equipped with modern equipment and specialised staff to handle rape cases.