Sexual and Gender-based violence in the 2007 post-election conflict in Kenya
Report of a study commissioned by: The Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW)
Between December 2007 and March 2008, Kenya faced its worst political and governance crisis yet. Unlike in the previous general elections since 1992 when the ruling Party used politically motivated violence to diminish the vote of their competing Political Parties in the opposition as a strategy of rigging, this post election violence went beyond the control of the political system and degenerated to a state of total break down of Law and order. Three months of a political stalemate fertilized by the contested presidential election results, undermined the foundation of the nation, the economy and extensively created a climate for the violation of citizens’ rights. It is in that context that the most despicable sexual and gender based violence in Kenya’s post independence history were witnessed. This is the context within which women paid the price of a failed state, an incompetent government and the culture of violence in the Kenyan society.
The constitution failed the people of Kenya. Kenya’s constitution has always failed to cover the nakedness of all the citizens and only padded and secured the comfort and security of a few privileged citizens. The constitution has established a government that is unresponsive to the rights of the poor and the majority of the weak citizens who are mainly women, the youth and children. This enduring legacy has created and fertilized a culture of impunity, the abuse and disregard of the institutions of the state, lack of accountability and a culture that disregards international norms and standards of governance and Human rights protection and promotion. From this cultural context, the politics of exclusion have taken root. Kenya’s politics of exclusion are powered by the winner takes-it-all, first-past-the-post electoral system that makes elections a life and death affair where the losers also lose all in the political system. This paradigm has been legitimized by Kenya’s expired one-Party- state constitution that has failed the interests of Kenyans but promoted the interests of the ruling class, particularly those in the ruling party and in public office.
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