Raila calls for national debate on GBV as cases surge


ODM Leader, Raila Odinga

By: Rashid Abubakar  @MountKenyaTimes

ODM leader Raila Odinga has decried the increase in gender based violence, mostly cases of spouses killing one another in domestic fights.

While calling on candid national debate gender based violence (GBV) amid soaring cases, Raila asserted that the scourge is out of control and must be eradicated soon.

The former Prime Minister via twitter Tuesday noted that “too many lives are being lost on daily basis going by media reports.” and urged partners to leave if they are unable to reconcile.

“This scourge must come to an end. The abnormality of these murders cannot become the normal No! If you cannot reconcile, then, leave and let live. We need an urgent candid discussion on Gender Based Violence as a Nation,” Raila said.

He said the ‘horrific deaths’ were unfortunate, especially after one wins their partner’s heart.

“It is unfortunate…instead of going on to cherish and love them, some suddenly turn physical, and at times horrifically end up killing them,” Raila said.

The former Prime Minister remarks come against the backdrop of several cold-blooded murders in the country, which have been fuelled by, among other things, love gone sour.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, incidents of gender-based violence have increased, with analysts pointing to job-loss-related stress and confinement at home as some of the main causes.

Yesterday, Police in Kiambu County arrested a 44-year-old man accused of killing his girlfriend last Sunday, April 18.

Franklin Munyao, a waiter by profession, is accused of strangling his 40-year-old lover in Kambi Moto Village in Ruiru.

According to neighbours, Munyao’s girlfriend was last seen in public on Sunday daytime when hanging clothes on a communal clothesline.

On Tuesday, a foul smell emanating from Munyao’s one-roomed house prompted neighbours to file a report with police.

Authorities rushed to Munyao’s house, where they broke down his door and found the deceased wrapped in a nylon bag and placed on the bed. Her pair of trousers had slightly been lowered.

According to residents, the woman visited Munyao a few times a month.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives said there were marks on the woman’s neck, indicating she had been strangled.

Ruiru Sub-County Police Commander, Phineas Ringera, said a multi-agency team comprising police officers and DCI detectives tracked down the suspect to his workplace, a restaurant on Thika Road, where he was arrested.

Last week, on April 14 Police recovered the remains of woman allegedly killed by her boyfriend in Witeithie area in Juja, Kiambu county.

Evans Karani’s vehicle got stuck in the mud and fled, leaving the body in the car. Nyokabi’s father told journalists after the autopsy that the body was badly disfigured.

The 38-year old Kiambu businessman would be subjected for mental checks after claiming he killed the girlfriend over infidelity ‘and abandoned her to be eaten by wild animals.’

Recently in Mbooni East, a man hacked his wife to death over a land dispute. He was lynched by irate villagers.

On April 8, a man killed his pregnant wife and two children using a sledgehammer in Mbeere South.

Several kilometers away that day, a GSU officer shot his wife seven times before turning the gun on himself after a quarrel.

Hudson Wakise, reports show, acted in rage amid reports Pauline Wakasa – his wife of seven years, had decided to separate with him and move out of their matrimonial home.

On July 6, 2020, in his ninth address on the Covid19 pandemic, President Uhuru Kenyatta raised concerns with the “increasing tensions within (our) homes.”

The President ordered the National Crime Research Centre to probe the escalating cases of gender-based violence and violation of children’s rights.

The Centre was further directed to prepare an advisory to security agencies on remedial action within 30 days, and initiate immediate prosecution of all violators.

Mr Kenyatta also sounded the alarm that mental health issues had worsened, and instances of teenage pregnancy have escalated.

Despite the concerns by the national leaders, the cases remain rife, with observers saying the fights could just be a trigger of underlying issues – including financial distress in households.

According to a study released in December 2020 by the National Crime Research Center, gender-based violence rose by 92 percent between January and June 2020 compared to January and December 2019, with murder, sexual offenses, defilement, grievous damage, physical assault, child neglect, and child marriages accounting for the majority of cases.

Women and girls have been reporting more violations to the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW)- a national feminist women’s right NGO- since the pandemic began.

According to the NGO, CREAW typically received 20 cases each month, but with the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of cases increased to 34.

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