Article by Jerry Masha
Electoral Sexual Gender-Based Violence (ESGBV) remains a key concern in preparation for the 2022 general elections and thus it is imperative for the creation of a coordinated approach to address and implement strategies at all levels in the justice sector. The consequences of ESGBV are often grave and impact adversely on the health and wellbeing of the affected individuals. The effects are equally felt at the family, community, and societal levels, and continue to impede the optimal participation of citizens in the electoral processes.
On June 30, 2022, FIDA-Kenya, together with other stakeholders held an Election Related Sexual and Gender-Based Violence conference that acted as a platform for reflection on the lessons learned on prevention and response to ESGBV in past elections, and to take stock on progress towards elimination of ESGBV as the Republic approaches the 2022 General Elections.
To actualize the goal of ending SGBV by 2026, FIDA-Kenya launched its Toll-Free line in April 2020 that has recorded over 5,399 SGBV cases. FIDA-Kenya also offers free legal aid advice and psychosocial support to victims and survivors of SGBV, hosts legal aid clinics, and trains women on self-representation to have them understand the court process and be able to represent themselves.
FIDA-Kenya has also trained 400 female political aspirants on media strategies, and recruited and deployed 100 electro-sexual gender-based violence monitors to various counties to work towards an end to ESGBV by submitting real time data and monthly reports.
During the 2007/2008 post-election, KNCHR documented sexual violence and noted similar patterns in 2017 where they documented at least 201 cases of which 94.6% involved the violation of women and girls who were subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence.
In fulfilling its mandate, to ensure a consultative approach toward the administration of justice for survivors of ESGBV, the KNCHR has collaborated with the National Council on Administration of Justice, (NCAJ), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, (OHCHR) the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA-Kenya), Utu Wetu Trust and the Kenyan chapter of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-K)
The forum called for the inspector general to make a public statement that no form of ESGBV will be tolerated.