“Our areas are marked as “hot-spots” but that alone puts us under pressure; there are talks of people arming themselves; there has been a lot of violence some of which hardly ever get reported. Even though we are afraid, we have come forward in solidarity so that these issues are not overlooked”
Nairobi, 27th July – Women peace builders from over ten informal slums and settlements in Nairobi are collectively raising the alert for impending violence during the polling day from August 8th.
The women have raised concerns asking for more protection and security, before, during and immediately post the elections. “We are afraid of election violence”. They urge for the urgent implementation of the UNSCR1325 to cater for the special needs, representation and participation of women and girls in the informal sectors.
Contrary to persistent government assurance for peace and security during the voting period, the women converging from different areas of Nairobi slums and informal settlements are skeptical that their areas will be peaceful and now want the government and security apparatus to heed their plea.
Women in slum areas and informal sectors persistently bear the brunt of election violence. Sexual violence or the fear of it is rife, women campaigners as well as aspirants are easy targets of attacks while their voices are muffled and often ignored in escalating political tempos.
In some of the areas, young women especially are easy targets by gangs and political pressure groups in the slums who make their business to attack anyone who claims dissenting support from theirs.
In almost all the areas represented, criminal gangs have seemingly increased and/or regrouped ahead of the polling date and are continuously causing violence mayhem.
The women represent the low-income areas of Kibera, Mathare, Korogocho, Huruma, Kiyambiyu, Shauri Moyo, Kaloleni, Mukuru, Kangemi and some parts of Ngong & Ruaraka.
RECOMMENDATIONS BY THE WOMEN:
While invoking Kenya’s commitment to the United Nations Security Resolution 1325 on women peace and security, the women now want the government to fully implement the process required to incorporate the voices and participation of women in peace and security.
They make the following recommendations to be considered by the government and security apparatus when rolling out operations in slum areas during the voting period;-
- Guaranteed security assurance – provision of ultimate security especially for women and children
- Deployment of gender-sensitive policing to manage women’s vulnerability and insecurity. This should include the opening of safe corridors for women and girls as part of prevention and management of sexual and gender based violence.
- Creation of safe spaces for women and children when violence breaks out.
- Mapping out of easy access for emergency and health care services by medical and security personnel during heightened violence.
- Ensuring that all government hospitals are equipped with post rape care kits.
- Persistent community discussions and engagements
- Engage the youth as peace-builders and conflict mitigators
- Roll out the national action plan on 1325 with a specific focus to vulnerable areas like the slums and informal sectors.
The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 was unanimously adopted in October 2000, it recognizes the centrality of gender in approaches to international peace and addresses the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict n women.
The Kenya National Action Plan (KNAP) on UNSCR 1325 was rolled out in March 2016 under the rider; kuhusisha wanawake ni kudumisha amani (to involve women is to sustain Peace).
Amongst the core focuses of the KNAP on UNSCR1325 is to promote the active & increased engagement of women on issues of peace & security at all levels through deliberate gender mainstreaming and empowerment of women in all processes.
- PPC Women Peace Builders
- Peace Pen Communications (PPC)
- The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET)
- The Young Women’s Leadership Institute (YWLI)
- Community Advocacy and Awareness Trust (CRAWN Trust)
- Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK)
- Fatuma’s Voice