FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
28 April 2021
#Sitanyamazishwa: Constitutional Petition in the Employment and Labour Relations Court seeking redress for the violation of a former employee’s constitutional rights and sexual harassment
On 28 April 2021, the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) and the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa have filed a petition for redress against RILEY SERVICES LTD to seek amends for violation of her Constitutional rights and sexual harassment.
In February 2018, a woman who was working as a security guard at Riley Security Services was sexually harassed by a senior manager in the building where she was assigned to guard. Riley Security Services was a service provider assigned to the Harambee Sacco Plaza. She reported the incident to the Head of Security in the building who advised her to report to her employer and the police. She reported the matter to the police who kept the matter pending under investigation. She further reported the incident to her employer who did not take any steps to provide amends for the violation she had endured. She was subsequently moved from her workplace, together with all the guards she was supervising, and was assigned administrative duties and her salary was reduced. Despite various pleas for redress, the employer only frustrated her and eventually asked her to leave employment.
A Constitutional Petition has been brought forward in the Employment and Labour Relations Court seeking redress for the violation of her rights. She seeks the horizontal application of her constitutional rights against her employer. Furthermore, the application seeks to expand the applicability of the law on sexual harassment to other persons within the employer’s control, even if not its employees. The petition seeks to ask the court to determine whether the employer and the alleged perpetrator failed to protect and uphold employee’s fundamental rights particularly, the right to equality and freedom from discrimination, right to human dignity, right to fair labour practices, and the right to fair administrative action.
“We believe that this case is not just about the violation of the client’s human rights but about the fiduciary responsibility of organisation’s to ensure the safety of their employees from sexual harassment from their clients”, said Advocate Beatrice Njeri
The Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) is acting as advisors to counsel to the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) as part of the women’s economic and social rights programmatic intervention. CREAW is a national feminist women’s rights Non-Governmental Organization whose vision is to contribute to a just society where women and girls enjoy their full rights and live in dignity. Their mission is to champion, expand and actualize women’s and girls’ rights and social justice. In all proceedings, ISLA and CREAW will be represented by Advocate Beatrice Njeri who will be working with an alumnus of ISLA’s Feminist Litigation Network (FLN) Advocate Carolene Kituku. The case will be filed on Wednesday, 28 April 2021 in the Court of Kenya at the Nairobi Milimani Law Courts.
Join the conversation on social media by following:
Hashtag: #Sitanyamazishwa #WhoProtectsUs
For further enquiries kindly contact:
Tel: +254 720 230 206
Email: [email protected]
Counsel for ISLA and CREAW
Tel: +254 71 026 1408
Email: [email protected]
Communications Officer CREAW).
Cell: +254 724 961 386
Email: [email protected]
One week ago, the public were shocked by the disdainful comments made by former Homeboyz Radio Station presenters during a breakfast show aired on 25th of March, 2021. The comments condoned gender-based violence and placed the survivor at fault.
When a woman, or indeed, any other person survives gender-based violence, they expect empathy and justice and not blame, shame and stigma meant to further re-traumatize and stifle their voices into silence. Public broadcasting stations must not be used as a platform to victim shame. We call on Home Boyz and all broadcasting stations to take note of the Constitutional provision that requires the media to be responsible in their coverage of matters that touch on the safety, security and wellbeing of women and girls.
In the wake of the Home Boyz experience, we demand that all media houses adopt gender and zero violence tolerance policies that categorically provide for redress of violations, address gender biases and provide for balanced news reportage and media content.
Homeboyz situation is not an isolated case. In recent times sexism and misogynistic conversations have openly supported, made jokes, or sensationalized violence against women and girls, often diverting public attention from the perpetrators of such acts or not holding them accountable for their actions. Such actions only serve to perpetuate misogyny and discourages many victims from reporting cases of violence out of fear that they might be blamed for the harm meted on them or further victimized.
Any actions that promote or justify sexual violence do not stem sexual harassment and violence nationally. The mass media must play its role in eradicating the silent pandemic. During the corona pandemic, GBV cases have increased by 42 per cent. In this country, 47 per cent of women compared to three per cent men experience some form of Gender Based Violence. This violence also costs Kenya at Ksh 29 billion annually.
While supporting the rapid actions taken by the East African Breweries, Radio Africa Group management and the Communication Authority of Kenya, we urge the mass media industry to take up their critical and powerful role of promoting and protecting human rights.
Further, we call upon the media industry to:
We stand ready to work with media houses in Kenya to boost their responsibility in reporting on human rights violations and sensitize presenters/hosts on gender responsive broadcasting. We note that the issues surrounding the incident are layered and will require numerous actors to address and this, therefore, offers an impetus for accelerated efforts on the same.
This statement has been issued by four human rights organizations namely Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW), Amnesty International Kenya, Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) and the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW).
COVAW is an organization that focuses on influencing sustained engagement on violations conducted against women and girls in Kenya, with a focus on Gender Based Violence.
Amnesty International Kenya is an organization dedicated to securing human rights all over the world. Amnesty International Kenya works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied.
AMWIK is a non-profit membership organization for women journalists and communicators in Kenya. AMWIK is committed to enhancing the status of women in Kenya and Africa. AMWIK seeks to use the media to promote an informed and gender responsive society through a professional and transformative media in Kenya and Africa.
CREAW is a duly registered, national feminist women’s rights non-governmental organization whose vision is a just society where women and girls enjoy full rights and live in dignity.
We are deeply appalled by the information going round on social media platforms about sexual assault and the gruesome murder of Velvine Nungari Kinyanjui allegedly by one Anthony Njenga Murimi. Our deepest condolences to Velvine’s family and friends.
As an organization that has committed itself to the promotion of the rights of women and girls, the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) notes with concern that while Velvine’s case is not an isolated one; countless number of women and girls across the country have become subjects to gender-motivated killings, sexual violence including rape, female genital mutilations, and sexual harassment in the households, communities, workplaces and by extension public spaces. As many as seven in ten women in various parts of the country report having experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime, most of them at the hands of intimate partners.
Data from CREAW shows that by the end of 2020, cases of violence against women and girls across Kenya had risen by 64% amidst the pandemic. The statistics that are further affirmed by the National Crime Research Center report 2020 which recorded a 92% increase in cases of GBV between January and June 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. These statistics demonstrates that violence against women and girls continue to go unabated despite the Constitutional provisions that upholds the rights of all Kenyans, women and girls included.
We welcome the actions by the National Police Service (NPS), the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Office of the Director of Criminal Investigations (ODPP) in apprehending Velvine’s alleged assailant (Anthony Njenga Murimi), however we demand that speedy investigations be done and the culprit be charged for nothing less than murder for the life of Velvine. The Judiciary should ensure that the case is heard and determined and that the perpetrator is fully made accountable for the heinous act. We shall remain vigilant until justice is done for Velvine, one life lost is one too many other lives lost in our communities. She was loved, she was cared for. We are missing a life, a sister, a daughter, a friend, stolen from our hearts and our minds. Femicide is unacceptable!
In all, CREAW stands in solidarity with all survivors and victims of femicide and other forms of GBV and call on the government to break their silence on the “shadow pandemic” and honour their obligation as outlined in the Constitution of Kenya 2010 to end violence against women and girls.
We are also cognisant that, survivors voices continue to be stifled by the patriarchal notions and societal stigma; a matter that has left many survivors wallowing in pain and hopelessness. We are calling on individuals and communities to rise beyond the gender biases, play their part and take action to liberate women and girls from all forms of violence.
About the Center for Rights Education and Awareness
Founded in 1999, the Center for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) is a national feminist organization driving change for equal societies in Kenya. We place women and girls at the center of our actions to end inequality and realize social justice. We question political, social, economic, legal, cultural and religious structures that silences the voices and agency of women and girls in Kenya.
CREAW envisions a just society where women and girls enjoy full rights and live in dignity. We believe in the equality of rights, with empowerment and justice made available for every woman and girl. We stand for, ensuring women and girls have Power, Voice and Agency. For more information on CREAW, please visit: www.creawkenya.org
For more information please contact [email protected] or call 0720-357-664.
We, the undersigned Women, Women Associations, Women Rights organizations and Gender Equality Advocates in Kenya, being representatives of women in all their diversity including grass root and rural women, women in the informal settlements, women in Business, Women in Professional Bodies and in all Associations and organizations have taken note of the Action taken by the RT. Hon. Chief Justice , David Maraga issued Monday, 21st September 2020 to His Excellency, the President Uhuru Kenyatta in respect to the dissolution of Parliament for its failure to enact legislation to implementation of the two thirds gender rule as provided for in Article 10 (2), Article 27(6) ; Article 81(b) and Article 100 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
The women of Kenya stand in solidarity with the action taken by the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice on dissolution of parliament. The action by Rt. Hon. Chief Justice is timely and takes cognizance of the challenges that women have faced and continue to face in our quest for inclusivity and equality.
We further note that it is the responsibility of each one of us to remain accountable to our Constitution and the Rule of Law.
We further affirm that the drafters of our Constitution were alive to the patriarchal challenges and difficulties in promoting women’s political leadership and representation in our country.
We note the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice’s decision has taken cognizance of the numerous attempts by Parliament to provide a mechanism for actualizing the gender provision anchored in the Constitution. On all these occasions, Parliament has failed to reach a decision and demonstrated a lack of good will and respect for the rule of law.
We note that by advising, H.E. the President to dissolve the 11th Parliament, Rt. Hon. Chief Justice has acted within the bounds set out in the law, and as espoused in Article 261(7) and in furtherance of our democracy and the rule of law.
The women of Kenya are in full support of the Rt. Hon. Chief Justice’s insistence that the Country must hold everyone accountable for their actions or lack thereof. This is as it should be.
We further highlight the four (4) Court Orders that have been issued directing Parliament to implement the two thirds gender rule within clearly specified time lines. We acknowledge the efforts and attempts that both houses of Parliament have taken on the matter. However, we note that these attempts have not resulted to any outcome as envisaged in the Constitution.
We regret the push-back and voices from Parliament that are misleading Kenyans with the false narrative that the ‘two thirds gender rule: Is not part of the mandate of Parliament; that there is no mechanism to implement this provision; and that it is too costly to implement the two third gender rule.
We note that all these narratives are misleading and point to the challenges that we have encountered and have had to endure with parliament in our attempts to push for enactment of a mechanism for the implementation of the two thirds gender rule.
While women welcome the attempts in Parliament to implement Article 100, we wish to point out that this does not in any way provide for the implementation of the two thirds gender rule as it only deals with limits its focus to the existing seats in Parliament.
We reiterate that the spirit of our Constitution envisages an inclusive Kenya in which all citizens including women, youth, persons with disabilities and other marginalized categories have equal opportunity to socially, economically and politically participate fully in the affairs of our country.
We note that the crisis the country finds itself, unlike the COVID-19 pandemic, is self-afflicted and hence its solution is within our reach.
We further reiterate that Implementing the Constitution of Kenya 2010 in its entirety including the two thirds gender rule is a matter of great interest to all Kenyans. Unfortunately, this crisis did not happen yesterday and has been with us for the last ten years.
We emphasize that the time has come for Kenya to entrench constitutionalism and the rule of law. The hall mark of a democracy is its adherence and fidelity to the Rule of Law and Separation of powers between the various arms of government.
We note that the Two Thirds Gender Rule is not about giving seats to women but it is about creating an inclusive and sustainable society in furtherance to its commitment to the SDGs, the Agenda 2063 and the Vision 2030.
We note that while Kenya has made some great advancements in promoting women’s empowerment and gender equality, the country is lagging behind other countries including Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia and Senegal among others who have embraced gender quotas. Kenya is a leader in many respects except in this area of women’s representation.
We stand on the various promises that His Excellency, the President has made to the women of Kenya including his commitment to ensure that Kenyan women enjoy full political, social and economic rights. Mr. President, the Judiciary and parliament have done their part. The ball is now squarely in your court.
We are confident that H.E, the President will assert himself on this matter and provide leadership that will move this Country forward and entrench Constitutionalism.
Finally, we note that all women and men are equal and it’s the obligation of the leadership to ensure that its citizens enjoy all the rights as guaranteed in the Constitution.
his appeal raises novel questions of law on whether vicarious liability can be attributed to the appellant, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) who at the material time had employed Astorikoh Henry Amkoah, (3rd respondent hereinafter referred to as “teacher”) for alleged acts of sexual abuse against the students hereinafter referred to as “WJ” and “LN”).
Source: Daily Nation
By Moraa Obiria
Teen pregnancies among school girls is a worrying phenomenon in Kenya. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), notes that 378,397 girls aged 10 to 19 got pregnant between June 2016 and July 2017.
Similar data by Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014, indicates that about one in every five adolescent girls has either given birth, or is pregnant with her first child.
Notably, in November 2018, Kilifi County Children Affairs department released shocking statistics. They recorded 13, 624 pregnancies among girls aged 15 to 19 years in the past one year.
Incidents of deliveries among girls, during Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), often surface.
The same year, the Ministry of Education reported at least 50 cases of pregnancies during KCPE. Kitui County presented a classical scenario with a report of 100 pregnancies during KCSE.
Last year, a similar trend was reported in Bomet County during the KCSE with at least 12 pregnancies.
Across Africa, the structural systems are inflexible and inconsiderate of the burdens of adolescent mothers seeking to return to school.
As at 2018, 15 countries had re-entry policies for the girls, but the conditions set for the re-entry are repulsive.
The countries include Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon Gambia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique. Others are Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe
In Malawi, girls are suspended for one year the moment their pregnancy is known, according to a2018 Human Rights Watch report on discrimination of adolescent mothers’ discrimination in access to education.
There are conditions set for the young mothers to apply for re-admission. She must send a request to the Ministry of Education and the school she intends to join, as noted in theLeave No Girl Behind in Africa Discrimination in Education against Pregnant Girls and Adolescent Mothersreport.
In Zambia and Gabon, girls have a better chance of continuing with their education. The countries have policies privy to their additional needs. They ensure primary and secondary education is free; the girls have time to breastfeed, and can choose morning or evening classes. They also have nurseries and day-care centres close to schools where their babies are sheltered while they attend classes.
In Kenya, a proposed law on supporting girl-child parents to complete their education after childbirth is still pending in the Senate.
Care and Protection of Child Parents Bill
The Care and Protection of Child Parents Bill (2019) proposes a framework for ensuring girls such as those in Kilifi and Kitui are granted care and protection by the national and county governments to actualise their right to basic education while ensuring the care of their children.
The Bill sponsored by nominated Senator Millicent Omanga, mandates the national government through the National Council for Children’s Services to “address any educational and related barriers faced by pregnant and parenting students.”
The Council would also be required to “guarantee funding and sustainability of the initiative and other child welfare programs aimed at benefiting child parents.”
There is also a proposal that county education boards and county executive committee members for education collaborate in establishing “programs to ensure expectant children and child parents have access to education services.”
And that “academic support programs that ensure students with extended absences for reasons related to pregnancy and parenting, are able to enrol back to school or other education facility to access education services.”
The Bill has been reviewed by Senate Committee on Labour and Social Welfare, with the report being tabled in the House in November last year.
It would require National Assembly backing to become law. Upon approval by the Senate, it would be sent to MPs, before the Speaker of Senate forwards it the President to assent to it.
Addressing pregnancies among the school girls is, however, not just about institutional structures with financial support, argues Dr Emmanuel Manyasa, an education analyst and Executive Director of Usawa Agenda.
“We have to be careful with giving financial support as it may end up being an incentive for pregnancy,” says Dr Manyasa who spoke to the Nation on phone.
He says allowing girl-child parents back to school must be accompanied with a long-term solution.
“Needy girls end up pregnant as a consequence of poverty. The girls must be freed from poverty to avoid repeat pregnancies.”
Ms Isabella Mwangi, of Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) underscores a multi-pronged approach to ending teen pregnancies.
She says the government, parents, teachers, religious institutions and community elders play a critical role in creating safe spaces for advancement of school girls.
Ms Mwangi says the government and religious institutions must agree on the introduction of sex education in schools, since sexual relations among teens is a reality that cannot be ignored.
She identifies recreational centres near schools as fertile grounds for luring girls, and the government ought to eradicate them.
She says parents must be responsible for teaching their girls and boys about their sexuality.
“Parents must nurture their children to know that they have a purpose in the society. Talking to their children is a responsibility they must not abdicate to anyone,” she notes.
While emphasising on role of community elders as custodians of cultural traditions, Ms Mwangi says they must be involved, as their influence in spearheading anti- retrogressive practices campaigns would lead to drop in teen pregnancies.
Source: Daily Nation
By Kamau Maichuhie and Moraa Obiria
The changes in government announced on Tuesday by President Uhuru Kenyatta have raised a ray of hope for a gender balanced public service.
In the fresh changes, Mr Kenyatta appointed Betty Maina as Industrialisation Cabinet secretary and 15 new chief administrative secretaries (CAS) — eight are women.
The nomination of Ms Maina raises the number of women in the Cabinet to seven. They are Amina Mohamed (Sports, Culture and Heritage), Margaret Kobia (Public Service and Gender) and Farida Karoney (Lands and Physical Planning).
Others are Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs), Sicily Kariuki (Water) and Monica Juma (Defence).
The CAS include Rachael Shebesh, Maureen Magoma and Winnie Guchu. Others are Wavinya Ndeti, Linah Jebii Kilimo, Ann Martha Mukami, Mercy Mukui, Mumina Bonaya and Nadia Ahmed Abdalla.
However, pundits say seven women in a 21-member Cabinet is still far from achieving gender equality compared to other countries in the region such as Rwanda and Ethiopia.
QUALITY IS IMPORTANT
Mr Chryspin Afifu, a gender and governance policy adviser, however told the Nation that the changes are a win for women in their quest for gender parity in public service.
He said the new appointments raise the ratio of women in the Cabinet to 30 per cent.
“We need to see a lot of policies being put in place among them women and sports, water, women and lands and property rights, employment in Middle East countries where reports of women being mistreated continue to come in,” he said.
Mr Afifu added that the push for gender parity should not only be pegged on numbers, but also on whether the women will do a good job.
Kenya has made progress in appointing women to powerful Cabinet positions. However, the Treasury seems to be still under the men’s stranglehold.
Since 1963, no woman has been appointed to head the ministry even as the country inches closer to achieving the two-thirds gender parity in Cabinet composition.
Prior to 2013, the ministries of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Commerce — considered powerful dockets — were headed by men.
In his first Cabinet appointments, Mr Kenyatta took a laudable step towards the constitutional requirement of two-thirds gender representation by opting for women to head these crucial ministries.
Raychelle Omamo made her maiden entry into the Cabinet as CS for Defence. Foreign Affairs was handed to Amina Mohamed while Phyllis Chepkosgey headed the East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism.
Women have held the substantive ministries of public service, education and health in succession. And now Water and Industrialisation ministries would be held by women should Parliament approve their appointment.
Still, men have a firm hold on Finance. Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa with a $376.3 billion gross domestic product (GDP), has had three women running the Finance ministry consecutively since 2011.
Ms Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala headed the ministry between 2011 and 2015, handing it over to Kemi Adeosun, who in 2018 passed on the mantle to Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, the incumbent.
Other 16 countries in Africa with past or present female Finance ministers include Tanzania, Uganda, Liberia, the Gambia, Namibia, Togo and Mozambique. Others are Zambia, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Burundi, Chad, Benin, Lesotho, Guinea and Tunisia.
Mercy Jelimo, an officer at the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness-Kenya, said women are capable of holding powerful positions, adding that time was ripe for the President to entrust them with the responsibilities.
She said that the appointment of seven women to the Cabinet is good progress considering Kenya’s history of marginalising women in leadership.
Rwanda is one of the countries in Africa with the most gender balanced Cabinet as women form half of the 26-member Cabinet.