Police rank high in GBV, report shows

Kinyuru Munuhe @kinyurumunuhe

National security agents have been ranked the main perpetrators of sexual violence during last year’s General Election, a report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) shows.

The damning report accused members of disciplined services of gang rape, defilement, sodomy, indecent acts and harassment during last year’s elections.

Violations recorded

Commission chairperson Kagwiria Mbogori said police perpetrated sexual and gender-based violations at 54.5 per cent compared to civilians at 45.5 per cent.

“What started as a few cases of varied sexual violations grew into a total of the 201 cases as documented in this report that emanated from the 2017 election violence.

It is noteworthy to put on record that the 201 sexual violence cases are not conclusive and are a record of survivors who courageously came out to the KNCHR to share their ordeals,” Kagwiria said.

Violations were recorded in 11 counties notably Nairobi, Kisumu, Vihiga, Kakamega, Migori, Siaya, Busia, Homa Bay and Bungoma. Only one case was reported in Machakos and another in Uasin Gishu counties.

The report focused on post-election violations largely experienced following the announcement of the first presidential results in August 2017 and the ensuing months prior to and after the repeat fresh presidential election in October last year.

According to the report, women were the most affected at 96.26 per cent while men were at 3.74 per cent.

However, the commission said cases of men violations are largely undocumented since the men hardly reports sexual violence cases and that the figure captured is not a true manifestation of the violence meted against the men.

Secure accountability

A 70-year-old female and a 68-year-old male in a case involving elderly people. “For some children who were spared of actual bodily harm, they were forced to watch as their parents were subjected to heinous sexual assaults that they could barely comprehend,” the report says in part.

The commission wants the National Police Service (NPS) to establish an independent special team to investigate complaints against police officers alleged to have perpetrated acts of sexual violence during the electoral period.

They also want Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet to design a specific complaint mechanism for sexual violence under the Internal Affairs Unit to handle complaints of sexual violence against members of the service.

Yesterday, Boinnet did not respond to queries on alleged police involvement to the atrocities cited by the commission’s report.

The commission which is a government entity called upon President Uhuru Kenyatta to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate and prosecute cases of the 2017 electoral sexual violence with a view of securing accountability and according justice to the survivors and their families.

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