MCA wants use of maslaha in rape cases banned


In Summary

  • A nominated member of the Garissa County Assembly has said she table a motion that will ban the use of Maslaha (communal dispute resolution mechanism) to settle rape cases in the area.
  • Assistant County Commissioner Amos Onchari said the national government is willing to assist women in the fight against rape, FGM and other forms of oppressive cultural practices.

A nominated member of the Garissa County Assembly has said she table a motion that will ban the use of Maslaha (communal dispute resolution mechanism) to settle rape cases in the area.

Speaking during the International Women’s day celebrations held at Garissa primary school playgrounds on Thursday, Fatuma Abdi said that rapists should be subjected to the laws of the land and punitive punishment meted out on those found culpable.

“We refuse and condemn use of maslaha as a form of settling rape cases within our communities. The law we intend to table will also punish elders found to be promoting maslaha on rape cases,” Fatuma said.

“Any elder found to have participated in maslaha will be jailed regardless of his status in the society. We shall, as women legislators, come together to marshal our like-minded male counterparts to ensure this bill passes without any hitch.”

The MCA said that women should be respected and must earn their place in society as prescribed in the law and not through favouritism.

Last week, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i warned that the government will not allow the use of maslaha  to resolve rape cases in Wajir County.

She asked the county executive to allocate more funds to the youth, women, sports, culture and gender ministry to ensure that programmes geared towards promoting women and youth in the society are implemented so as to improve their well-being.

“Women have been treated as second class citizens and denied opportunities to vie for political positions. However, this is changing and we urge our male counterparts to support us in pushing for gender equality,” noted Fatuma.

Kamuthe Women Network chair lady Makka Kassim condemned maslaha saying it was previously used with good intention by elders but with time it has become a self-seeking venture.

“Elders are more interested in their personal gain as opposed to seeking justice for the victim. The victim is never part of the negotiation during maslaha,” Makka said.

“The victim is left to suffer and in most cases becomes traumatised because of being rejected by the community. This might lead to suicide,” she said.

Assistant County Commissioner Amos Onchari said the national government is willing to assist women in the fight against rape, FGM and other forms of oppressive cultural practices.

Mr. Onchari regretted that these vices are rarely reported to the authorities for appropriate action against the perpetrators.

“I want to urge our women to come out and report such cases to us. The law is explicit on how to deal with rape, FGM and other forms of oppressive cultural practices against women,” he said.

The celebrations were preceded by a procession by women leaders and activist through the streets of Garissa town that ended up at the Garissa primary school grounds.

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