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BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,7TH DEC,2020-President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on Kenyans to step up the fight against gender based violence (GBV) saying women must be treated with respect.
The President said GBV stems from a mentality of viewing women as objects as opposed to people who are of value and equal partners capable of high standards of leadership.
“We have a challenge with Gender Based Violence especially during this particular period of COVID-19 where people have been restricted, people have been at home. But we must go back into history and ask ourselves, where did this come from? Why is it that women are targeted and not necessarily men?” he posed.
“It is not the young people who are doing this, it is this 30% that I’m telling you, who want to live in the past. You must be be able to say that my sister is my partner, not my subject. You must be able to say that your wife is your partner, not your slave or domestic help. Change that mindset because it’s all about mindset,” he added.
President Kenyatta stated that excluding women from the social economic agenda of a country–particularly when they make up more than half of its population–is equivalent to cutting one of your legs and hoping to be able to walk.
“It is important for us to recognize that women are equal partners with men. We must remove this idea that women are objects…that they are either sexual objects or that they are objects of burden ati kazi yao ni kulima na kufanya vile wanaambiwa na wazee,” he said.
On Female Genital Mutilation, the President reiterated that Kenya still aims at ensuring end to the outdated practice by 2022 and warned that those still encouraging the vice will be arrested and prosecuted.
He said government officials will be held accountable including sub-chiefs and chiefs if they are found not to have taken action to stem the vice.
The President noted that the government, using technology, is creating applications that will allow women and girls to anonymously report cases of FGM.
“This will allow us to get information and take action so that our girls can grow and be productive. The same applies to gender based violence. The problem that we have is people not coming forward,” he said.
He urged women and girls not to be afraid to come forward and speak out against violence.
“Start taking control. Start saying NO and these things will come to an end and I assure you will have a government that will support you,” he said.
President Kenyatta added that he would advocate for the youth even after retiring from the Presidency as young people are the custodians of the future and they must be empowered to guard it.
He averred that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is meant to ensure that no Kenyan ever feels left out to a point that they become violent to achieve their objective.
“Kenya has owners and that is each one of the 50 million of us. But as owners we also have a responsibility for this property that we own so that we can drive Kenya to its rightful destination,” he said.
He was speaking on Monday during the Kenya ni Mimi summit at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi.
Kenya ni Mimi is a dialogue platform for the Kenyan youth to actively participate in nation building and drive youth agenda in leadership, innovation, social cohesion, equality and entrepreneurship.
“I came up with the Kenya Ni Mimi initiative to provide our youth with a platform for their empowerment. It is about giving young people an active voice on issues like SRHR, environmental sustainability and governance,” said Nadia Abdalla, CAS in the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs.
On his part, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Kenya Representative Ademola Olajide said the Kenya Ni Mimi campaign provides a powerful platform to catalyse the delivery of ICPD25 commitments especially for young people.
“We must engage youth in all things that concerns them such as education, agriculture, health and governance. Youths need to take every opportunity presented to them,” he noted adding that there is need to leverage the leadership that President Kenyatta has provided to the COVID-19 national response to build back better.
Ayya Chebi, AU Special Envoy on Youth said: “The Africa we want is borderless and peaceful and all have a role to play as youth to bring the change we want in Kenya and Africa at large.”
Ministry of Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi added: “Youth need to believe in themselves and take the opportunities available to them.”