Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) crimes could be committed in the run-up to and during the general elections in Kenya on August 9.
This is according to the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC).
Human rights defenders voiced alarm in a report released on their website that, unless the Kenyan government takes immediate and tangible steps, the SGBV that characterized previous elections will likely be repeated in 2022.
Sexual violence, like gang rape and forced male circumcision, was used as a political weapon during the 2007 and 2017 elections, according to testimonies gathered throughout their investigations, particularly in Kisumu, Vihiga, and Migori regions.
With their new report on election-related SGBV in Kenya, FIDH and KHRC intend to emphasise the gender dimension of violence perpetrated against women during elections, in order to prevent any resurgence of such violence in 2022.
The report is based on fact-finding missions and in-depth analysis of SGBV, including violence committed in three opposition strongholds — Migori, Vihiga, and Kisumu counties during the last general elections in 2017.
Davis Malombe, Exective Director of KHRC says SGBV during elections has dire, multiple, and specific consequences on survivors.
If left unaddressed, they worsen over time, and will have an impact on the next elections thus affecting the participation of women in electoral processes.