Post-Election Violence in Kenya Affects Women
Tuesday, January 15, 2008 4:47 PM

Kenya has long been considered a model of African stability.  However, following disputes of the December 27th re-election of President Mwai Kibaki, violence has swept through the country.  A quarter of a million people are in need of food, tents and medicine since fleeing their homes in clashes between rival political supporters, ethnic groups and the police, prompting the Red Cross to declare the situation a humanitarian “national disaster”.  In addition, a near paralysis of the transportation system is now affecting thousands of communities.

The BBC reported on January 14th that 600 people have been killed, with both sides accusing the other of ethnic cleansing. Women in particular continue to be the targets of looting at marketplaces and in their homes, with at least one hospital reported treating more than double the average of rape victims in one day.  

Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, originally called off the protests, saying he hoped international mediation could solve the problem.   However, efforts at mediation by African Union Chair and Ghanaian President John Kufuor failed last week when Kufuor held separate talks with President Kibaki and Odinga.  Odinga and his Orange Democratic Movement have since called for three days of massive protest this week citing that his supporters have been robbed of their democratic rights in the rigged election.  Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is planning to come to Kenya this week to encourage continued discussion between the two.

Compiled from:KENYA - Post-Election Violence in Kenya Affects Women: WEDO Calls for Urgent Action,” Women's Environment & Development Organization, 15 January 2008.