Major Milestone as Nairobi County Govt Signs Law on SGBV Crimes

By Irene Mwangi

 Nairobi acting Governor Anne Kananu has assented into law the Nairobi City County Sexual and Gender Based Management and Control Bill of 2019 which paves way for the county to put in place structures aimed at dealing with victims of sexual violence.

Kananu has assured the county’s commitment in implementing the law which will enable the creation of safe houses as well as ensuring proper budgetary policies for victims of sexual violence.

“This bill is crucial for the residents of Nairobi because I have seen a lot of women and girls suffer due to sexual and gender-based violence. It is always said that it’s better to have a divorced daughter than a dead daughter. This Bill will aid to help our parents and siblings to speak out,” Kananu said.

She pointed out that cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence have been reinforced by customs and culture and ending the vice requires a multi sectoral approach from all sectors.

“We thank the National Government for partnering with us to ensure that we have a safe house. We urge all non-state actors to join hands with us to ensure elimination of all forms of violence against men, women and girls,” she said.

Kananu also to ensure elimination of sexual violence against both genders, calling on non-state actors to join hands with the devolved units in ending the vice.

“The new law will build on the ongoing efforts by President Uhuru Kenyatta to create a gender equal society post corona virus pandemic period,” the acting Nairobi governor said.

Chief Administrative Secretary for Public Service and Gender Rachel Shebesh lauded the move by Nairobi County assembly to prioritize Gender-Based Violence (GBV) issues calling on the county government to ensure allocation of funds to implement the requirements of the Bill.

“GBV doesn’t end in treating, there is more including rebuilding the lives so that we can interrogate them in the society. I urge the county assemblies to allocate funds in the next financial year. It is sad that GBV issues are the ones least allocated when it comes to funds. Let’s see a change in the last financial year before 2022,” she urged.

On her part, Nairobi Women Representative Esther Passaris who was present during the function said a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be signed in a weeks’ time between National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), Nairobi County, Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) to have a safe house for victims of sexual and gender-based violence victims.

“It’s during the tenure of Anne Kananu that we will be the first safe house to be run by government and all of us have a role to play. Men, Women and Children need a safe space when it comes to the issues of Gender based violence,” Passaris noted.

The Nairobi Metropolitan Service through the Head of Gender Based Violence Response Roselyn Mukabana stated that the anchorage on addressing SGBV issues in the law will create an efficient and rapid response in the county.

“We need this implemented as fast as yesterday and our clarion call is to see men as protectors and not violators. We will be having 16 days of activism from 25th November to December 10th 2021 on the issues of Gender Based Violence,” said Mukabana.

The bill was sponsored by nominated MCA Wanjiru Kariuki who stated that the biggest hurdle to effectively taming SGBV has been the social tolerance.

The SGBV Bill 2019 seeks to establish a clear and interconnected reporting and referral system so that survivors and witnesses know where to seek help.

This will be through a coordinated multi-sectoral approach with referral linkages to the police, healthcare providers, legal aid, and psychosocial support to enable survivors and witnesses to report and seek justice.

Safe houses will be set up in each of the sub-counties in Nairobi to provide shelter to victims of violence.

Additionally, it provides for the promotion of public awareness on causes, impact, consequences and means of preventing sexual and gender-based violence and providing protection and assistance for those subjected to violence in Nairobi County.

The biggest hurdle for the implementation of the bill will be resource allocation as the issues of GBV have been frequently underfunded.

Source: Capital FM

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