According to the Sexual Offenses Act…

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By Nebila Abdulmelik

By now, I think you must have heard about Liz’s story – and the #JusticeForLiz campaign that has been started.

We’re happy to note that over 600,000KSH was raised for Liz, who underwent surgery and is recovering. Doctors are hopeful that she should be back on her feet in six weeks. KNCHR (Kenya National Commission on Human Rights) and Fida-Kenya are suing the government for failure to protect.

I just wanted to bring your attention to the Sexual Offenses Act and the provisions within that must guide this case:
As per Legal Notice 10 on page 8:
Any person who commits the offense of rape or defilement under this Act in association with another or others, or any person who, with common intention, is in the company of another or others who commit the offense of rape or defilement is guilty of an offense termed gang rape and is liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less fifteen years but which may be enhanced to imprisonment for life.

So why have Liz’s rapists been allowed to slash grass and go free??

As per legal notice 35, point 3 & 4 of the Sexual Offenses Act (on who bears medical expenses)
3)Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-section (2), the Minister responsible for health shall prescribe circumstances under which a victim of a sexual offense may at any time access treatment in any public hospital or institution.
4) The expenses incurred for the treatment or professional counseling of any person convicted of an offense under this section or a victim of a sexual offense as the case may be, shall be borne by the State.

So why did the public have to pay for Liz’s hospital bills? Why did she have to wait three months to undergo surgery? Where is the accountability of public servants??

The perpetrators are still at large, despite a police probe that was launched, concluded and handed over to the Department of Public Prosecutions  without any arrests. The police who handled her case very poorly have not faced any disciplinary action.

The online petition #JusticeForLiz now has over 934,000 signatures (as of 11:42PM Sunday) and counting. Join us in demanding #JusticeForLiz and in demanding public accountability, an end to violence and an end to impunity. We must never forget that Liz is one story – she is unfortunately not the first nor the last victim or survivor of violence, but we must use her story and this case as a rallying point – to express solidarity, to express our outrage and to demand action. We must act. For Liz, for Mbabazi and for so many others in similar situations.

Nebila Abdulmelik is the Head of Communications at FEMNET. Connect with her – communiation@femnet.or.ke or @aliben86 or on her blog – aliben86.wordpress.com.

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