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‘Patriarchy kills’: Hundreds march in Kenya against the murder of women

In World
January 27, 2024

Several hundred people marched in Nairobi on Saturday to protest against femicide in Kenya where over a dozen women have been killed this month in cases that shocked the nation.

The campaigners took to the streets of the capital holding placards that read “Being a woman should not be a death sentence”, “Patriarchy kills” while others featured names and photographs of the victims.

“Stop killing us,” they chanted as they marched towards parliament, bringing traffic to a halt in Nairobi’s central business district.

At least 16 women have been killed in Kenya this year, according to media reports, shining a spotlight on violence against women which the government has described as “rising”.

In one of the cases that gained nationwide attention, a 26-year-old woman was killed on January 4 at a short-term rental flat by a suspect who police say is part of an extortionist gang which targets women through dating sites.

Activists march in Nairobi on Sunday against an alarming rise in the murder of young women. Photo: AFP

Barely a fortnight later, a 20-year-old woman was strangled, dismembered and her remains stuffed into a plastic bag.

Two men are in police custody over the case but are yet to be charged.

“Femicide is the most brutal manifestation of gender-based violence,” Amnesty International’s Kenya chapter said in a statement ahead of the march.

“It is unacceptable and must never be normalised,” the rights group said, calling on authorities to expedite investigations and prosecution of the perpetrators.

At Saturday’s protest, Terry Wangare, a communications officer, said it was “time for Kenya to stand up and make a decision”.

“Nobody cares. If you complain, you are bad,” the 32-year-old said.

Twenty three-year-old student Faith Claire Wanjiru, who was at her first protest, said she was “angry” and was not going to tolerate the violence.

03:22

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“Taking someone’s life should not be anyone’s work,” she said.

More than 30 per cent of women in Kenya experience physical violence and 13 per cent experience some form of sexual violence, according to a government report released last year.

There were at least 152 cases of femicide in Kenya last year, according to non-profit Femicide Count which keeps a tally of only reported incidents.

In 2022, some 725 women and girls were murdered in the East African country, according to a report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

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