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Focus shifts to Ruto & Gachagua's silence as politicians weigh in on femicide

The online activities of both the President and his deputy reveal have nothing on femicide that has dominated online and offline conversations with #EndFemicideKE, #TotalShutDownKe, #WeAreNotSafe and OurGirlsAreNotSafe trending on social media.

File image of President William Ruto and DP Rigathi Gachagua at the Kakamega State Lodge during a visit to Western Kenya on August 30, 2023.

With the #EndFemicideKE campaign gathering momentum online and offline as activists, politicians and celebrities take to the street across the country, focus has shifted to President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua.

A search on their online activities reveal nothing on the campaign to end femicide with hashtags related to the same such as #EndFemicideKE, #TotalShutDownKe, #WeAreNotSafe and OurGirlsAreNotSafe trending on social media.

A section of Kenyans, led by Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris have now called on the country’s leadership, led by the President to speak up against femicide and join the campaign.

“I have spoken to a few CSs and told them that the President’s voice needs to be heard on this…We need the president to speak to it, we need the president to understand that the families of these women who have been brutally murdered have so much trauma and they need to feel that the state is acting on their behalf. And the president has understood the pain.” Passaris stated.

End femicide campaigners turning against politicians

A section of the crowd that turned up for the march was opposed to politicians addressing them, accusing Kenya’s political class of doing little to address the surge in cases of femicide in the country.

Despite being heckled by a section of the crowd, Passaris who joined the march, made her stand on the matter known.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga also added his voice to the conversation, condemning femicide and calling for urgent action.

"We condemn what has been happening in the country and we want action taken.

"We want women to feel safe in their houses. We must condemn GBV in our country." Raila noted.

Kirinyaga county boss and Council of Governors chairperson Anne Waiguru decried the rising cases of femicide and called for an end to gender-based violence writing:

It is increasingly scary to be a woman in Kenya. The past few weeks have treated us to shocking fatal acts of violence and it is heart wrenching. I strongly condemn all forms of violence and taking of life in public and private. I would like to invite us as a government to enforce our laws, policies, administrative and socio-economic measures that guarantee protection from, punishment for and eradication of all forms of Violence against women occurring in both public and private settings. May our daughters, sisters and mothers feel safer in our country and may the victims rest in peace. @KenyaGovernors #StopKillingUs #LetsEndFemicide”.

Ruto's advisor on women rights weighs in on femicide

While addressing the surge in cases of femicide in the country on January 19, 2024, President William Ruto's advisor on women's rights Harriette Chiggai recommended stiffer penalties against femicide perpetrators.

"I have seen comments from different quarters stating that our children, Starlet Wahu, Rita Waeni and just yesterday, a woman who was killed by her husband deserved to be killed! These and many other women and girls have suffered the fate of violence that we as a society have refused to address. My condolences to the families that are in pain today.

"Let me reiterate that the Government in its women's agenda explicitly committed to ending all forms of violence. This work cannot be done by one arm of the government, neither one organization nor one person. It has to be an effort, bringing together all of us as a nation." Chiggai stated.

She also reiterated the government’s commitment to ensure that justice is served.

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