A provision in the Sexual Offenses (Amendment) Bill which proposes stiff penalties for men who ogle at women saying that the proposition is not fair, local media reports caused an uproar from a section of male MPs in Kenya’s parliament.
The MPs said there was no need to properly define the intentional indecent act in order to avoid innocent men from being falsely accused of sexually harassing women in public spaces or Public Service Vehicles.
“It is not fair for our female colleagues to insinuate that when I am looking them, like the way I am looking them now, it means that am desiring them,” David Wafula (Saboti MP) said.
“How would she know my eyes are lustful, when they are not? I may be seeing her as a sister,” North Imenti MP Rahim Dawood added.
Another MP remarked: “Is the Honourable Member, in order to challenge God who gave us eyes to look at people and things, to admire, so that we can make advances if necessary.”
A female MP, Susan Munywoki had used a popular Tanzania song by AY and Diamond Platinumz “Kula Kwa Macho” to describe how it was uncomfortable for women when men lustfully undress them as they go about their business.
“They look at a woman, undress her and even do the act without even touching the woman, so this should not be allowed. It makes you very uncomfortable about your work and then when I hear it being sang in the FM stations, that song of ‘Kula kwa Macho’, it is so explicit,” she said amid cheers from her male counterparts.
“This people should deserve a death sentence, because they will have wrecked the life of a young boy or young girl,” another female MP Zainab Chidzuga stated.
The Bill also spells out similar heavy penalties for families who marry off the victim to the offender or prevents police officers from conducting investigations or distorts evidence.
“The Bill seeks to expressly prohibiting plea bargaining and collusion in sexual offences which help the perpetrators of sexual offences evade justice,” the Bill’s Memorandum of Objects and Reasons states.
It also requires the country’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery to ensure that all police stations have special units to deal with sexual offences, and that police are trained to investigate such cases. It calls on the CS to ensure special units within the National Police Service are equipped with modern equipment and specialized staff to handle rape cases.
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