Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kenya: Women's groups threaten sex strike to force president and PM to resolve their differences

By - VOA

The feud within Kenya's coalition government has taken a dramatic turn after some women's groups threatened to go on a weeklong sex strike to force the president and the prime minister to resolve their differences. The groups say failure by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to resolve the impasse could reprise the 2007 post-election violence. The chairperson of Women's Development Organization Rukia Subow reportedly said the group will pay prostitutes to strike and has asked the wives of both the president and the prime minister to join in the strike.

Kenyan legislator David Musila told VOA the action of the group is appalling.

"It is a shame. It is a shame that these women can make such a statement. First of all, in my view, it is un-African, and these are some of the things in Africa we don't talk openly about, sex in front of children, and so on. And therefore, I think they are misguided and in any case, who is going to supervise and see that the boycott is implemented? It is just rubbish," Musila said.

He said although the groups fears are justified, their threat is reprehensible.

"I don't think there is anything wrong with them having concern about the security situation in the country. That is okay because everyone should be concerned. But what I am opposed to, and I believe the majority of Kenyans are opposed to, is the idea of talking about the boycott of sex and so on and so forth. It is just unheard of and… it can't work," he said.

Musila described the sex boycott threat as shameful and bizarre.

"I can tell you that these people are misguided, and I just don't want to comment further about it," Musila said.

He said the ongoing political feud between the president and the prime minister could be traced to the coalition government.

"Whenever there is a coalition, as you are aware, there are problems. There are issues and there are challenges, and these things are being addressed almost every day. And certainly, there would continue to be problems. So long as there is a coalition government, this is not unique in Kenya. It is all over," he said.

Musila reassured Kenyans that the government would be on their side in resolving their concerns.

"What is important is to make sure that we are up to the challenges that are coming and we are resolving them. I don't believe that there is any cause for alarm," Musila said.

He said it would be difficult under prevailing circumstances for snap elections as recently demanded by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

"I can tell you that the prime minster knows very well that no elections can be held in Kenya at the moment. He knows that we have no electoral commission. We are yet to register our voters, and he knows that. I don't think having an election is an option, and therefore, we will continue to push and provide the necessary dialogue to resolve our problems. And they will continue so long as there is a coalition. And I don't think there is any government that has a coalition that does not have problems," he said.

Meanwhile, the women's group hopes the boycott will persuade Kenyan men to pressure the government to make peace.

Published with the permission of Voice of America
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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