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Gender commission endorses marriage Bill

By - Nick Oluoch | Updated Tue, November 20th 2012 at 00:00 GMT +3

By Nick Oluoch

The newly formed National Gender and Equality Commission has supported the Marriage Bill 2012 and called on Parliament to pass it.

The commission’s chairperson Winfred Lichuma said the Bill incorporated the rights of both spouses.

Lichuma said drafting of the Bill was a timely move that the commission believed would move the country forward and level the ground in marriages.

“I congratulate the Cabinet for making the move to secure and define the rights of spouses in the marriage insitution,” Lichuma said in a speech read on her behalf by the commission’s CEO Dr Rose Odhiambo in Migori town.

Backed by law

The speech was read over the weekend to participants during the launch of a report Elusive Justice: Women’s experience in the formal and informal justice systems carried out in Migori County by the Foundation for Women’s Rights in Kenya (FWRK).

Lichuma pointed out that the Bill will radically shape the family institution once Parliament passes it and spouses will have a recourse backed by law to enable them live in a nurturing environment.

She therefore urged all Kenyans to embrace the Bill.

On her part, Dr Odhiambo singled out certain aspects of the Bill saying the removal of dowry in marriage would be a positive move because it had been blamed for cattle rustling and gender violence as women are equated to property.

Releasing the result of the survey, FWRK Programme Officer Beldine Odhiambo said wife beating remained the most prevalent form of rights violation in Migori and Kuria districts, with 30 per cent of the respondents saying sexual harassment, rape and FGM were more serious.

Other forms of violation said to be common in the area include widow oppression, widow discrimination and abandonment.

The survey was carried out in the county where a total of 401 respondents were interviewed.

 The survey further found out that over 80 per cent of the respondents have never used the courts to settle their disputes.