The Kenyan Members of Parliament (MPs) passed the sexual offenses bill on March 31st. The bill provides harsher punishment to rapists and sexual offenders-but with many amendments. In passing the bill, the MPs also made proposals to rein in on those who fake false rape allegations against others. The bill was passed by more than 60 MPs, who sat during the committee of the whole house and after passing the bill through a too-comb, gave it a nod at 6.28 pm. However, its passage angered women MPs who accused their male counterparts of watering it down and killing its initial intentions which were to try and curb the rising numbers of sexual violence among women, especially children in Kenya.
The bill will be handed to the countries attorney general Amos Wako for fine-tuning and from there to the president who will sign it into law. Several clauses in the bill that were thrown out include marital rape, criminalizing seduction saying that these things purely were cultural. On female circumcision the MPs argued it was already in the children’s act and therefore deleted it from the sexual offenses bill.
The MPs also harmonized punishment for various sexual offenses. Those who attempt to defile or rape a child under the age of 18 is liable to 15 years in prison. This will also apply to those who participate in gang rape. The MPs also amended a provision of the bill which would have made it illegal to sell any substance which would stupefy another person to engage in sexual activity. However, an MP that is also a medical doctor said that pharmacists would be arrested for doing their work. Women MPs fought hard to keep the clause but during voting those against it won. The bill had been brought to the floor of the house by nominated MP, Ms. Njoki Ndungu, a lawyer by profession.