News and Views on Africa from Africa
Last update: 1 July 2022 h. 10:44
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Africanews staff

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Despite the various national and international declarations, extensive discrimination against women continues to exist.

Discrimination against women violates the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity. It is also an obstacle to the participation of women, on equal terms with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life of their countries. It hampers the growth and the prosperity of society and the family and makes more difficult the full development of the potentialities of women in the service of their countries and of humanity.

In this issue of AFRICANEWS, stories from various countries reveal that gender-based violence remains pervasive in the continent.

Violence against women as our writers report manifests itself in physical, sexual, psychological, economic and destructive acts.

From Kenya for instance, A survey by UN agencies reveals that women are the prime victims of violence and abuse in Nairobi and most African capital cities. The survey, as AFRICANEWS Associate Editor Zachary Ochieng reports, shows that gender violence has resulted into death, especially on the female victims.

Reporting from Ghana Sam Sarpong highlights cases of violence against women. There are men who think slapping or kicking women once a while is a sign of their superiority. Others lock their partners out of their marital homes and deny them access to their children and property. But there also many cases of women who are being accused of witchcraft and are running to traditional witch homes for shelter; thousands of widows being denied even their own properties following the death of their spouses, and those little virgins being kept in shrines to atone for the sins of their relatives.

In Southern African countries the scenario is the same. Fred Katerere notes that cases of domestic violence in Mozambique are many and a lot of women do not know of their rights. He reports that that rural women mostly have to submit to their husbands beating, as they believe their spouses have the right to beat them, a cultural aspect dictating that women should submit to their husbands.

Kholwani Nyathi reporting from Swaziland tells the heart rending story of Zena Mahlangu the 18 year-old Swazi girl who was allegedly abducted from a school by security agents of Swaziland s King Mswati III to become his twelfth wife and the subsequent court battle by her mother to have her released has helped expose to the outside world how tenaciously held traditions have perpetuated the segregation of women in Africa s remaining absolute monarchy.

Back to Kenya, a constitution that is biased against women has denied them recognition in various spheres despite their significant contributions. Zachary Ochieng notes that gender violence also continues unabated because the law is very lenient and does not provide for stiffer penalties to the offenders, not to mention the callous attitude of policemen towards abused women.

But all is not lost. In Namibia, the government in collaboration with NGOs has taken the lead in fighting against the vice and hopes to see an end to it.

In Action and Contacts, Zachary ochieng profiles the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW) Kenya, a local organization, which has been at the forefront of championing the gender agenda.

Contact the editor by clicking here Editor