World Pulse

Kenyan Women Come Together to Take Back Their Country

Jensine Larsen
Posted February 14, 2008 from United States

Ever since the news broke for us late on the evening of December 28 with the e-mail headline, "RIOTS" from our new Kenyan correspondent, we have been closely, and painfully, following Kenya's plunge into post-election violence.

The news has been almost unimaginable. Although it has become routine for us to hear of rampant attacks and political chaos in the DRC, Sudan and elsewhere; somehow, we didn't see it coming from Kenya, one of the most stable countries in East Africa. We went from eagerly following a largely peaceful electoral process—with more women running for parliament than ever before—to watching a nation crumble before our eyes.

I read the body of the e-mail from our correspondent, Leah Okeyo, in disbelief. Even at that early hour, her words would foretell the resilience and determination of so many women on the ground.

“There are too many gunshots outside. Fire is burning on all the main roads. Our lives must continue though at high risk. We must have a government that is honest and ready to hand over the power when they deserve it no more. If the constitution cannot be made to serve everybody, the world should become one voice for the sake of humanity.

This edition is close to our hearts, filled with the voices of many women on the frontlines of Kenya, embattled but undeterred in the face of rising sexual violence, mass displacement and deadly political posturing at the highest levels. These women's voices—as well as the solidarity of many men—are indisputable evidence of the vibrant civil society that is mobilizing across ethnic lines.

Kenya is at a turning point. According to the women leaders we spoke with, the most dangerous thing we can do is listen to the mass media and presume that worsening violence is inevitable. Instead, we must recognize the enormous potential for peace and reconciliation.

We urge you take part in the actions in this edition and join hands with our Kenyan sisters and brothers to provide them the support and tools they need to take back their beloved nation.



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