ANWO Response to Kenyan Femicide Protest

January 27—Touted as the Feminist March Against Femicide, thousands of women took to the Kenyan streets to protest the murders of women since the beginning of the year. They called on their government and men to do something to prevent the killing of women. Between Jan. 1-27, 14 women had been murdered. Two of these cases made national headlines due to the gruesome nature of the crimes, with one woman being decapitated and her head found days after her body.

Marked as one of the largest protests against sexual and gender-based violence in the country, the protest was a response many believe is an escalation of murders of women. In 2023, the organization Femicide Count recorded 152 killings, equating to one woman every three days.

The majority of these women are victims of intimate partner violence. Following the protests, ANWO looked at articles that cite numbers like 90 women killed over three years and 500 women killed in seven years. Although it is unnerving, this isn’t femicide—a massive targeting of women because they are women. Unfortunately, the murder of African women is part of the overall colonial violence that African people endure under the colonial mode of production.

In 2023, the organization Femicide Count recorded 152 killings, equating to one woman every three days. The majority of these women are victims of intimate partner violence. PHOTO: THEFE- MICIDECOUNT.ORG

Colonized women endure heightened violence under colonialism. A Dec. 2023 article in The Root reported that black women were 30 percent of all crime victims in Chicago in 2022. Black women victims constituted 67,000 of the 270,000 crimes reported in Chicago that year. In a system that does not value black people and black women even less, these statistics are on trend with all other trends that show horrible conditions faced by African people.

According to Frantz Fanon, an African psychiatrist who tracked violence during direct French colonialism in Algeria and the resulting Algerian revolution, violence among the colonized was high until the national liberation struggle redirected that violence. The effects of colonialism instigate horizontal and vertical violence.

ANWO is overwhelmingly opposed to gender-based violence and killings of women because they are women. Although the 14 documented murders of African women in Kenya since the start of the year seems like an alarming increase, in a country of 53 million, it’s minute and possibly in line with all other murders happening in the country, including the murders of men, children, and non-gender-conforming persons.

Even though Kenya has one of the highest qualities of life in Africa, the biggest threat to women in Kenya is that they live under neo-colonial democracy. Kenya is aligning itself with the U.S. and other Western imperialist nations by doing their bidding; such as answering the call of the U.S.-influenced United Nations by sending the Kenyan police force to Haiti to police other African people.

In addition to this, Kenya’s Labour Ministry sent 1,500 farm workers to Israel to fill the agriculture gaps caused by the Palestinian resistance, essentially making Kenyan laborers “scabs” to undermine Palestinian resistance.

Ultimately, if African women in Kenya want to end the violence they experience, they must become anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist and contend with the overall colonial nature of their government, which foments violence inside their country and in other places around the world.

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