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Violence against women in Malindi tied to drug trafficking

27 November 2013, 15:56 Bob Ndwiga

Malindi - Incidents of violence against women in Malindi are on the increase especially in areas where abuse and trafficking of narcotics is prevalent, assistant chief Nicodemus Mwayele has said.

Mwayele said that the men involved in either peddling or use of narcotics in informal settlements in Malindi were choosing women as easy targets of violent attacks, defilement and rape.

The Shella location assistant chief warned that with the increase of the number of young women being enticed to use and sell drugs in several parts of Malindi town, the danger of the women falling victim of attacks and rape by the addicts.

In an interview with the Press at his office at Maweni village in Malindi town, Mwayele said that addicts walking in groups of between 5 and 10 young men in some parts of Malindi make attack on women easy.

He said that in the recent past, at least three drug related killings targeting women had happened in Alaskan Stadium, Majengo and Maweni area.

The police, he said, may have taken such killings for granted saying a thorough investigation could have ascertained the reason as to why the victims appeared drugged and raped and also seen with people linked to abuse and trafficking of narcotics prior to their death.

Noting that he works closely with village elders in his campaigns to curtail and stop violence against women in his location, he revealed that recent findings indicated that male drug traffickers sexually abused female users and newly enticed peddlers if they failed to meet their sales targets.

“Young women who are enticed into the peddling of narcotics suffer more violence and even sexual abuse as revenge by dealers who are predominantly male for failing to achieve their sale targets” said Mwayale.

He said that in the latest three incidents, two newly recruited female peddlers who lost drugs issued to them by a dealer ended up being set up and exposed to mob rape by seven narcotic drug users who were also paid for the mission.

A young man, the assistant chief revealed, was allegedly also set up for failing to surrender the proceeds from drug trade to a dealer who paid a group to sodomise him in turns.

“The young man was so traumatised when he reported the matter to the elders,” said Mwayele, adding that due to shock and embarrassment, the man refused to go to hospital or report the matter to the police for legal action could be taken against his attackers.

The chief said the young man, who also appeared to have been using the drugs, took off to an unknown destination and has not been seen for weeks.

Judging by the reports on general violence against women in Shella, Maweni and Muyeye areas which are predominantly informal settlements, the chief declared that “violence against women has been on the increase'.

Hard working women whose spouses have lower income that their wives suffer frequent abuse and physical attacks, Mwayele said. Even when they are not physically abused, they are exposed to insults and mistreatment leading to stress and sometimes depression.

The chief, who works with 40 village elders, says that in cases where there is violence against a mother, the girl child also ends up being abused or exposed to conditions which predispose her to physical and sexual violence.

Most cases of  assault or cruelty to women by men also emanated from violent demands for conjugal rights. 

“When some women gain financial independence through hard work, some of their husbands judge them as being arrogant and end up attacking them physically or destroying their personal effects,” he observed.

The chief’s office receives at least 10 cases of violence against women, although most of them are resolved at the homestead level to avoid disintegration of marriage and the suffering of the children - such cases are forwarded to the police for court action.

Women also suffer more violent attacks in palm wine bars where quarrels arise and easily result in violence against women and especially when they are targeted for love by different male suitors.

"We receive many cases of women who end up being attacked, manhandled or even raped after walking drunk and  unaccompanied in secluded areas such a palm wine dens,” Said Mwayele 

The chief said that he and his team of elders have intensified campaigns to educate people on violence and especially violence against women.

He said that the elders play a major role in reducing violence in his location by making the public aware of the legal consequences of violence.

The worst cases of violence against women, Mwayele said, are defilement and rape of young innocent school going girls.

He revealed that in the last nine months, he has received at least 10 cases involving defilement of primary school pupils aged between 13 and 17 years.

Out of all those cases, the chief said non could be said to have been dealt with to finality. He said that of late, the police in Malindi have been cocky about with the elders and chief to ensure the cases are pursued, investigated and take to court after culprits are arrested.

He said that unlike in the past when the Malindi police station OCS would provide officers from either the regular police or AP for patrols and arrests, today the senior officers prefer to work alone.

Failure by the police to work with the chiefs and elders has frustrated campaigns against violent crime, abuse and trafficking of narcotics and the arrest and punishment of those who defile school girls.

“Today the police easily dismiss chief and elders arguing that they know their work and should not be directed or guided by outsiders,” said Mwayele. 

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