Sex Strike in Kenya

Friday, May 01, 2009
Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga

Kenya is once again poised on the brink of political violence between factions, prompting one leading female attorney to propose a novel solution for resolving the crisis: Don’t sleep with your husband. Taking a page from the ancient Greek play, Lysistrada, by Aristophanes, Patricia Nyaundi, executive director of the Federation of Women Lawyers, has called for a week-long sex strike to convince the nation’s two leading politicians, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, to work out their differences and avoid another outbreak of factional fighting, like the one that killed 1,500 Kenyans following the 2007 elections.

Nyaundi is particularly urging the wives of Kibaki and Odinga to withhold sex from their husbands for seven days, and Rukia Subow, chairperson of the Women’s Development Organization, has offered to pay prostitutes to go on strike as well. Nyaundi said, “Great decisions are made during pillow talk, so we are asking the two ladies at that intimate moment to ask their husbands: ‘Darling can you do something for Kenya?’”
Some Kenyan politicians were appalled by the sex-strike idea. “It is a shame that these women can make such a statement,” Kenyan legislator David Musila told the VOA News, adding that it was “un-African” to discuss a sex-based proposal in public. “I think they are misguided and in any case, who is going to supervise and see that the boycott is implemented? It is just rubbish,” said Musila. In the words of the BBC report from Nairobi (before it was edited online), “the campaign is likely to meet with stiff resistance from some men.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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