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Outrage in Kenya as video shows Speaker forcibly shaking hands with female Muslim lawmaker

Friday April 19, 2024

Mogadishu (HOL) — Muslims in Kenya are expressing outrage over a circulating video on social media showing the Speaker of the Nairobi County Assembly, Hon. Kennedy Okeyo Ng'ondi, forcibly shaking hands with a female Muslim lawmaker at a ceremony in Nairobi.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the imam of the Jamia Mosque in Nairobi, Sheikh Jamaludin Osman, described the incident as a blatant invasion of the Somali woman's dignity, honor, right to privacy, and religious freedom.

"All women must stand firm in any situation where they are harassed. They must say NO in no uncertain terms to any act that invades their privacy. 
They must say no to all forms of harassment including but not limited to forced handshakes, hugs, pats on their shoulders or any other part of the body, any communication with sexual suggestions or connotations whether verbal, written, audio or visual, sex for hire or promotion threats, among others."

He added, "Our sisters must establish boundaries in all situations in their interactions with others, especially those of the opposite gender. They must realize that they will be treated as they present themselves. How they dress, talk and interact with others will determine their treatment. This is not to remove responsibility from the harasser but to urge boundary setting by our sisters."

The video shows Hon. Kennedy Okeyo Ng'ondi forcing the woman to shake his hand. He then proceeds to hold her shoulders and touch her inappropriately while other male colleagues shout, "Salimia watu, salimia watu!" ("greeting to the people") as the rest of the staff look on.

The Somali woman, also a Member of Parliament of the Nairobi County Assembly, was seen shyly bowing her head and not wanting to stand any higher. She barely stood up at the end, indicating her unhappiness with the forced handshake or hug.

The Association of Muslim Lawyers condemned the incident and called for legal action. Sheikh Osman called on Hon. Ken Ng'ondi to publicly apologize to all women for disrespecting their honor.

Following the video's viral spread on social media, Muslim leaders demanded the removal of the Speaker of the Nairobi County Parliament from his position, describing the act as 'rape.' The Kenya Muslim Lawyers Association has called for Ng'ondi to be charged with rape.

Ahmednasir Abdullahi, a lawyer, condemned the incident as a 'violent attack,' stating, "This is an act of violence, a serious offence against a woman. I will be very surprised if criminal charges are not brought."

Former Kenyan senator Billow Kerrow strongly condemned the incident, describing it as "a violation of the girl's rights and the laws of the country."


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