Readjusting the Mozambican Penal Code

Mozambique has recently redrafted its penal code to remove offensive articles that remained from the original Portuguese code written in 1886.  Although the code had been in force for the past 128 years, the articles, including one which allows men to avoid prosecution for rape upon marrying their victim, have not been enforced by the Mozambican government.  However, rather than continuing to ignore parts of the outdated penal code, Mozambique has opted for the first full overhaul to modernize and update the official code.

The move to redraft the Penal Code and remove the offences against women’s rights has been due, in large part, to the efforts of Amnesty International. There are now new articles specifically concerning women’s rights, domestic abuse, definitions of rape, and psychological violence.  In addition, all references to the illegality of homosexuality have been eliminated.  However, there has been ongoing disagreement concerning the age of responsibility, which is now set at the age of 10. Many are advocating for the age to be raised to at least 16, but as of now, this has not been changed.


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President Kibaki Urges Women to Run for Office

On Monday, November 26th, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki announced his desire to see more women seek elected offices during the March 2013 election. Due to Kenya’s changes in its constitution, Article 23 states that there may be no more than two thirds of one gender holding office, consequently, women must hold at least one third of all public offices. Kibaki stresses to women, “The fact that the Constitution accepts your right to seek elective positions is very clear but to get that right, you have to work hard”. Kibaki worries that Senate, Parliament and even some County Assemblies may be ruled unconstitutional by the courts if the gender quota is not met.

Currently Kenya is not only falling behind nationally in their gender parity for elected offices, they are drastically behind surrounding countries in the region: only 9.8 per cent of Members of Parliament in Kenya are women, compared to 56.3 per cent in Rwanda, Uganda (35 per cent), Burundi (30.5 per cent) and Ethiopia (37.8 per cent). Kibaki specifically reached out to the organization, Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation (MYWO). MYWO is an organization of Kenyan women that works to empower women and girls throughout the nation. They have called on their 25,000 members to elect women for positions in Kenya’s 47 counties. In order for Kenya to meet their gender ratio for the 2013 election, more women must run for office.

Members of MYWO

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