In a recent development, Martha Karua, an influential figure within the Azimio movement, came to the defence of Senator Orwoba, who had been suspended from parliament for a period of six months in connection with “unsubstantiated” claims of sexual harassment.
Karua strongly criticized the suspension, deeming it both unfair and excessive. She voiced her belief that the Senate should have chosen to dismiss the charges altogether if there was insufficient evidence, rather than resorting to the suspension of the senator.
“Manifestly unfair and excessive. Senate which is male-dominated is telling women including women senators dare you complain of sexual harassment we shall exterminate you,”” Karua said in a statement.
Furthermore, Martha Karua went on to assert that this suspension was a manifestation of patriarchal control aimed at silencing women on issues of sexual harassment. She called upon the parliamentary institutions to thoroughly investigate the matter and ensure that justice was served.
Emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive examination before taking punitive actions, Karua highlighted that just as it is crucial to prosecute cases without punishing the innocent, it is equally important to examine cases of sexual harassment meticulously. This, she believed, was the only way to encourage victims to come forward and report instances of harassment.
“Some of the language used during the debate was paternalistic, especially to young female senators offering them guidance, an assumption that they need guidance as a specific group. Totally unacceptable,” she said.
Suspension of Senator Orwoba
The suspension of Senator Orwoba was not without its share of controversy. Prior to her suspension, senators engaged in a heated debate over the issue, with most female lawmakers opposing the senator’s suspension while their male counterparts insisted on the necessity of presenting evidence to substantiate her claims.
Senator Orwoba had been summoned to provide a detailed account of her sexual harassment allegations against a clerk in the chambers. However, she failed to appear before the committee to defend herself. In response, legislators criticized her for not attending and subsequently decided to suspend her from parliament.
It has been stipulated that Senator Orwoba must issue a formal apology before being allowed back in parliament in February.