Women Representative 2017 Rahab Mukam from Nyeri campaigning for President Uhuru. Photo credit: Wambugu Kanyi

"No Sex Unless You Vote for Kenyatta:" Kenyan Women Go On Sex Strike In Support of Presidential Candidate

These Kenyan women are exercising their political power by bringing politics to the bedroom.

The Kenyan presidential election just got local for a group of men in the town of Nyeri. Women in the town have called a sex ban, demanding that incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta be re-elected, according to the Star Newspaper.

The women said in a press conference that they will not sleep with their partners until they know that Kenyatta has won the vote. Rahab Mukami, the group's leader, said that the women's campaign has no choice but to intensify its efforts to ensure that Kenyatta is victor.

This is not the first time sex has come up in this presidential election season in Kenya. Kenyatta's opposition, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga asked his supporters for a sex boycott the night before the first vote, which took place on August 8.

After Kenyatta won 55 percent of that vote, the Kenyan Supreme Court ordered a second vote citing voting irregularities. The ruling was seen as an unprecedented victory in the name of democracy in Africa.

Kenyatta expressed respect for the court, while maintaining his anger at the court's decision to nullify the vote. President Kenyatta has been in office since 2013. While the court did not find Kenyatta guilty of misconduct in the election process, it found that the election had been "tainted by irregularities." The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission was held largely responsible.

Meanwhile, women in Nyeri have taken matters in their own hands. As supporters of Kenyatta, his victory in the first vote was a gift. With news of the nullified vote, they began to formulate strategies to ensure that he remained in office after the second election.

While it may be tempting to look at this as a Lysistrata moment where women are celebrated for the genius of leveraging their sexual power for politics, not everyone is feeling the women's empowerment.

Tweets dismissing the women and insulting the men of Nyeri are pouring in.

Sex boycotts are not the only way women have exerted power over political processes in Africa this year. Women in Liberia launched a campaign called "Don't Touch My Peace," demanding that this month's presidential election remain peaceful. It was a reference to the violence of the Civil War which ravaged the country for fourteen years, and that involved many acts of sexual violence against women.

Kenya returns to the polls on October 25. It will be a big day for the highest office in the land, and a big day for the men of Nyeri, too.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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