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Page last updated at 16:42 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 17:42 UK

Kenyan women hit men with sex ban

Ida Odinga (L) and Lucy Kibaki
The wives of the Kenyan president and PM have been asked to join in

Women's activist groups in Kenya have slapped their partners with a week-long sex ban in protest over the infighting plaguing the national unity government.

The Women's Development Organisation coalition said they would also pay prostitutes to join their strike.

The campaigners are asking the wives of the Kenyan president and the prime minister to join in the embargo.

They say they want to avoid a repeat of the violence which convulsed the country after the late-2007 elections.

Relations between Kenya's coalition partners, led by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, have become increasingly acrimonious.

Now the dispute has moved to the nation's bedrooms.

Lead from the front

Patricia Nyaundi, executive director of the Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida), one of the organisations in the campaign, said they hoped the seven-day sex ban would force the squabbling rivals to make up.

President Mwai Kibaki (R) and Prime Minister Raila Odinga
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?'
Patricia Nyaundi
Federation of Women Lawyers

She said the campaign would start from her bedroom and that emissaries had been sent to the two leaders' wives, Ida Odinga and Lucy Kibaki, urging them to join in and lead from the front.

"Even commercial sex workers should join in the campaign which is so vital to the country," Mrs Nyaundi told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

"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?'"

But the BBC's Anne Waithera in Nairobi says the campaign is likely to meet resistance from some men.

Our correspondent says some would argue that Kenyan men cannot even abstain for two days.

The campaign is being backed by several other lobby groups, including the Caucus for Women's Leadership and Maendeleo ya Wanawake - a nationwide network of women's groups in rural Kenya.

Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga agreed to share power last year to end post-election violence, which had left some 1,500 people dead and forced 300,000 from their homes.

But the deal has soured with the premier's party claiming he has been sidelined and protesting over everything from electoral reform to the lack of a toilet for Mr Odinga during one recent official visit.



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