[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 11 February, 2005, 11:33 GMT
Kenyan apology over rape remark
Kenya's Justice Minister Kiraitu Murungi
Mr Murungi is an ally of President Mwai Kibaki
Kenyan Justice Minister Kiraitu Murungi has issued an apology for comments he made which outraged women's groups.

On Wednesday, Mr Murungi said donor criticism of the government's fight against corruption was "like raping a woman who is already willing".

"I unreservedly and sincerely apologize to all the women of Kenya who were offended by these remarks," he said.

Women's rights groups had staged noisy protests outside his office, demanding his resignation.

"It is trivialising rape and the fight against graft in one breath," activist Miriam Kahiga told the angry crowd.

Kenya's Human Rights Commission has also condemned the minister's "jibe".

'No thought'

"What is so entertaining about a 'willing' woman being raped?" Wanjiku Miano of the Kenyan Human Rights Commission asked in an open letter to Mr Murungi.

He's an embarrassment to the country and he has lost his value as a leader and lawmaker
Miriam Kahiga
Amnesty International, Kenya
"We use statistics to convince the world that rape is a crime against humanity and with no thought whatsoever, you negate our struggle with your insensible jibe."

Ms Kahiga, from Amnesty International, said Mr Murungi was "an embarrassment to the country".

In his statement, he said that as a "leader", he would continue to "promote women's rights".

According to the organisation sexual violence against women is widespread in Kenya - the victims usually suffering in silence.

But the publicity given to Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong'o's allegation that his wife was raped last August, has brought the topic more recently into the public arena.

The justice minister is a close ally of President Mwai Kibaki, who came to power in 2002 pledging to fight corruption.


SEE ALSO:
Graft divides Kenyan government
10 Feb 05 |  Africa
Kenya author returns to testify
24 Nov 04 |  Africa
Kenyan writer's wife was raped
16 Aug 04 |  Africa


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific