Kenyans are rejoicing today following a peaceful election. The New York Times reports that Wednesday’s referendum was “a much-needed boost of self-confidence for the country,” which had been torn apart by ethnic conflict, violence, and corruption in past recent elections.
It’s also exciting, from a feminist perspective, as millions of anti-abortion Catholics and evangelicals across Kenya tried to urge people to vote against the Constitution, saying it would lead to “abortion on demand.” (Like abortion when a woman elects to have it? Sounds just about right to me.) In any case, it appears that the voters were not scared away, largely voting in favor of the new Constitution despite the fear-mongering.
I thought of a meeting at the Women’s Media Center that I once attended where a Kenyan reproductive justice advocate urged her fellow activists and journalists to report the good news in Africa, rather than only dwelling on what goes wrong. She freely admitted that her country, in specific, and her continent, writ large, had struggles with violence and corruption, but said that she was sick of even her feminist sisters ignoring the triumphs and strengths. This one’s for you, Achola. Congrats.