Dear Sisters,

13 October 2005
I have been rather quiet because am not able to access the blog discussion when I want to.  Electricity keeps on going off here in Kampala shutting me off from the internet.  I am not aware if this topic has been discussed or not since I haven’t read the blog for a couple of days.  My subject is on electoral violence on women. Where I come from, that is, Kenya, we have only 7 percent of women in Parliament.  Other countries in the East Africa region such as Uganda and Tanzania have 24 percent and 21 percent respectively.  This is because they are applying affirmative action.  In Kenya, politics is a dirty game as I guess it is in every country.  Women have to be prepared to face both verbal and physical violence when they join politics.  The verbal violence can inflict more damage than the physical as the opponents, some who may be fellow women, hit below the belt, many times on assumed crimes.  One of the ‘best’ targets is to direct the dirt on the moral virtues of the women.  She will be called a prostitute, drunkard, a woman of loose morals, a home breaker etc.  If she is divorced the word divorcee will become a dirty word.  She cannot campaign in social gatherings in the evening like the men as she will be called a woman of loose morals, ‘tanga tangaring (roaming) the bars.  If necessary she will be beaten up to teach her a lesson.  Sisters, without mentioning names, some of our women politicians have even been divorced because of their association with politics.  Recently in Tanzania, a woman politician was locked in her house and then burnt together with her children for supporting the ruling party. Kenya women politicians have even been threatened with circumcision should they step into the turf of certain male politicians.  No one has ever been arrested and charged with such offences. Sisters what strategies can we deploy so that we have a level playing field?  Hope that others can pick this issue up and share with us positive experiences from their countries.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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