The Protection Against Domestic Violence Bill 2013 was amended by MP’s to remove a clause that allow divorcees and ex’s to seek court protection against their ex-lovers.
Spouses who fight and insult each other in front of their children could be jailed.
The MPs excluded any relationship outside what the law recognises as a “ marriage” from being classified as “domestic”.
The bill now awaits President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assent.
In the original bill, ex-spouses were listed as family members and would be entitled to protection and court settlements under laws dealing with domestic violence.
This was changed after some MPs were quick to point out the “inconvenience” of a person being arraigned in court on charges of domestic violence against a person with whom they no longer shared a house.
If the clause had stood, it would have presented an awkward situation for estranged spouses, especially as the law gives a strict definition of harassment within a domestic relationship, including “loitering” near places where a former partner could be having a cup of tea.
The bill was introduced through the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chaired by Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga (URP).
The law seeks to protect family members, including children exposed to violence by people close to them, clauses touching on former spouses alarmed MPs who ganged up to ensure they were deleted.
The bill seeks to recognise that domestic violence in all its forms is unacceptable behaviour, to provide for the intervention of the courts to reduce and prevent violence in domestic relationships and to ensure that where domestic violence occurs, there is effective legal protection and relief for its victims,” the bill reads.
The MPs were determined to cut former spouses down to size, and passed another amendment that narrows the meaning of domestic relationship by deleting references to ex-spouse, engaged partner, or a person one has a child with.