Embrace, Inua Mama unite to fight for two-thirds rule

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019 00:00 |
Women leaders, led by former Nyeri Woman Rep Priscilla Nyokabi, address the press in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/BERNARD MALONZA

Women legislators yesterday took the lead in erecting a political bridge ahead of the release of the Building Bridges Initiative(BBI) today when two rivals—Embrace and Inua Mama — closed ranks  to fight for the two-thirds gender rule.

The two, which are allied to different political groupings that emerged after the March 9, 2018 Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, told off the Senate Justice and Legal Affairs committee for trashing the push to implement the rule.

Embrace, led by Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru is pro-Handshake and is allied to Uhuru and Raila while Inua Mama chaperoned by Kandara MP Alice Wahome is opposed to it because they say it is being used to frustrate Deputy President William Ruto’s 2022 State House bid. 

More nominations

The bid to implement the gender rule, which has suffered several defeats, would have allowed more women to be nominated to Parliament if it was passed.

Yesterday, the women MPs, who have been trading barbs over their political affiliation, said despite their political differences, there should be no illusion over their resolve to not only revive the two-thirds gender bill but to also push for 50-50 representation in all key government positions. 

Led by National Gender and Equality Commission (Ngec) commissioner Priscilla Nyokabi, Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (Kewopa) chairperson Wangui Ngirichi, Kenya Women Senators Association (Kewosa) chairperson Mary Seneta and Uasin Gishu senator Margret Kamar, the legislators said it is wrong for any person to attack them because of their political groupings yet their male counterparts who have such groupings are never attacked by anyone.

Safeguarding gains

“While it is true that we have differences, these two factions should not be taken out of context. I want to assure you that as women we have all agreed to unite and fight for our space on matters affecting us, other matters like who we support is a totally different issue,” said Nyokabi.

Ngirichi said women leaders will fight to the end to ensure that they safeguard the gains made by women in regards to the two-thirds gender rule.  “All the groups you see around, 90 per cent of them support women’s voices,” she said.

Addressing a news conference yesterday, the women MPs said they will seek audience with the committee chaired by Nandi senator Samson Cherargei to understand how it arrived at conclusions yet it is in the public domain that the creation of Woman Representative and nominations have “tremendously assisted” in improving representation of the women in Parliament.

They also claimed nominated female senators have performed better in the Senate compared to their male counterparts.

The Cherargei-led committee last week rejected Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2019, saying it is “retrogressive and infringes on the political rights of the public by imposing who to vote for. It also added that the impact of the current crop of nominated women to both the National Assembly and Senate is yet to be felt

But Nyokabi dismissed the view saying: “We as the women of Kenya would like to affirm our common agenda and reject any schemes to divide us along artificial boundaries and categories.”

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