Women leaders upbeat on gains in the BBI report

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020 00:00 |
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru (right) and Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo address a media briefing at a Nairobi hotel. Photo/PD/Kenna Claude

George Kebaso @Morarak

Women politicians allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta threw their weight behind the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) saying it will address the jinxed two thirds gender rule.

Led by Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and Senate Deputy Majority leader  Fatuma Dullo, the women leaders said BBI will advance the gains that women have made so far.

During a meeting with journalists in Nairobi, the women leaders exuded confidence of a permanent solution to the gender representation, which recently saw Chief Justice David Maraga advise the President to dissolve Parliament.

“We have great faith in the experts. It will no longer be another proposal to Parliament to enact,” Waiguru said.

She said the best avenue to address the standoff - that has frustrated the gender rule - is the BBI.

“In this regard, while expressing our support for the BBI agenda, the process should not only protect but expand the gains of women in the Constitution,” she added.

Dullo urged politicians and Kenyans at large to maintain peace before and after the release of the report, saying it should not be used for divisive politics but be utilised to unite the country.

The women leaders also cautioned against any attempts to remove the gender gains that are currently being enjoyed in the current setup.

They cited the seats of 47 Woman Reps which they noted should not be scrapped.

“Our position is that nothing is taken away from the women,” Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo said.

Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris and Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo urged the Task Force to ensure that more positions should be created for women.

“We do not want anyone to tamper with what we already negotiated for, what we have gained as women and what we aspire to have,” said Passaris.

It is understood that the BBI has proposed to have Kenyans vote for 94 Senators in the 2022 General Election to deal with the emotive two-thirds gender rule, meaning the Senate will be composed of one man and one woman elected in each of the 47 counties.

Insiders say the proposed Senate composition is geared towards solving the gender equation as it affects the entire Parliament, not just the National Assembly.

The  report proposes mixed representation in the National Assembly where 290 MPs will be elected.

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