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Kenyan women MPs report growing cases of threats

By Benard Sanga | Published Tue, March 21st 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 20th 2017 at 22:11 GMT +3
Women MPs

Nearly all women politicians say they have encountered threats and abuse at some point while in office.

Yesterday, women lawmakers in Parliament and in county assemblies recounted the trials they have endured in the past  four years.

Some said they received death threats, suffered sexual harassment or were forced to bribe colleagues to pass privately sponsored Bills in the county assemblies.

Speaking in Mombasa ahead of the legislative summit, most women lawmakers said they felt "less safe" as the country heads to the August 8 general elections.

Nominated Senator Martha Wangari said the mistreatment or discrimination was not unique to women Members of County Assemblies (MCAs), saying even at the Senate, nominated women senators faced similar challenges.

"We have even been called bonga points. People are yet to understand that all Members of Parliament (MPs) or MCAs are equal regardless of how they come to the house," said Wangari.

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Nominated women MCAs said counties were yet to allocate  them office space and that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) had not factored them in mileage claim budgets.

"It has been very difficult for nominated MCAs to push through their bills," said nominated MCA Rachael Omollo (Busia).

She said that a large number of nominated female MCAs were openly harassed for sexual favours in lobbying for bills.