State moves to woo more women into politics

Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki(left)National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso(centre) and Nominated senator Zipporah Kittony during the launch of report on competitive politics at a Nairobi hotel on 8/5/17-BEVERLYNE MUSILI
The government has launched a strategy aimed at supporting greater participation of women in elective politics.

This comes ahead of the two third gender rule bill set to be reintroduced in parliament.

The bill set to come up for voting for the third time at the National Assembly seeks to ensure that either gender has at least one third representation to both appointive and elective positions.

Speaking  during the launch of the National Strategy for the empowerment of women for political leadership, Gender Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki urged the current parliament to vote the bill into law.

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"Stand up to be counted by rising above the issue of the two thirds being a women issue. It is an issue about the development of the country and living to the spirit and letter of the constitution," said Ms Kariuki.

She said provisions in the UN charter, Sustainable Development Goal 5, Agenda 2063 of the African continent prove that the issue of women participation in political decision making have a direct correlation with the development agenda of any country.

Women' participation in the political sphere remains low as a result of barriers such as failure to legislate affirmative actions and policies, intimidation by male counterparts, gender-based violence against female candidates and deep rooted patriarchal culture.

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During party nominations last month, very few women sought tickets to run for gubernatorial positions in August 8 elections.

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Joyce Laboso urged her colleagues to rise above male chauvinism and fear of having more women in parliament by supporting the bill.

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"We have gone through a lot for the last four years putting the legislation together and trying to have it passed. Let us leave a legacy as the eleventh parliament that managed to get the legislation on the no more than two thirds gender rule," urged Dr Laboso.

European Union Head of delegation Stefano Dejak assured women aspirants of support saying the Union was committed to full participation of women in political process as a precondition for national development.

Dejak traveled with a delegation of EU Members of Parliament including Peterlee Alojz who  eheaded EU's election team in Kenya during the previous election.

Mr Alojz called for more support for women candidates in the face of numerous barriers placed on their paths such as violence.

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