Women MPs win battle for control of Sh 420 million sanitary pads money

Women MPs have challenged Treasury's suggestion to have Sh420 million meant for distribution of sanitary towels, appropriated to the Ministry of Education.

The kitty, which is currently under the Ministry of Youth and Gender, is used to purchase the towels for school girls.

Treasury had requested Parliament to move the kitty to the Ministry of Education, claiming it had better logistical capacity to distribute the towels.

Attempts by the Budget and Appropriation Committee Chairman Kimani Ichung’wa to convince legislators to accept the suggestion were met with hostility by women legislators.

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Mr Ichung'wa had argued that the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (Ngaaf), which falls under the Gender ministry, had failed to competently distribute the towels.

“It is a fact that for the three years that we have channeled the money through the gender ministry, the supply and distribution of the sanitary towels to school girls has been wanting," said Ichung’wa amid heckles from women MPs. He added: "Let us give this money to the Ministry of Education that has the logistical capacity".

It took a stern caution from Speaker Justin Muturi, who warned the heckling MPs that they were out of order, to have them give Ichung’wa time to air his proposal.

“This new trend of shouting while other members speak will not be allowed in the House. I will not allow you to legislate that way,” said a visibly agitated Muturi.

When calm was restored, other male MPs, including Majority Leader Aden Duale and his Minority counterpart John Mbadi, said the proposal by Treasury was wrong.

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This led to a hasty retraction of the suggestion by Ichung'wa, who had only received the backing of the Education Committee chairman Julius Melly.

Mr Mbadi said it was unfortunate that from a Sh3 trillion budget, Sh420 million could divide the House. He asked Ichung’wa to withdraw the proposal.

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MPsWomen MPsSanitary towelsTreasury