A-G yet to respond to petition against Women Fund
By Evelyn Kwamboka
Attorney-General Amos Wako has not responded to a petition in which a men’s organisation is challenging the Government’s decision to allocate money to the Women Enterprise Fund.
Yesterday, the court gave the AG more time to respond to the petition filed by Maendeleo Ya Wanaume in 2007.
High Court judges, Justice Roselyne Wendoh and Justice George Dulu, said the response should be filed before December 7, when the matter comes up for hearing.
In the matter, the organisation’s Chairperson Mathenge Nderitu Njoka is urging the court to find "the acts of the State aimed at sidelining men, unjust".
He is seeking orders prohibiting the Finance Minister and his Planning counterpart from allocating, disbursing or in any way giving the said money to women or to any person on the basis of gender.
Through Madzayo Mrima Advocates, Njoka contends that the Constitution is likely to be contravened if the two ministries disburse over Sh1 billion to only one gender.
"It is irrational, oppressive and unfair for the respondents to plan and allocate the said money to women without due consideration of the welfare of men and in a blatant discriminatory manner to other members of the society," he argues.
Njoka further alleges that the Women’s Fund is politically motivated and designed for political reasons "other than for women’s economic empowerment taking into consideration that this is an election year (2007)".
"The treatment meted out, or intended to be meted out against the Kenyan society, is biased and designed to belittle and discriminate against the men whereas economic empowerment must be universal to all citizens," he says.
The fund was launched to serve as an alternative source of finance for women who could not easily access the formal financial sector.
As at February, this year, a total of Sh586 million had been loaned to women — Sh449 million through financial institutions and Sh137 million through the Constituency Women Enterprise Scheme.
In May, the Government increased budgetary allocation to the women’s kitty to Sh1.7 billion.
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