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Women MPs say no to 'men fund' proposal

By Alphonce Shiundu | Oct 23rd 2014 | 2 min read

Women MPs Wednesday dismissed the push for a special fund for men over 35 years by their male colleagues.

The legislators said Kenya is a patriarchal society and creating a kitty for men will give them undue advantage over women as they are the majority property owners.

The MPs who weighed in on the issue include Gladys Wanga (Homabay Town), Zulekha Hassan (nominated), Fathia Mahboub (Mandera) and Tiyah Galgalo (Isiolo).

“Men over 35 years are the owners of various factors of production; they are the ones who own land, and in cultures with cattle, they are the owners. They own all property. Why then do they need a special fund?” posed Wanga during debate on the Motion.

Though the Motion is clothed as pushing for a universal fund for “people of all ages and genders”, the women MPs said such a kitty will not be sustainable.

They said the country already has a Youth Enterprise Development Fund and Women Fund which were set up because these groups were vulnerable.

“These funds identified youth and women as people who have certain vulnerabilities that must be dealt with for them to transition. You cannot buy a baby-walker for a child and keep him or her in it for the rest of their life,” said Wanga.

Zulekha dismissed the Motion as “a mockery of affirmative action”. She said men over 35 ought to have developed skills they can use to make them self-reliant by that age.

“The answer to the poverty in Kenya is not to give money to different groups. If we approve this, we’ll be setting a dangerous trend,” Zulekha warned.

Mahboub echoed Wanga’s sentiments, saying the proposal was ill-conceived.

Marginalised groups

“The country has created enough funds for marginalised groups. Many have had many opportunities to advance themselves over the years and it is up to them if they have failed to utilise them,” said Mahboub.

She added: “Men have a lot of opportunities. They can walk into a bank with a title-deed and get money. Why then should they have a special fund?”

The women lawmakers managed to get the support of Johnson Sakaja (nominated), Korei ole Lemein (Narok South) and John Mbadi (Suba) in dismissing the push for the fund as ill-advised.

Mbadi said the Motion was “meaningless and useless” given that it was difficult for the country to set up a universal fund — a kind of parallel bank — targeting all Kenyans.

“Do not bring populist Motions to the House simply to show our constituents that we care. This is meaningless,” said Mbadi.

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