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Go for highest seats, women leaders told as Fida launches drive

By Grace Ng'ang'a | August 26th 2021

MCA Cecilia Ayot, Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, FIDA Chair Nancy Ikinu and Rahab Muiu (Maendeleo ya Wanawake) during the launch of Vote Adada campaign, August 26, 2021. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Women leaders have been challenged to go for the highest political seats in next year's General Election.

At the same time, the Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida-Kenya) and other organisations have launched a sensitisation campaign to encourage women to eye elective seats in the 2022 elections.

The campaign dubbed “Vote a Dada” calls for increased women participation and representation.

Speaking during a two-day women leadership conference in Nairobi, yesterday, Fida-K chairperson Nancy Ikinu said implementation of the third gender rule remains a huge concern.

Fida-K chairperson Nancy Ikinu. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Ms Ikinu also regretted that no woman has shown interest in the presidency. She urged women to believe in their leadership skills and fight for elective positions at the national and county level.

Ikinu said empowering one woman is equivalent to all.

“We have the numbers, we are galvanised and we call upon women to rise up and lead the country. We need to actualise the reality that we can have equal representation of women in governance,” she said.

She noted that implementation of the third gender rule would enhance inclusion and promote women leaders.

Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo said the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was expected to address the gender rule.

Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo. [Samson Wire, Standard]

She noted that constitutional amendment is the only way to ensure women stop lagging behind in leadership positions.

“There is a promise for women that is not fulfilled in the Constitution. Constitution amendment is a must and that is why for me the defeat of BBI in the courts was akin to throwing away the baby with the birth water,” she said.

She argued that the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2020 would address challenges of marginalised groups.

“When we talk about certain decisions, people were more focused on the political climate around the Bill but did not think about the implications in relation to marginalied groups and women,” she said.

“Unless something happens, we will have to make do with what we have now following the court’s decision to nullify BBI," she added.

Narc-Kenya party leader Martha Karua, who has declared interest in Kirinyaga governorship, said women should not shy away from vying for all elective seats.

Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua. [Samson Wire, Standard]

“We must seek to be on the table and there is no other way. It’s time to demand an equal share at the top. Whatever position you get even if it's nominated enjoy the space and work on it. Most of these leaders started from there so let nobody joke or laugh you off because you are nominated," she said.

She said although she will not vie for the top seat next year, she is not done with it yet.

“I have unfinished business with the presidency slot but first I will run for Kirinyaga gubernatorial seat next year,” Karua said.

In the 2017 elections, three women were elected governors, Ann Waiguru (Kirinyaga), the late Joyce Laboso (Bomet) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui), while senators are Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu), Susan Kihika (Nakuru) and Agnes Kavindu (Machakos).

Download the BBI Judgement by all seven Judges - Civil Appeal No. E291 of 2021
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