By James Mbaka
Kenya: Women politicians have urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to tighten the noose on runaway corruption and wastage in government.
They have objected to the push to scrap women positions of leadership to cut down the burgeoning public sector wage bill saying the government should instead tame the employment spree by devolved units, seal spillage and do away with the former provincial administration.
Women representatives Joyce Lay (Taita Taveta), Shukra Hussein Gure (Garissa) and Florence Mutua (Busia) argued abolishing their seats and those of nominated Members of the County Asemblies would reverse gains made in the fight for gender equality and women empowerment.
Two Bills before the National Assembly; one seeking to reduce the number of counties and another to abolish special seats reserved for women and do away with nominated MCAs have ignited a storm with opponents seeing it as a plot by anti-reform agents to scuttle devolution.
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Although they agree with the urgent need to tame the runaway public sector wage bill, now well above half the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), they warn that going for the necks of women by chopping off their leadership would be retrogressive.
Ms Lay said it would be ironical for the government that campaigned on the platform of gender mainstreaming to allow such legislation.
She noted the seats of women were specially created as an affirmative action and anchored in the Constitution.
“Scrapping the seats will not lower the skyrocketing wage bill, the solution to the country’s ailing economy is to deal with corruption and wastage in government,” Ms Lay said.
Gure regrets the country could find itself reversing the tremendous gains made in women empowerment if the two Bills sail through.
The attempt to cripple women has also been resisted by the country’s gender agency, the National Gender and Equality Commission which has warned that anti-reforms agents were hiding behind the raging public wage debate to defeat the very essence of the law.