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Kenyan women oppose plan to delay gender rule implementation

POLITICS
By Peace Loise Mbae | August 4th 2015

NAIROBI: A women's caucus has now demanded the withdrawal of a bill that seeks to extend the August 27 constitutional deadline for the implementation of the two-thirds gender rule.

The women said the affirmative action law must be in place within the stipulated time set by the Constitution and dismissed the bill by Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga that seeks a constitutional amendment to push its implementation.

Speaking during the bill's public hearing, the women under Thuluthi Mbili Forum, said the proposed amendment would drag the process of implementing the gender rule in the country, yet other East African states had met the requirement.

"It is shameful that Kenya is the fastest growing economy in the East African Community but the last in women's political representation because we do not have affirmative action legislation," read their statement.

They added: "True leaders do not run away from problems. Without facing up to gender equality we are refusing to take full leadership in this region. We are shying away from one of the most critical principles in the Constitution," said the statement.

Some members raised an issue with the bill's title saying it did not capture the inclusion of other special interest groups. They said if the bill is aimed at inclusion of all marginalised groups then the name must reflect that.

The women also disputed the claims that women were after free seats saying they were demanding for equal opportunities. They said the reason there were few women in political positions was greatly due to the influence of political parties.

Catherine Kanana, a member of the forum, said political parties were killing women's opportunities. "I vied in 2013 and I won...but was denied nomination because a man said I do not deserve it. We must have laws to govern political parties," she said adding that women should contest for elective positions to help change the misconception they want free positions.

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