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No slots for you, officers tell women during KDF hiring

By Alex Wakhisi | October 7th 2015
Major Cecily Tangus examines a man who was among youths who turned up for the KDF recruitment exercise at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega. [Photo: Benjamin Sakwa/Standard]

Women who turned up Tuesday for the military hiring exercise at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega County were left in shock after officers said there were no slots for them.

They questioned why they were locked out of the Kenya Defence Forces recruitment, saying the process did not reflect gender balance as enshrined in the Constitution.

However, Lieutenant Colonel Coastus Mwangi, the officer in charge of recruitment at the centre, said guidelines they received from the head office did not allocate slots for women.

He further explained that Kakamega County had filled its slots for female recruits during exercises conducted in Matungu, Butere, Mumias and Kakamega South, thus denying women from Kakamega Central the opportunity.

“We had no slots for women at this centre. It is not our wish but the guidelines we were given for this exercise.

“Tuesday, we recruited women at Malinya Stadium in Kakamega South, but for this centre we were not given any slots for women. Immediately we started the exercise we told women not to participate because there was no space for them,” said Lt Col Mwangi.

Doris Eruna, who had showed up for the exercise, said it was unfortunate that women were locked out of the recruitment, thus contravening the Constitution.

She said it would have been better if one slot was set aside for a woman in Kakamega Central.

“This is total violation of the Constitution's gender rule. We could have at least been given one slot at this centre. The gender rule has been violated here,” said Ms Eruna.

She wondered how Kakamega Central would lack a slot for women yet it was the county’s headquarters.

Hopes dashed

Brigid Wekesa, who also came for the exercise, expressed her dissatisfaction saying her hopes of being selected to join the military were dashed by the news that women were not needed.

“I was optimistic that I was going to make it and join the military to defend my country. All my confidence in the exercise was washed away by the fact that no space was allocated for women at this centre. We were not given concrete answers on why we were denied a chance to participate in the exercise,” she said.

Mwangi confirmed that there was a high turnout for the exercise despite many youths being afraid to join KDF due to attacks from the terror group, Al Shabaab.

He also said most of those who came for the exercise were locked out due to lack of academic qualifications.

“The main challenge we have encountered in this region is that most youths fear physics and mathematics. At this centre, only four candidates were eligible to join the Air Forces. One of them was disqualified during the medical stage. I have seen similar cases in Kisumu, Siaya and Vihiga.

“We had 281 youths who came for the recruitment, which is a big number. We have not arrested any person for any malpractice, including bribery, because from the word go we warned them against it,” said Mwangi.

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