For and Against: Debate on gender rule rages as Nakuru leaders take sides :: Kenya

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Governor Lee Kinyanjui, who has differed with those supporting the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018. [Photo, File]

 

The clamor for more women representation in Parliament continues to elicit mixed reactions from Nakuru leaders.

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Governor Lee Kinyanjui has differed with those supporting the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018, that is on its second reading at the National Assembly

He said MPs need to be careful to avoid the mistakes of yesteryear.

But Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika said the passage of the Bill will go a long way in addressing leadership problems for women.

In his arguments, Kinyanjui said the struggle for women empowerment has been long.

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But it was unfortunate that in the country, this struggle has been reduced to political debate and the agenda is driven by the would-be beneficiaries.

“It is true our sisters deserve respect and fair play in ascending to political power, but the the quest for women empowerment must encompass the broader agenda of grassroots empowerment and attitude change,” the governor said.

Last week MPs held a spirited debate on the Amendment Bill sponsored by Majority leader Aden Duale, seeking to ensure the two Houses comply with the two-thirds gender rule.

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However, Kinyanjui said the conversation on women empowerment should be expanded beyond politics and should include trainings, job opportunities and access to tenders.

“The entrenchment of the women in business and mainstream economy will have greater impact than the token absorption of a few connected women to the National Assembly,” he said at a funeral.

The governor further said the escalation of recurrent expenditure at the National Assembly sends a wrong message to a nation with escalating wage bill and worrying levels of debt. 

Currently, there are 349 members of the National Assembly, both nominated and elected, while in the Senate the number of legislators stands at 67.

The increased number of legislators would push up salaries of MPs since each earns Sh710,000 and are entitled to car grant, among other perks.

On her part, Kihika said the Constitution is clear about not having more than 2/3 of one gender in Parliament and that lawmakers have a chance to make things right.

“I support the ongoing efforts by our colleagues to have the gender rule passed by Parliament and Senate,” she said.

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Kihika said its passing in parliament would not only comply with the Constitution but also make women participate in leadership.

Meanwhile Nakuru nominated Ward Representatives, the County Assembly Gender Committee and the County Directorate of Gender met last week to review the County Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Bill 2014 ,which has stagnated at the assembly after the 2nd reading in 2015. 

The aim of the Bill is to establish a gender fund.

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By Kenyan Digest

The Kenyan Digest Team