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Forget free seats, MP Tim Wanyonyi tells gender Bill supporters

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Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi has told off those pushing for the two third gender Bill saying leaders should forget free seats and seek votes at the ballot.

Speaking on Friday during Westlands constituency expo 2018, Wanyonyi said the Bill will never pass in Parliament unless the clause on nomination slots is removed.

“Let people understand that there will be no more free seats, let women look for votes at the ballot,” he said.

On Wednesday, the vote on the Bill was deferred to 2019 following a quorum hitch at the National Assembly.

Majority Leader Aden Duale called for the deferment after the House failed to get the 233 members required to vote in support of the Bill.

Wanyonyi said Kenya can be like Rwanda if women participated in active politics instead of waiting to be nominated.

The 2010 Constitution envisaged a situation where elections could result in either gender dominating the Kenyan Parliament hence the safety valve to bridge the gender gap after polls.

“Not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender,” Article 81 (b) of the 2010 Constitution dictates.

But implementation has proved elusive because the Constitution failed to expressly provide for how the two-thirds gender ratio would be achieved.

As it is, the composition of both the National Assembly and the Senate falls short of the constitutional threshold.

Read: Gender Bill vote moved for lack of quorum 

On women and youth empowerment, Wanyonyi said he will continue to support income-generating projects in his constituency.

The exhibition was organized to showcase products made by women and youths groups in his constituency.

Most the exhibitors are former street youths, reformed sex workers and other groups who have been assisted by the Mp to start income generating projects.

Most of the products are made of beads such as baskets, art drawing, bracelets among others.

“These women are harassed sometimes by goons pretending to be city inspectorate, we are talking with the county about this issue,” he said.

The MP said the major challenges they faced was lack of space to sell their products and frequent harassment by county officials.

He said his focus is now to create more space for an open-air market to enable the groups to do their business.

So far more than 16,000 people have benefited from the initiative.

He said he will also engage the government to look for international markets for the products.

“The government can also allow these women to sell their products at the Huduma centres, hotels and also on the state department’s websites,” the MP said.

The initiative which started with only 200 people has grown and is helping in poverty eradication.

Read: House defers vote on Gender Bill to 2019 amid quorum hitch

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