Women demand equity in Truth Commission

July 31, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, July 31 – Women Parliamentarians are demanding equal representation in the soon to be set up Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), claiming that women have been left out of the existing commissions.

The Members of Parliament (MPs) cited the Justice Philip Waki-led Commission probing the post election violence, which has no female commissioners.

“We are not only looking for 50:50 representation, we want seven; all seven of the commissioners to be women, because the Waki commission wholly consists of men,” said Nominated MP Sofia Abdi Omar.

Omar appealed to the rest of her colleagues to support their proposals when the Bill is brought before the House on Thursday afternoon.

Marakwet East MP Jebii Kilimo complained that there was a tendency of sidelining women during appointments, yet they too qualified for most of the positions.

She went on to say that several of the appointments had violated the UN Resolution and the African Union solemn declaration on gender equality.

The legislators also vowed to ensure that no amnesty was granted particularly to sex offenders, whom Kilimo strongly recommended should face the full force of the law.

“The bill is clear on lack of amnesty to offenders of sexual offences and sexual crimes, as lack of this demeans the dignity of all women and children in Kenya and the rule of law,” she stressed.

The MPs began debate on the TJRC Bill last Thursday after it was introduced by the Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Martha Karua.

The Parliamentary Committee on the Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs proposed amendments that would ensure no amnesty is given to sexual offences and war crimes.
Other changes included increasing the number of commissioners from seven to nine, with two additional slots assigned to Kenyans.
Karua promised that the commission would be independent of the Executive and conduct its work like the state-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

The Bill was debated in Parliament during Thursday afternoon’s session.

Contributing to debate Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni said Commissioners to be appointed to the TJRC should not be recycled from previous commissions.

He said; “We are having people from past commissions serving in the Waki and Kriegler Commission, this is wrong.”\

The Bill will next move to the Committee on Administration of Justice and Legal Affairs for scrutiny, before being tabled back to the House for the third and final read.


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