Women: ODM Defends itself

December 23, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 23 – The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has defended itself against accusations from women Parliamentarians that the top leadership is not gender representative.

ODM Chairman Henry Kosgey said on Tuesday that regional balance overtook the gender parity consideration during the elections last Thursday.

Mr Kosgey insisted that out of the 56 posts 25 went to women.

“They are represented at the highest level, where they are not represented is the Party Leader, his deputies and the rest,” he said. “We nominated the positions taking into considerations the various regions.”

Women legislators from ODM and PNU on Monday discredited the recent appointment of officials in the two major parties saying women were not given a fair share. Led by the Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association Chairperson, Jebii Kilimo, the women claimed the lists had already been crafted secretly despite pricey campaigns by the candidates.

“If we believe in sharing, in equality, should there be canvassing? There should be democracy if they really recognise the role women play in their parties,” she said.

“We are calling on women to stop voting these men in.”
Prime posts in these parties were allocated to men with women carrying inferior posts. In PNU Beth Mugo was given Chairperson of Women Affairs. Gender Affairs Minister Esther Murugi was denied the chance to vie for Vice Chairman in favor of Jimmy Angwenyi. She refused to take up a junior position given to her.

Sotik Member of Parliament Dr Joyce Laboso had on Monday appealed to the Registrar of Political Parties to critically scrutinise the lists of party leaders to ensure a third of the officials are women.
However the Registrar, Lucy Ndung’u said that all the parties that had applied for registration had met the one third requirement.

“I have not received a single complaint from any party regarding this,” she said adding that the December 31 deadline still stands.

On his part ODM Secretary General Anyang Nyong’o said the women can make the seemingly inferior posts influential.

“It is important to give individuals the opportunity to be in the party Executive whatever the post is and then for them to contribute to the building of the party. That is what will make history,” he said.

Political parties have until end of this month to comply with the Political Parties Act and be registered by the Registrar of Political Parties.


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