Kenyan men fault women clauses in draft

February 4, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – Maendeleo Ya Wanaume (MYW) has taken issue with the proposal to increase parliamentarians from the current 222 to 349.

MYW Chairman Nderitu Njoka said Kenya’s economy could not sustain such a bloated Parliament as it’s still recovering from effects of the global recession the 2008 violence.

He said the extra 124 seats would be too costly for Kenyan tax payers, terming the proposal by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review (PSC) was too ambitious. The organisation is proposing an increase by not more than 50 parliamentary seats.

“That would have been sufficient for our country and we would have been able to maintain them,” he said.

Mr Njoka added that it was unfair for the PSC to accord women free parliamentary seats saying the move was biased. He explained that the PSC’s decision should have remained impartial to both genders.

“They need to look at it in a gender based way because we need to have equal opportunities in how people are elected. People should not just be appointed without fighting for the seats. Women should not just sit and get seats without hustling for them. The days of getting free things are gone,” he emphasised.

Mr Njoka who was speaking during an interview with Capital News also said that MYW would next week file a petition in court against the Committee of Experts (CoE) and the PSC alleging that the two groups had incessantly ignored their views and proposals for the draft.

“We feel that our cries were not heard by the PSC and the CoE and we feel that our views will continue being ignored. We are being sidelined expressively and exclusively and we have been left with no option but to move to court. We are going to object to the clauses that sideline men because if we don’t do that the draft is really going to make life difficult for the disadvantaged men,” he said.

“We feel that these people will continue ignoring our cries and so maybe the CoE will now listen to us,” he said.

Mr Njoka said that MYW wanted articles 125, 126, 128 and article 30 of the draft revised because they only addressed women’s rights and left out men.

“These articles only mention women and we want them corrected to read gender because we also have men who are disadvantaged and who need affirmative action. It is very wrong to assume that it is only women who are vulnerable,” he said.

Mr Njoka also explained that the PSC’s proposal to assign special seats to women was against the law and that the fact that women were the majority compared to men also discounted the PSC’s move.

“It is unconstitutional to have some clauses that favour women in the Harmonised Draft Constitution because it is the same Constitution that claims not to favour any sex. Women are also the higher percentage so we do not understand why they should be helped to get seats while we who are the minority have to fight for seats,” he said.

The organisation also took issue with the draft’s definition of life saying that it would facilitate abortion and significantly underscore the sanctity of life.

“We were very much against the clause that says life begins at birth because that is not true; life begins at conception. The PSC and the Committee of Experts should not legalise abortion because we will end up putting all the unborn children at risk,” he said.

Mr Njoka also lauded the PSC’s efforts for clearly pointing out that homosexuality was outlawed.

“We also felt encouraged to see that the PSC removed the clause stating that any grown up could found a family because it would have provided the leeway for promoting gayness and lesbianism which we don’t support,” he said.


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