Kenyan MPs target Women voters

June 13, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 13 – Nominated Members of Parliament Rachel Shebesh and Millie Odhiambo have pledged to work with civil society organizations and other civic educators to help inform women on the contents of the proposed new constitution.

The two MPs said they were increasingly concerned because "most women do not seem to know the goodies in store for them in the proposed law."

They have vowed to intensify their \’Yes\’ drive campaigns in preparation for the forthcoming referendum, and would focus mainly on targeting women.

Ms Shebesh said they would focus to reach those at the grassroots level to ensure that all Kenyans were educated on the proposed law.

"Some of them (women) are considering rejecting the draft because they have listened to the propaganda that is going on especially on the issue of abortion. A woman never makes a decision until she understands something well which is why we need to speak to them. That is why such a big number of women are either unsure or will vote no because maybe the loudest voice they\’ve been hearing is from the churches," she said. 

On her part Ms Odhiambo asked women to read and understand the proposed law so as to vote from an informed point of view.

"As Kenyans we are so used to saying \’No\’ that even when the time to say \’Yes\’ comes we don\’t see. It\’s like when Jesus came; they killed Him…they crucified Him. So we must see that the time for liberation of Kenya from oppression is now and we must open our eyes," she said.

The two female leaders spoke at a public educative forum for women organized by \’Warembo Ni Yes\’ initiative. The initiative hopes to reach 20,000 women in Nairobi by organizing weekly informative meetings on the contents of the proposed constitution.

Happy Kinyili a Coordinator of the initiative said the campaign was aimed at bringing women together to show them gains envisaged in the proposed law.

"We are holding about 16 community forums in Nairobi and four outside Nairobi where we will have civic education conducted in areas such as Kibera, Kasarani, Kabete and others. So we will gather the women who live in these areas and use them to spread the word," she said.

She also called on well wishers and legal experts to volunteer their time, money and technical know-how to help educate Kenyans on the proposed law. 

"What we are saying is if you have one shilling or two or any other means of helping us get the message across, please support us. And that doesn\’t mean our work won\’t go on; we are committed to this. If it means standing on some corner and screaming our message we will do just that. The work has to be done," she said.



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