, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 21 – National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale spearheaded a crusade by male MPs in the House to reject amendments to the Political Parties Act which would have set up a special campaign kitty for women candidates participating in the 2017 General Election.
Duale said the proposal by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chaired by Samuel Chepkonga was discriminatory to the male gender and unconstitutional.
MPs Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini), Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town), Makali Mulu (Kitui Central) agreed that the proposed fund would give women MPs an undue advantage against their male counterparts.
“I am warning our female women MPs to tread carefully or else we will frustrate the constitutional amendment to enact the two-thirds gender rule. You can’t bring this thing here to set up a funny fund,” said Wamalwa.
“When you look at some of the women here, the hair on their head cost almost Sh10,000. These women have money,” said Malulu Injendi (Malava) in opposition to the amendment.
Male MPs who enjoyed a majority during the sitting claimed that by giving the women the special fund, they will forced to set up a similar one for the youth and the disabled.
Chepkonga (Ainabkoi) was forced to withdraw subsequent amendments after MPs voiced their opposition as Women MPs Florence Kajuju (Meru County), Sabina Chege (Murang’a County), Wanjiku Muhia (Nyandarua County) observed that the vote was a blow to increasing women participation in leadership.
“Men control the capital, so women must be given a fund to effectively compete in elections, I did not know that there are many anti-progress forces in this House,” said Chepkonga.
Chege led women MPs in expressing their disappointment, when she observed: “Every time you make a decision about women, make the decision taking into account how your mother would have managed it, not just based on the women who are campaigning against you,” said Chege.
“Women never have resources to campaign, that is why very few of them participate in politics. We need to support this fund,” said Christine Ombaka (Siaya County).
“We really need this fund and the criteria for sharing the fund, so that political parties do not just nominate women, but they follow up and ensure that the nominees win their seats,” said Aisha Katana (Kilifi County).
The Chepkonga amendment had provided for the Fund to be distributed as follows: Eighty percent of the Fund proportionately by reference to the total number of votes secured by each political party in the preceding general election; fifteen percent of the Fund proportionately by reference to the proportion of women elected within each party in Parliament; and five percent for the administration expenses of the Fund.
The MPs also shot down a proposal to allocate political parties that sponsor more women in Parliament with a larger share of the Sh3 billion Political Parties Fund.
The amendment sought to prescribe procedures for nomination of candidates for a party at the National Delegates Conference for the National Assembly and the Senate that ensures representation of special interest groups.
Through the amendment, Chepkonga wanted to establish procedures for the consolidation of a party list that ensures that special interest groups are represented as well as set procedures for the distributing the 15 percent allocation of the Fund to ensure adequate distribution to special interest groups elected in Parliament by each political party in the preceding General Election.