Kenyan women are fed up

December 22, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 22 – Women legislators on Monday discredited the recent appointment of officials in the major political parties, complaining of gender disparity and said women were not given a fair share.

Led by the Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association Chairperson, Linah Jebii Kilimo, the women claimed the lists had already been made in secret despite pricey campaigns by the candidates.

“We are calling on women to stop voting these men in,” Mrs Kilimo said.

“If we believe in sharing, in equality, should there be canvassing? There should be no canvassing! There should be democracy if they really recognise the role women play in their parties,” she added.

By last week, five political parties had been endorsed by the registrar of political parties, after having met the requirements of the Political Parties Act.

“Unfortunately in what happened after the just concluded major political parties elections (PNU and ODM), we feel the women of this country were short changed,” added Sophia Abdi Noor, a nominated ODM legislator.

“It was unfortunate and we are disappointed. The women of this country are now awake, they are watching and will not be taken for a ride any more,” she said.

Sotik Member of Parliament Dr Joyce Laboso appealed to the registrar to critically scrutinise the lists of party leaders to ensure a third of the officials are women.

“Again we are saying it is not about tokenism, it is not about deciding on the floor of an election when you suddenly realize you have reached up to position 15 and there is not a single woman on your list that you decide to quickly make a decision to incorporate them, and not even in a very constitutional way,” Dr Laboso said.

Speaking at the same briefing, ODM party activist Mumbi Ng’aaru accused the political parties of lack of seriousness about their 30 percent representation that they claim to have.

“Like what happened in ODM was it really acceptable or was it as usual trying to include us just to appear to be meeting the 30 percent representation,” Ms Ng’aaru posed.
 “I stand to say there were no elections, there was selection. Were it not for a concern raised by one of the MP’s (Bishop Margaret Wanjiru), probably the token that was given to women wouldn’t even have been realized,” she said.

“It’s a sad day for my party because of the shame that they really did to us women.”
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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