NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 24 – The Party of National Unity (PNU) has admitted that women in the party were given a raw deal during the election of top officials last Friday.
PNU Chairman Professor George Saitoti said on Wednesday that although the party had ‘complied’ with the one third rule of the Political Parties Act, women missed out on influential positions.
“It would have been my wish to see more women really sitting in the higher echelons of the party,” the Internal Security Minister confessed.
In his defense, however, Prof Saitoti promised the women that they would be given more priority in the future. “We do intend to ensure that more and more women are recruited. We want to ensure that women play a critical role in the decision making of the party.”
Prof Saitoti spoke as he led other party officials in making a formal application for registration at the registrar of political parties in compliance with the political parties act.
The registrar has so far cleared eight parties out of 23 applications. “All parties that we have registered have met all the qualifications,” she said.
Prof Saitoti spoke barely a day after the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) defended its perceived ‘gender insensitive’ leadership. ODM Chairman Henry Kosgey said that regional balance overtook the gender parity consideration during the elections last Thursday.
Mr Kosgey too admitted that women missed out on prime posts.
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.
“We are calling on women to stop voting these men in,” she said. The women had asked the registrar of political parties Lucy Ndung’u to critically scrutinise the lists of party leaders to ensure a third of the officials are women.
The registrar has however confirmed that the parties have complied with the one third rule, but the women are up in arms arguing that they were allocated the inferior and toothless 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.
Political parties have until end of this month to comply with the Political Parties Act and be registered by the Registrar of Political Parties.