KNCHR vouches for womens rights

January 21, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday described the recent appointments made in government as having drawn back the gains made by women in leadership.

Chairperson Florence Sambiri-Jaoko questioned the lack of gender representation in the recent diplomatic appointments as well as a 12-member committee to govern the Grand Coalition government’s affairs.

“We also note that gains made by women have also been threatened as recently demonstrated. We know that Martha Karua and Dr Sally Kosgei (MPs) were instrumental in the Serena Mediation process and yet during this moment, it was found necessary that not a single woman politician be appointed,” she complained.

Mrs Jaoko said women should defend the strides that they have made.

“In spite of the gains that we as the commission are celebrating – having six women commissioners out of nine – we cannot take these things for granted. We must not let our guard down,” she explained, “because women’s rights are threatened.”

She was speaking during the swearing-in of Anne Kyalo-Ngugi as a commissioner, in replacing the former chairman Maina Kiai.

Mrs Jaoko said Mrs Ngugi had joined the commission at a defining moment, when it zeroes in on the full implementation of issues under Agenda Item 4 of the National Accord.

“We believe that if we address Agenda 4 properly then obviously we are going to address ourselves as a nation that is one. We are diverse but we are one, and we as Kenyans will be ready to face any circumstances that come our way,” she stated.

The KNCHR chairperson meanwhile said that the commission had resolved to play a pivotal role in ensuring that the financiers and plotters of the post election violence are held accountable.

She added that Mrs Ngugi’s background as a defender of gender and development and human rights will come in handy when the Special Tribunal into the poll atrocities kicks off.

“These times are going to be very challenging for Kenyans, especially those Kenyans who experienced the post election violence, as we look at the tribunal and the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission that’s going to be set up.”

“We know that Kenyans will be threatened. There are people out there who won’t be happy with Kenyans who will be coming out to say this is exactly what happened,” she observed.

Mrs Jaoko said the commission would have to be at the forefront of defending human rights in the country.

She further impressed upon journalists that other issues the commission would be focussing on are the new corruption scandals, namely the maize and oil scandals.


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