, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 6 – Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation (MYWO) said on Wednesday that the seven-day sex boycott by women had been successful.
MYWO Chairperson Rukia Subow cited a meeting held on Tuesday by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, as proof that their agitation for political leadership had borne fruit.
“It has worked! Though we are calling it off today (Wednesday) the message is heard. The issue was putting pressure, it is confirmed that the two Principlas are working together and we will get reforms,” she said.
Mrs Subow said though the boycott had been trivalised by many critics, the point was not about sex but pressure on the government to speed up the reform process.
She promised that women will use their ‘strength’ to push for change in the country should the political class continue delaying the development agenda.
Her remarks came after Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi revealed that Mr Kibaki and Mr Odinga met with top government Ministers and vowed to ensure that reforms would be prioritised.
He said the government seriously considered the move by women to deny their men sex saying it was urgent to respond to their plea.
“Our political class did meet and we decided to accelerate Constitutional reforms, Judicial and police reforms. I hope there will be no course for women of Kenya to go back to that boycott again,” he said.
Mr Murungi further said he was also weary of the many wrangles in the coalition government.
He said a lot of time was being wasted to resolve political differences at the expense of dealing with development issues and challenges facing Kenyans.
His wish was to see the two Principals working and consulting regularly to ensure political stability.
The two spoke during a tree planting launch by MYWO which targets to raise six million tree seedlings in its Tree Nurseries Development Project.
Mrs Subow said through women groups, the organisation would ensure the project covers 45 districts during the implementation period and cover the rest of the country afterwards.
She said besides conserving the environment and energy, the project will also be an income generating plan, adding that the campaign would take place countrywide to encourage people to plant more trees.
In its efforts to support local tree farmers, Mr Murungi said the Energy Ministry would ban importation of electricity poles from South Africa, Tanzania, Latin America, China and Finland by 2012.
He said the government had set aside Sh6 billion for the purchase electricity poles, saying with the ban the entire amount would be channeled to local tree farmers.
The Minister also noted that there was need for more trees since most of the rural populations still depend on wood even after providing electricity to about 400,000 households in the last two years.
“Firewood is still the dominant source of energy for the majority of households in Kenya, even after extending electiricity people are only using electricity only for lighting, but when it comes to cooking people are still relying on firewood,” he said.
Gender Minister Esther Murugi said the government should not fix prices for the electricity poles, but instead give women a chance to negotiate the prices.
She also appealed to the women to increase their target of six million trees to a billion trees since the country was highly damaged by de-forestation.
She further urged them to plant trees in Mau forest after the government resolves the current issue of relocating its occupants.