A third of police recruits must be women, says CIC

May 4, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) says last week\’s recruitment of new officers must meet the one-third quota gender provision as outlined in the new Constitution.

Speaking during a sensitisation forum with women professionals, CIC chairman Charles Nyachae said that he had written to both the Commissioner of Police and the Administration Police Commandant citing several breaches where recruitment committees ignored the constitutional requirement.

"It seemed to be a policy that was passed down the hierarchy. Failing to reserve this would be contemptuous on the Constitution of Kenya and would fatally undermine the gains for women affirmed in the Constitution," he said.

The commission is proposing fresh recruitment targeting only female applicants so that they can meet the one-third quota.

Speaking at the same meeting, Parliament\’s Constitutional Implementation Oversight Commission chairman Abdikadir Mohammed identified the gender balance requirement as a key impediment to the implementation of the Constitution.

He said the provision has necessitated Parliament to make an amendment in order to extend the terms of the Vetting of Magistrates and Judges Act.

No women had applied for the positions to vet, forcing MPs to consider removing the one-third provision on this Act, or extending the period to vet magistrates and judges to allow women participation i the process.

Mr Mohammed said that apathy by women in applying for the judicial jobs could be blamed on historical events that denied women the chance to take part in the process.

He said: "The track record is there for the last 40 years; how many of those jobs went to women?"

The Minister for Gender Affairs Naomi Shaban objected to a proposal to introduce an amendment to the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act.

Ms Shaban instead suggested that the government should invite applications from women professionals to fill the one-third requirement.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo has challenged women professional to apply for the top positions offered in the Constitution.

Mr Kilonzo said it was embarrassing that some women had shied away from applying for the position despite being overqualified.

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo said he would ask Lady Justices Jean Gacheche and Joyce Alouch – who is based in the Hague – why they did not apply for the jobs yet he feels they are qualified.

"I was in the same law class with Appellate Judges Riaga Omolo and Phillip Waki and the two lady justices and when I meet them I will ask them why they didn\’t apply," said the Constitutional Affairs Minister.

At the same time, Gichugu MP Martha Karua and Former MP and UNIFEM Ambassador Phoebe Asiyo have urged Kenyan women to apply for the positions in the Constitution.

"Women are more cautious about a position because they don\’t have the experience to bring together a cohesive working time on the other hand the men are so bold that even if you have absolutely not qualified you will apply," Ms Karua said.

"But we have a collective duty to encourage women to apply for all posts," she said.

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