NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27 – Women Parliamentarians have expressed optimism that the struggle to enforce gender equality in public and political appointments is imminent.
During a panel discussion on Thursday, women MPs renewed their vibrancy in efforts geared at convincing their male counterparts to join the 68 women in Parliament to acquire the 233 support of members required to pass the Bill.
“It is doable. We are working round the clock. We have started very intensive lobbying of our male colleagues,” Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire said.
Through their meetings to popularise the Bill and convince male MPs to support it on the Floor of the House, Mbarire said 61 MPs had already pledged to support the women’s push.
The MP further urged other women outside Parliament to use their connections to the men in Parliament to urge them to pass the Bill.
Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo wooed groups supporting affirmative action to work harder to ensure by the time the Bill gets to Parliament, MPs will have been given reasons enough to support it.
They supported the Majority Leader Aden Duale’s Bill which proposes to achieve affirmative action in both the National Assembly and the Senate.
The Bill advocates that those nominated should serve for a maximum of two terms.
Despite the support for nominating women, NARC Kenya Chairperson Martha Karua urged women not to sit back over fear of lack of resources to participate in elections.
She said, women have the power to mobilise resources using various platforms such as churches and women groups.
Karua who lost the presidency in 2013, said she had managed to fundraise for her campaign rallies.
“I covered the country more extensively than the chopper flying male candidates. I used my little budget as a woman uses her budget in the kitchen. If votes were being given on the merits I would have won hands down over my male colleagues,” she recalled.
“So you women out there – step out and campaign. Money is mobilised, do not be afraid at all.”
She however shared the rough experiences encountered in the Kenyan political scene which she described as bumpy especially for women candidates.
In her view, political parties should instil discipline and punish candidates and party supporters who engage in violence and other electoral malpractices.