NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 2 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has reaffirmed his government’s committment on gender equality through the adoption of policy and legal frameworks to promote the empowerment of women and girls.
This comes at a time when uncertainty remains high on whether he will heed to Chief Justice David Maraga who called for the dissolution of Parliament for failing to enact a legislation to implement the two-thirds gender rule.
In a recorded video statement delivered during a virtual high-level meeting at the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 2020) to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Kenyatta took pride in a government where there is fair representation of women both all arms of Government.
“Let me inform you that gender equality remains central to the development agenda of my administration and indeed as enshrined by our Constitution of Kenya,” President Kenyatta added.
He noted that women comprise 33 percent of his Cabinet and command strategic positions adding that in Parliament, they also head critical parliamentary committees.
“We are making steady progress in the Judiciary where women comprise 28.6 % of the Supreme Court, 36.8% for our Court of Appeal, 48.8% of our High Court and 53.5% of our magistrates,” he added.
Kenyatta, who is in France for a State visi, added that his administration is on track in the implementation of Beijing Platform For Action agreement which seeks to promote and protect the full enjoyment of all human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all women.
In a separate interview with France 24, Kenyatta however, expressed regret on failure of Parliament to enforce the gender rule but pointed out that he does not intend to dissolve the Parliament.
“It is indeed a regret but at the same time the spirit of the Constitution was one progressively getting there… At the end of the day, we must recognise that we must balance the rights of the citizens to elect their representatives and the need for us to have gender parity,” he said.
“It’s not what I would like to do but it is an option that has been presented. So we’ll wait to see the outcome of the court process, and that will be the time to know the way forward,” he added.
Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki and Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto have accused Maraga of disregarding critical public interest and the fact that there is no legal framework for the dissolution of Parliament.
Kihara, who is the government chief legal adviser points out that if the President proceeds to dissolve Parliament, there will be a constitutional crisis,
Regarding economic interventions, he said that his administration has come up with various interventions aimed at unlocking full potential of women and girls highlighting that nearly USD 600 million has been invested in market program where 3 milllion women have gained entrepreneurship skills.
“We are also implementing a transformative social protection measure, through major cash transfer programmes with nationwide coverage, which today benefits over 500,000 vulnerable households,” the President added.
Additional reporting by PSCU