Women demand 50pc of top seats

Wednesday March 18 2020

Members of Embrace Kenya address the Building Bridges Initiative task force about women empowerment during a meeting at KICC on August 8, 2019. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Women leaders are now demanding 50 per cent of all State and public office jobs in the country.

While presenting their proposals to the Building Bridges Initiative task force at the KICC in Nairobi on Thursday, the leaders — under the Embrace grouping — said the government should respect the law and ensure the inclusion of women in all arms of government.

Led by governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), they further proposed expansion of the presidency and the executive to provide for president, deputy president, prime minister and two deputy prime ministers positions through the Amendment of Chapter 9 of the Constitution.

“Since independence, the two top seats have been going to men. So the three new positions should go to women,” Ms Ngilu said.

Ms Waiguru said gender inclusivity through women representation should be extended to the grassroots, adding that women are marginalised yet they constitute 51 per cent of the population.

“The 50:50 gender rule should apply in all county executive bodies, including the nomination of all county executives and in public service recruitment,” she said.



Ms Waiguru also called for immediate amendment of the law that guides appointments of people living with disabilities.

The leaders proposed that five and 20 per cent of appointments in the public sector should be reserved for persons with disability and the youth respectively.

Other members of the Embrace movement present included Nairobi woman rep Esther Passaris and her Murang’a counterpart Sabina Chege, nominated senators Abshiro Halake, Gladys Musuruve and Zipporah Kittony, and Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda.

They further proposed that corruption-related offences should not be bailable and cases should be concluded within six months.

Additionally, convicted State and public officers should be given a 10-year ‘cooling off’ period — and should never be cleared for any appointive or elective positions.

“Graft in critical sectors such as health, water, education and agriculture should not have provision for bail and should only be punishable by imprisonment as it affects women the most,” Ms Halake said.


On the Big Four Agenda, the leaders urged the government to make housing affordable to low-income women through a government-guaranteed scheme.

The Embrace team and its partners are also advocating for women participation in safety, peace and security.

They said female security officers — comprising 30 per cent of police officers — should be recruited and deployed to each station to address the safety of women who report cases affecting them.

Due to the increased cases of femicide, the legislators called for the setting-up of well-resourced sex crime units, with officers from the National Police Service, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Government Chemist to handle the cases.

They also want the national and county governments to establish an efficient healthcare system. “Any package must include sexual and reproductive services going beyond maternal health, contraceptives, prevention and treatment of cervical cancer and sexually transmitted infections,” Ms Chege said.