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Make room for us, MPs say on proposal to scrap Woman Rep post

Friday July 19 2019

Inua Mama MPs

Some of the women MPs under the 'Inua Mama, Jenga Taifa' political caucus, during their meeting with women's groups supported by nominated MP Halima Mucheke, at Kaaga Synod in Imenti North constituency, Meru County, on July 19, 2019. PHOTO | CHARLES WANYORO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

CHARLES WANYORO
By CHARLES WANYORO
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More than 40 female lawmakers who are allied to Deputy President William Ruto have hit out at pro-referendum leaders suggesting that the seat should be scrapped.

Members of the ‘Inua Mama, Jenga Taifa’ caucus said on Friday that the move will isolate women from leadership positions.

They further noted that Kenya is yet to effect the two thirds gender rule in Parliament.

PUNGUZA MZIGO

Led by Kandara MP Alice Wahome, the women categorically took issue with the ‘Punguza Mizigo’ group and the Building Bridges Initiative, saying women were not considered in the proposals.

The MPs, many in Jubilee Party, said they will only support a presidential candidate who supports women in leadership.

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“The government that we form in 2022 must have enough room for women, youth and men," said Ms Wahome.

"It will not be business as usual. The Constitution is only nine years old yet we hear people making suggestions that isolate us. There is no way we are going to accept that women are the burden of this country,” she said at Kaaga Synod in Imenti North, Meru, where they met women's groups supported by nominated MP Halima Mucheke.

MEN TOO

Ms Wahome's remarks were echoed by Tharaka Nithi Woman Representative Beatrice Nkatha Nyaga, Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, and Nyandarua Woman Representative Faith Gitau.

The three also said that calls for a referendum are meant to isolate youth and women.

“Affirmative action is an equaliser ... there is need to empower women. We are not seeking seats on a silver platter. We shall resist any attempt by some few individuals who want to create posts for themselves,” said Ms Jumwa.

Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Shollei urged men to reject any proposals to undermine the two thirds gender rule, saying men could find themselves underrepresented and benefit from it.

“The rule does not expressly address women; it applies to both genders. At one time men will be fewer in leadership posts and will require our support,” she said.

'JUBILEE PACT'

The leaders drummed up support for Dr Ruto in his bid to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta come the 2022 general election.

Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara, Ms Mucheke, Ms Nkatha and other leaders said Jubilee had a pact that promised that Mr Ruto would automatically take over from Mr Kenyatta.

Ms Kihara pointed out that the working relationship between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto ensured peace in the Rift Valley region, which faced post-election violence, and that this status must be maintained.

“I hail from Naivasha which was an epicentre of post-election violence. Most of us almost landed in The Hague," she said.

"When Uhuru joined hands with Ruto, they declared there would be peace. They also said they would serve terms of 10 years each.".