Wamuchomba: Divorce two-thirds gender rule from BBI

Kiambu Women Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba  wants the BBI debate separated from the quest for two-thirds gender rule. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kiambu Women Representative Gathoni Wamuchomba says the BBI promotes power-sharing between men and women than bolster their collective advancement.
  • Enactment of the two-thirds gender principle will solidify inclusivity of men and women in every agenda beyond politics, she said.
  • She noted that the women legislators will continue to lobby for the passage of Mr Aden Duale’s sponsored bill.

Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) is not a remedy to realisation of fair representation of women and men in all sectors of Kenya’s development, Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (Kewopa) chairperson has said.

Ms Gathoni Wamuchomba said the BBI promotes power-sharing between men and women than bolster their collective advancement.

“There is nowhere in the BBI where two-thirds gender principle is indicated. It is just power division where we are talking about opposite gender appointments,” she said in a phone interview on September 8.

Enactment of the two-thirds gender principle will solidify inclusivity of men and women in every agenda beyond politics, she said.

Gender mainstreaming

“The two-thirds gender principle is not about division of political and economic power. It instead fosters the principle of gender mainstreaming in every sphere of life,” said Ms Wamuchomba.

“If we go the BBI way, we are only going to include women when it comes to economic and political power only,” she added.

She said the women legislators will continue to lobby for the passage of Mr Aden Duale’s sponsored bill.

“We will never give up until we succeed,” she said.

The Garissa Township Member of Parliament’s Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) (No.4) Bill, 2015, is yet to proceed to third reading. The Bill provided for special seats that will ensure the gender principle is realised in Parliament for a period of 20 years from 2017 General Election.

Technical hitch

The MPs have since 2016, failed to hit a quorum to vote for the Bill, a technical hitch perceived to be man-made. The Bill was shelved in February 2019, after four attempts of pushing for its passage.

Ms Wamuchomba, however, said there is no other way to ensure the Constitutional provision is met other than through the enactment of the relevant laws.

Ministry of Public Service and Gender, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Ms Rachel Shebesh in an interview with a local television on September 7, indicated that the BBI would resolve quagmire on implementation of the two-thirds gender principle.

“We have now moved the conversation on the two-thirds to the BBI,” she said.

“BBI will deliver the right of women to be included in leadership positions,” she added.

Opposite gender

Women, through the Common Women Agenda (Cowa), a platform constituting of women in politics, civil society, academia and commerce have proposed adoption of opposite gender format in making appointments.

Realisation of this structure means whenever a woman is the head of an institution, a man must become her deputy and the vice versa.

The BBI taskforce is expected to unveil the final report in the coming weeks upon which its contents will be subjected to a referendum for approval of Kenyans.

The question of whether or not to hold the referendum on the BBI report, however, continues to attract opposing opinions from different political squatters.

In an August 17, webinar on Our Political Wishlist: What Kenyan Women Want, Ms Wamuchomba said it was possible to pass the Bill if the women united for the cause.

 “When we have our sisterhood and it is powerful (then) with that power we can be able to influence Bills in the National Assembly, Senate (and) County Assembly,” she said during the webinar hosted by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Kenia.