Kenyan women: This is our political wish list

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Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Kewopa chairperson Gathoni Wamuchomba said formidable sisterhood can result to a more developed society and sustainable growth.
  • She attributed failure of gender-related Bills in the National Assembly and Senate to disintegration of women leaders.
  • Said her work is to ensure women lawmakers play their role; make legislation that cover up existing gaps.

Women leaders in Kenya are banking on strong sisterhood to advance gender equality.

Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (Kewopa) chairperson Gathoni Wamuchomba said formidable sisterhood can result to a more developed society and sustainable growth.

 “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 an August 17, webinar on Our Political Wishlist: What Kenyan Women Want

“We will also be able to create our own political space…politics is a game of numbers; if we have to win it, we have to have numbers,” she added during the webinar organised by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

Two-thirds gender rule

She attributed failure of gender-related Bills in the National Assembly and Senate to disintegration of women leaders.

“Look at how much we have struggled to have the Two-Thirds Gender Rule (Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015 go through in the National Assembly,” she said.

“It is because we have not had the numbers and even the few numbers we had had we have not been cohesive enough. We’ve not been speaking the same language,” she added.

As a chairperson of Kewopa, Ms Wamuchomba promised to unite women to ensure they succeed in delivering on their legislative, oversight and representative mandate.

“My work is to ensure all women lawmakers play their role; make legislation that is going to cover up the gaps that are existing,” she said.

Pending bills

Ms Wamuchomba also pledged to whip the legislators in favour of all pending Bills moved by female MPs including Family Bill, Widows Bill and Children Bill, 2017.

She said the women legislators have, in the last one month, been intensely lobbying government officials to support passage of the two-thirds gender rule laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

“Two-thirds gender rule (Laws (Amendment Bill, 2015) was taken to be a women issue. How to unpack that and make it a gender issue is the elephant in the room,” she said.

Kenya Female Advisory Organisation, Executive Director, Easter Achieng’ emphasised the need for strong women movements as they are the bridges to sustainable empowerment of women.

Role of men

“Women are valuable when it comes to voting… but when it comes to electing them as political leaders, it becomes a challenge,” she said.

“We want women from political movements to work with women from social and labour movement because the movements are a resource (to empowering women).”

Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson Rahab Muiu urged for change of narrative on role of men in women empowerment.

Ms Muiu said men play a pivotal role in building the political and economic muscles of women.

“What has made the African woman do business and succeed?” she asked.

Swahili Constitution

“We have married women who are doing well in business (and) it takes a husband’s support. In the political arena it takes the support of the husband.

She added that: “Let us not lose the fact that yes, we have very many single parent women in Kenya who have been very successful but we also have women who have had a lot of support from their husbands.,”

“(In) this journey of empowering a Kenyan woman, we must look at it completely so that we do not misadvise the girls,” she added

She said the organisation will be launching a Swahili Constitution before end of August to be distributed to women at the grassroots and those with little literacy skills.




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