What you need to know:
- AWLN-K chairperson Jennifer Riria expressed her confidence in Ms Karua’s capabilities and stressed that women are the future.
- Dr Riria urged other political party leaders to nominate women running mates in presidential and gubernatorial positions.
The African Women Leaders Network on Tuesday lauded Martha Karua for her nomination as Azimio flag-bearer Raila Odinga’s running mate.
The chairperson of the Kenyan chapter, Dr Jennifer Riria, commended Mr Odinga for the "daring move". She expressed her confidence in Ms Karua’s capabilities and stressed that women are the future. Dr Riria spoke during a press conference at Nairobi Safari Club.
“Martha Karua stands tall as a woman but, more importantly, as a leader in her own right. We celebrate you, our sister, for breaking this barrier for all the women of Kenya. Just like Kamala Harris rose to become the first black woman to be appointed Vice President of America, we believe you have just opened the gates for our girls and women to rise to the highest levels,” said Dr Riria.
“No serious person can question Ms Karua’s credentials, her standing in society and her leadership abilities on the basis of her gender.”
Further, she said they would continue supporting political coalitions and leaders who affirm women.
Ms Njeri Kabeberi, a human rights defender and member of the AWLN, also praised Mr Odinga for the “historic nomination”.
“For women, the presidency is closer than ever before and we thank Mr Odinga for giving us a chance and changing the trajectory of the country,” said Ms Kabereri.
Dr Riria urged other political party leaders to nominate women running mates in presidential and gubernatorial positions.
“The women of Kenya deserve much more and at the very least we demand total compliance with constitutional threshold of not more than two thirds of either gender for appointive, elective and nominative positions. Women leaders and their networks are monitoring these nominations with keen interest and will guide our voters accordingly,” she said.
She thanked women governor candidates in Kirinyaga, Kwale, Kitui, Homa Bay and Embu for consciously respecting the law and nominating the other gender as running mates. She encouraged all other candidates to embrace the same, asserting that gender parity is non-negotiable.
AWLN-K vice chairperson Josephine Sinyo said Ms Karua’s nomination had revived the hope for women with disabilities.
“We are excited about Ms Karua’s appointment because she is a woman of purpose and as women with disabilities, we are hopeful more than ever that if it could happen for her, it can happen for us too,” she said.
Ms Sinyo also called upon gubernatorial candidates to support women with disabilities to get their rights and their voices heard.
“Women with disabilities are more vulnerable than men with disabilities in terms of education, employment and other privileges,” she said. “It would be history in the making if there are women with disabilities who are appointed to various nominative positions.”
As the official campaign period draws near, Dr Riria reiterated that they would remain vigilant to ensure no Kenyan suffers losses and that the country transitions peacefully into new leadership.
Ms Kabeberi emphasised that every leader should play their role in promoting peaceful campaigns. She asked them to respect the Kenyan citizenry and insisted that those found culpable for violations be held accountable and punished in line with the law.