Women to push for increased numbers in the National Assembly

Deputy speaker Joyce Laboso at parliament buildings. Photo/JENNIFER MUIRURI

What you need to know:

  • Ms Milly Odhiambo became the secretary while Ms Mary Emaase Otucho was elected treasurer.
  • Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso said that despite their small number in Parliament, the government should “spotlight us to make sure the 16 positions are effective”.

16 elected female members of the National Assembly have vowed to fight for more women parliamentarians in the country.

Wednesday, they launched a lobby group through which they will push their agenda.

The function took place at Leisure Lodge Beach Resort in Diani, South Coast, where the National Assembly members have been attending an induction workshop.

The leaders said it was worrying that many women lost in the March 4 General Election.

The legislators also vowed to launch a countrywide campaign to stop propaganda that women were their own enemies when it comes to elective positions.

In the 10th Parliament, there were 18 elected women MPs.

“There is need not only to retain the number of women in the National Assembly but to increase the numbers which are worryingly too few,” said Ms Alice Muthoni Wahome, the Kandara MP, who is chair of the lobby.

Ms Milly Odhiambo became the secretary while Ms Mary Emaase Otucho was elected treasurer.

“We need also to mentor young women into politics as the number of elected women is too small compared even to our neighbours Uganda and Tanzania,” said Ms Odhiambo.

The women will also fight to have more resources sent to constituencies from the national government to help their lot economically, they said.

“The government policy planning and budgeting must factor women issues in resource allocation to the grassroots,” she said.

Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso said that despite their small number in Parliament, the government should “spotlight us to make sure the 16 positions are effective”.

Saying that the affirmative action that stipulates a two-thirds gender representation in every elective position had not been implemented, the women MPs doubted its effectiveness.

The 10th Parliament failed to pass laws to effect the two-thirds gender rule that would have been implemented in the 11th House. A court ruled that the principle should be achieved over time and not at once.

“As women we face unique and totally different challenges such as violence and malicious propaganda. Those in mixed marriages face even more hostile environment politically,” said Ms Laboso.

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