President Ruto: Gender rule is an idea whose time has come

William Ruto

President William Ruto.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto said he is committed to ensuring the constitutional principle that decrees that no gender should have more than two-thirds of elected and appointive positions.

“Through an amendment of the Constitution, this rule should be implemented,” he said during an event to mark International Women’s Day at Embu stadium yesterday.

He called on lawmakers to agree on the two-third rule for the benefit of all, especially women.

“Let us be united so that women can get their rightful positions in leadership,” he said, maintaining that the government is committed to ensuring the matter is addressed. Dr Ruto expressed confidence that the two-thirds rule would be passed in Parliament “so that women can feel that they are fully recognised and respected”.

A proposal by a team created by President Ruto and opposition Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga wants 55 extra women MPs to bridge the gap.

Dr Ruto said women have demonstrated that they can lead and they should continue being provided opportunities to lead. “ The seven elected governors are highly competent. Through their leadership, devolution is working very well,” he said. The President urged women not to shy away from elective positions.

“What a man can do, a woman can do even better. Let women believe in themselves. They will go far,” said Dr Ruto. Accompanied by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Dr Ruto said the Constitution provides that women be treated with dignity.

He said the government would empower women financially and remove hurdles that stop them from accessing funds.

“We want to eliminate collateral so that women do not find it difficult to get government funds. We shall also reduce interest on funding to six per cent. We will increase funds so that as many women as possible can benefit,” he said.

The President said the government recognises the need to change the prevailing situation where female participation in key economic sectors remains minimal, with a vast majority of those women who participate being consigned to low-income jobs.

He added that the government would facilitate the engagement and robust participation of women “in every dimension of our development agenda”.

The President expressed concerns over increasing cases of violence against women, saying the matter is being addressed.

“Our agenda commits to confronting violence against women more directly, including through increased personnel at police stations.

We are enhancing funds for the anti-female genital mutilation campaign as well as upholding the dignity of girls and women, especially in learning institutions by providing menstrual hygiene products free of charge,” he said.

On the controversial housing project, he said it should be embraced by all. He said the project is empowering Kenyans financially and is unstoppable.

“We are building 100,000 houses and this has created more than 150,000 jobs for young people,” he said.

Mr Gachagua declared war on illicit liquor, which he said is retarding development and ruining the young generation.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua addresses MCAs from five counties in the central region - Nyandarua, Kiambu, Murang'a, Kirinyaga, and Nyeri - at his Sagana residence in Nyeri County on April 21, 2023. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

“ We have ordered a crackdown on the alcohol and the closure of bars in villages. The alcohol must be eradicated,” he said. The DP said women are hardworking and should be helped financially to enable them take care of their families and participate in nation building.

He pledged to ensure that farmers reap maximum benefits from their produce. “The prices of coffee and tea are good while prices for macadamia are improving,” he said. Council of Governors Chairperson, Anne Waiguru, said women are taking up top leadership positions in counties.

“There are seven elected governors. The target in the next elections is 24,” the Kirinyaga governor said. Other governors at the meeting were Cecily Mbarire (Embu), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Kawira Mwangaza (Meru), Wavinya Ndeti (Machakos), Susan Kihika (Nakuru) and Kwale’s Fatuma Achani. Gender, Cabinet Secretary Aisha Jumwa, expressed concern over increasing cases of femicide.

She said her ministry is addressing the matter with the seriousness it deserves. Ms Mbarire said women suffer due to lack of water for domestic use.