Thursday, August 16, 2007

50 special seats for women, bill rejected by Kenyan MPs

My blog talks on issue affecting Women, I support women in leadership but just like I said before on my post on this link: I do not support special seats for Women, I believe that in a democratic society these seats should be elective. I have said from time to time that we (women) are the majority in Kenya so why not elect more women in Civic and Parliamentary posts through a normal democratic process? We have the votes and we need no favours in special allocations.

One of the reasons I do not support 50 special seats for women and support our MPs for rejecting this bill (read more on this link and other Kenya news sources on this web) is that when this is done we will get unpopular leaders. The trend we have seen in Kenya is politicians favouring their relatives and friends in nominations. After elections we get MPs that we never knew and one wonders where they came from. This is a well calculated way of rigging. Even if the bill was passed, do not be surprised to see that the wifes of the sitting Mps getting their way into parliament. We will end up in a situation where Hon.X is the minister for Constitutional Affairs and Hon. Mrs.X is the minister for health. That will be a chaotic cabinet.

On the other hand, we have women who are popular and have done Kenyans proud, if this bill was to be passed, I would not mind them being given special seats. Otherwise Kenyans should elect these women who desire to go for parliamentary seats. No favours!

Below are some of the women that I cherish most who should be given an opportunity in leadership or granted the proposed allocations;

1. Prof. Wangare Mathai - Environmentalist (Nobel Prize winner)
2. MP Njoki Ndung’u (Introduced Sexual offence Bill 2006)
3. Esther Pasaris (Adopt Alight, brought light to dark Nairobi)
4. Priscilla Nangurai (For rescuing young girls from early marriage)
5. Julie Muranya (anti FGM crusader)
6. Health Minister Charity Ngilu (First woman in Kenya to vie for Presidency and improved health facilities, free maternity for women in public health centers).
7. Orie Rogo (NGO chairperson – to amuse and decorate parliament with her attire)
8. Julia Ojiambo (The only women amongst six ODM big wigs)
9. Mary Wambui (Known as Narc activist, her actions speak for themselves)
10. Wambui Otieno-Mbogua (She defied all odd and married a young man, why do we condemn her yet old men marry young girls)

On civic seats we should have the common wanainchi, like mama mbogas, salonists like Nyatanga of Kibera slums to take over from Opete Opete. (Check my archived July posts on these two women I talked about). These common women understand and can address the needs of the common wanainchi better. They are also popular in their own ways.

Lastly I have to point out one of the reasons for rejection of this bill in parliament, 90% of our MPs are men, this is why our women leaders were lobbying for special seats to have more representation in Parliament. This is very sad, but there should be no short cuts and favours!


Ssembonge said...

The defeat of this bogus bill is a victory for all Kenyans, women included.

kepn said...

You need to understand and appreciate the idea and spirit behind the affirmative action bill.

Women have not traditionally enjoyed the same opportunities like their male counterparts right from the time they are born. In order to progress towards universal gender parity in public offices, these special seats were to be created in parliament for women, but they would still remain elective. If you deal with problem of affirmative action, you also indirectly kill many birds with one stone, including HIV/Aids pandemic, extreme poverty and even environmental degradation.

Unfortunately, Hon. Karua hijacked an otherwise perfect bill for political reasons in order to smuggle another for increasing constituencies.

luke said...

I think some of the questions our culture still struggle with and grapple for answers may give a clue as to what happened in parliament yesterday; examples include
Is a woman's place only in the kitchen?
Are women and children to be seen only and not heard?
Can a man physically abuse his wife without guilt or fear of repercussion from the law because what he's doing is not seen as being wrong?
Are women property to be owned and swapped between men by men?

In my opinion this is why the 50 special seats for women bill failed-its because talk of that type and level of affirmative action in Kenya may be premature because the culture of our society hasn't yet changed to where women are viewed as not only being good for playing second fiddle to men but as being on an equal footing with men in all things e.g. ownership of property rights, protection from gender violence, etc

But the change has started, with bills like the sexual offences bill being passed that now has introduces punitive penalties for sexual offenders

so i encourage women to continue taking these steady steps up, and continue spearheading and pushing for the adoption of other bills into law that will first of all level the playing field before gunning for the "big fish"
however, i agree with you Sue-no shortcuts or favours!

Meet black singles said...

Women need to vote for other women so that this emancipation thing can end once and for all.