Nairobi — The Kenya Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) on Wednesday claimed that there was a plot by Parliament to delete gender provisions from the National Police Service Act to lock out women from the top three appointments of the Police Service.
FIDA chairperson Ruth Odhiambo argued that MPs were planning to sneak in the changes in order to ensure that David Kimaiyo, Ndegwa Muhoro and Samuel Arachi got appointed as Inspector General, Deputy Inspector General in charge of Police and Deputy Inspector General in charge of Administration Police, respectively, without having to abide by the one-third gender rule.
She, however, noted that the three names will not go through without breaching the Constitution unless an amendment on gender parity is made.
"They want to remove Section 14 (b) of the Act which will undermine Articles 27 (4), (6) and (8) of the Constitution. And we are also alive to the fact that any amendment that is sought must embrace public participation," she said.
"What they want to do is to slip in that amendment to camouflage the new appointments that are about to be announced by Parliament," she alleged.
FIDA further urged President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to reject the appointments owing to the fact that they did not honour gender balance as enshrined in the Constitution.
The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution has also objected to the proposed appointees citing gender inequality.
All constitutional appointments must meet the gender threshold ensuring that those in office are not more than two-thirds of the same sex.
"They swore to uphold the Constitution and they must walk the talk. We want our president to leave a good legacy in terms of gender balance the way he has left one in the infrastructure sector," she argued.
FIDA's Executive Director Grace Maingi also accused the government of periodically waiting for the last minute to make the necessary laws and appointments required to push the country's reforms.
She particularly cited police reforms saying the rush to beat deadlines put them at risk because it did not leave enough time to carefully scrutinise issues raised against nominees.
"One thing we need to realise about police reforms and security sector reforms in general is that they have been purposely slowed by both the Executive and Parliament. Therefore this last minute rush should not be used to camouflage direct subversion of the Constitution," argued Maingi.
The women's lobby wants Grace Kaindi to be among those picked for one of the three top positions.
"The issues brought up against Kaindi are not as heavy as those of her male counterparts and they were just doing this to deny her the position"
Kaindi's name was among those forwarded to the president for consideration for the position of Inspector General after scoring 69.40 percent against Kimaiyo's 86.48.
Although integrity concerns were raised against her during the interview, the same concerns were raised against Kimaiyo, Muhoro and Arachi.
"The issues brought up against Kaindi are not as heavy as those of her male counterparts and they were just doing this to deny her the position," alleged Odhiambo.
The lawyers also announced that they would go to court to block the three appointments until the principle of gender balance was met.
"We are going to go to court immediately; we will not sit back and watch the parliamentarians mutilate the constitution. We have only delegated the power for them to represent us on issues that affect us and which are of benefit to us," said Odhiambo.