14 March 2013

Kenyans to Pay More to Keep Women in County Assemblies

Photo: The Star
AG, Githu Muigai (L), chair Gender and Equity Commission, Winfred Lichuma (C), CJ, Willy Mutunga (R) (file photo).

The National Gender and Equity Commission has warned Kenyans to brace themselves for tough economic times after they failed to elect enough women to the 47 county assemblies.

Commission chair Winfred Lichuma said none of the 47 counties reached the two thirds gender threshold.

"What it means is that we will have a third of women being nominated using the political party list. This will have to eat into the tax payers' pockets because we need to sustain the women who will be nominated into county assemblies," said Lichuma.

She was addressing a press conference in Mombasa on Tuesday evening. The third gender rule is a constitutional requirement.

In December last year, the court ruled that the rule would be applied progressively after Attorney General Githu Muigai sought an interpretation of whether the rule will be realised immediately.

Lichuma said the court's interpretation meant the rule would not apply only to the National Assembly and Senate but also the county assembly. "There will be no county assembly that will lack the third gender rule," she said.

No woman was elected either governor or senator in all the 47 counties although a few running mates were women. At the senate, 18 seats are reserved for the women at the nomination level.

"As an institution, we want to move very fast, have our training with governors to begin appreciating the power of mainstreaming gender," said Lichuma.

She said the 16 elected women MPs from the 290 constituencies and the 47 county women representatives and the six slots for women nominated to Parliament is a positive start.

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