26 July 2013

Kenya: 16 Women Sworn in to Garissa County Assembly

Sixteen women nominees were sworn in at the Garissa county assembly yesterday.

The 16 and two men representing the disabled persons, were sworn into office by the county assembly speaker Mohamed Abey Mohamed in a ceremony witnessed by residents.

The swearing in of the 18 brings the Garissa county assembly members to 48, comprising of 32 men and 16 women. Addressing the house after the ceremony, Governor Nathif Jama asked the new members to serve residents without favour or discrimination.

"From the onset, we have had a united house. We expect you to maintain the unity and work for the residents without discrimination by putting your personal interests aside," he said.

No woman clinched a seat in the Garissa county assembly in the March 4 polls. More women were nominated to fulfill the one-third gender rule provided for in the constitution.

Last month, the Commission on Revenue Allocation said about 600 women will have to be nominated to county assemblies and it would cost taxpayers an extra Sh570 million annually.

CRA made this announcement after it emerged that voters in more than half of the counties, women were not elected to the assemblies.

The Constitution demands that not more than two-thirds of the members of the county assembly can be of the same gender and special seats be created to meet the quota in the event that the condition is not met in an election.

"We warned Kenyans that failure to elect women to the county assemblies will have serious financial implications," CRA chairman Micah Cheserem said.

"This is the price we must pay for ignorance. It is a constitutional requirement which has to be fulfilled." The CRA said the gender requirement for county assemblies had to be met immediately unlike that of the National Assembly and Senate which the Supreme Court said will be achieved progressively by August 2015.

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