Kenya: Kandara Residents Want All-Female Security Team Revised

Pressure groups in Kandara Sub-county in Murang'a County want the government to review the composition of their security committee, saying it does not reflect gender parity.

A letter addressed to the County Commissioner signed by three groups - Kandara Young Professionals, Gaichanjiru Avocado Youths and Kandara Rising Democrats, said their MP, Deputy County Commissioner, Police boss and Senior Assistant Commissioner are all female.

"While we do not want to appear as though we are sexists, this is an issue of principles of the Constitution where it is very specific in article 27 (8) of the Bill of rights that "... not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender."

While the groups acknowledge that merit can outshine gender parity, they said: "We are not also blind to the fact that insecurity is more masculine than feminine and a security committee that takes into cognisance the importance of pairing masculine and feminine human resource in tackling criminals, is the best way forward."

Residents have raised concerns over the marauding gangs that have taken over parts of Kandara, patrolling with machetes.

The latest insecurity incident is the murder of Murang'a County Cooperatives CEO Bernard Wanyoike's nephew.

Samuel Irungu 28, was on April 12 hacked to death by a six-member gang that flushed him out of his house at 2am.

Appear discriminative

"We do not want it to appear as if we are fighting women officers in our county... but again we do not want to appear discriminative by way of remaining silent when our security committee is a near all-women affair... Let us have a gender-balanced composition and we as subjects of governance will feel safe... there are serious concerns that women alone cannot deal with serious criminals in an effective way," the letter reads.

Murang'a County Commissioner Mr Mohammed Barre in response, said he took great exemption on the part of the letter that reads; "area residents say their security may be is such in tatters since all of their senior governance leaders are women."

He said: "You yourself do you believe it is a problem?"

Central Regional Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga said: "Our subjects must be listened to and their concerns well evaluated. By being dismissive to some of their concerns without first analysing their import, we can miss the bigger picture. We will certainly look into this Kandara issue."

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