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Women MPs Gang Up To Guarantee More Seats In 2017.

Jubilee women parliamentarians have come up with an initiative to see their re-election and increase their representation in political positions of leadership come 2017.

Under the ‘Women for Women’ Initiative, the legislators are gearing towards securing the re-election of the 12 seating women MPs under the Jubilee party as well as working towards adding this numbers to at least 25 women MPs in the 12th Parliament. They are also targeting to get at least five gubernatorial and ten senatorial positions.

Nairobi Women Representative Rachel Shebesh led a delegation of 10 women MPs in Ruiru Town Constituency in a series of tours where they are going round constituencies currently headed by women MPs to drum up support in a bid to ensure that they are re-elected.

Shebesh said that President Uhuru Kenyatta had challenged them to ensure that they attained more elective positions instead of having them wait to be nominated.    

“We have a duty to ensure that the 12 Jubilee seating women MPs get re-elected and then we look for women vying in other areas and drum up support for them. We have been to five constituencies already. We started with Kilome Constituency where we poached Hon. Regina Ndambuki from Wiper then went Kandara in solidarity with Hon. Alice Muthoni Wahome. We have been to Othaya, Baringo and now we are in Ruiru where to support our sister Esther Gathogo,” said Shebesh.

The women Rep. pointed out that Jubilee constituted the highest number of elected women MPs in the current National Assembly with 12 out of the total number of the 16 elected MPs.

She added that they had already identified the women to run for the gubernatorial positions, among them Joyce Laboso (Bomet County), Cecily Mbarire (Embu) and Ann Waiguru (Kirinyaga). She said that they will do all it takes to support them into power despite the challenges.

Host MP Esther Gathogo called on the women MP’s to preach peace in their campaigns since the women were the most affected whenever violence erupted. She added that women were passionate in helping society, saying that she personally had a passion for education.

“Politics come and go but we will remain here. Let us embrace each other by tolerating divergent political views. ,” said Gathogo.

As a woman, I would only advocate for a peaceful election. Through my passion for the young children, I am working hard to improve the education levels in the constituency. Within the past four years, I have managed to build over 60 classrooms and equipped them with desks. This has gone a long way in reducing the congestion in the various schools,” said Gathogo.

Those present included; Thika Town MP Alice Ng’ang’a, Alice Wahome (Kandara), Mary Wambui (Othaya), Cecily Mbarire (Runyenjes), Joyce Laboso (Sotik), Peris Tobiko (Kajiado) and nominated senator Beatrice Elachi.

In its 2010 constitution, the electorate voted to enshrine a principle that not more than two thirds of any elected or appointed body – notably Parliament – should be the same gender. Half a decade on, women make up less than 19% of the National Assembly and a mere 27% of the Senate; this target is far from realisation. The Kenya Women’s Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA), the caucus of female Parliamentarians, has been at the heart of the debate exploring various mechanisms for improving women’s participation in politics and securing workable quotas for representation.

Other than the negative traditional cultural attitudes towards women in politics, female MPs are seen as ineffective due to the fact that the majority of them currently hold their seats as a result of the current top-up system, where women hold ‘County Representative’ seats rather than being directly elected MPs. As they are wholly dependent on the political parties for their position, there is a natural reluctance to deviate from the party line – they tend to be cautious, lacking the empowerment provided by an electoral mandate to pursue non-partisan beliefs and agendas. Finance is also a challenge. Parties do not provide candidates with funding and women candidates struggle to attract financial support.

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