Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga has stated that if the National Super Alliance (NASA) forms the next government, they will ensure the two-thirds gender rule is effected.
Speaking at a meeting for ODM women leaders and aspirants at the Multimedia University yesterday, Raila said Kenya had come of age and that it was high time political parties embraced the culture of tolerance towards women and encouraged them to go for elective positions to achieve the two-thirds gender requirement in leadership.
“As ODM, we will continue supporting women. I therefore encourage you (women) to go for elective posts and win as many seats as possible in the August 8 General Election,” he added.
The former premier advised women not just to fight for the seats reserved for women but also go for constituency and county positions to be at par with their male counterparts.
“We in ODM consider women a special interest group and that is why we lowered the nomination fees for them to – enable them to apply to vie for as many seats as possible,” said the NASA co-principal, adding “we shall continue to encourage you (women) and empower you in ourparty”.
Raila however regretted that despite being an integral part of the country’s development, women continued to be sidelined and to play a minimal role in the country’s leadership.
Women currently represent only about 20 per cent of Parliament and 33 per cent of county assemblies. Out of 1,450 seats in the county assemblies, only 80 women were elected. The rest were nominated.
The Opposition chief also continued with his attack on the Jubilee administration, accusing it of presiding over high-level corruption at the expense of service delivery to the nation.
He cited the Eurobond, National Youth Service and Ministry of Health scandals as major scams that had led to the deterioration of the country’s economy.
“Yesterday (Sunday), I spoke about the scandal involving the expansion of the port of Mombasa, where billions of shillings cannot be accounted for. Our country now plays in the super league of the most corrupt countries in the world according to Transparency International. We can’t continue like this,” he said.
ODM acting Secretary General Agnes Zani (nominated senator) reminded women that it was their determination that would see them elected to various positions on August 8.
She said the era of women sitting back and waiting to vote for men was long gone and encouraged them to go out and seek votes.
“When a woman goes for an elective seat, she doesn’t do it for herself alone, she does it for the whole society,” said Ms Zani.
She told ODM women aspirants that they would be protected by the party and that no one would be allowed to stand in the way of their success.
“I can assure you that the National Elections Board will be very strict on anyone who causes violence with the aim of scaring you away,” she said, adding that “such people shall be punished in accordance with our party constitution”.
The more than 1,500 women at the event declared their support for Raila, saying he was the most preferred NASA flag bearer candidate.
“As the women of the party, we have unanimously resolved to support our party leader for the top seat and urge the NASA team to appoint him as the torch-bearer in the August 8 General Election” said Beth Syeng’o, head of ODM Women’s League.
Those who spoke included National Elections Board chairperson Judith Pareno, Homa Bay County party chairperson Gladys Wanga, national vice chairperson and Christine Lemein.