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Raila Odinga promises to address two-thirds gender rule

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga on Monday reached out to women, promising that the National Super Alliance (Nasa) will rally Kenyans to address gaps in the Constitution that have frustrated those among them seeking elective positions.

Addressing ODM women aspirants at the Multimedia University, Nairobi, Mr Odinga said women and other vulnerable groups have been unable to fairly compete with their male counterparts as the Constitution envisaged due to failure by President Uhuru Kenyatta to uphold the two-thirds gender rule.

He said Nasa would revive debate on provisions that safeguard the interests of women in the original draft constitution, commonly referred to as the “Bomas draft”, which was updated to the current Constitution.

“After we win the election in August, we will revisit that provision on two-thirds gender rule,” said Mr Odinga. “The issue of Jubilee saying there are more women than men and they can vote for one of their own is foolhardy.”

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Mr Odinga said there were many factors that had left women seeking leadership positions a disadvantaged lot and they had little to do with their numbers as they include historical, cultural and ethnic biases.

He said Kenya can borrow success lessons from countries such as South Africa, Rwanda, Germany, Norway, and Sweden, which have women occupying senior positions without being viewed as lesser beings.

“Women are at the centre of our agenda for inclusion as opposed to exclusion,” Mr Odinga said. “Society can’t grow if more than 50 per cent of its population are neglected.”

Citing the NYS scandal, he accused the Jubilee administration of focusing on cutting deals to an extent of giving tenders meant for disadvantaged Kenyans to wealthy people. He lamented that, of all governor, senator, MP and MCA candidates in 2013, women made up only six per cent, or 775 out of 12,488.

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