Women leaders propose fresh rules in gender representation bid
An expanded presidency consisting of a head of state, prime minister and two deputies with at least two of the positions being reserved for women are some of the draft proposals by women leaders to the Building Bridges Initiative.
The women leaders under a new movement, Embrace Women Building Bridges Kenya, say the positions should be considered if the country goes to a referendum to change the Constitution.
In their proposals, the leaders also want a presidential candidate with the second greatest number of votes in the General Election or runoff and running mate to become members of the Senate and National Assembly respectively.
To achieve this, they called for the amendment of Chapter Seven and Eight of the Constitution.
In the five point agenda dubbed "Women’s voices to the Building Bridges Initiative", the leaders want sharing of Cabinet slots on a 50-50 basis.
The women want the two-thirds principle to be applied in other presidential appointments such as principal secretaries, high commissioners, diplomatic and consular representatives.
They also want a cross-cutting principle on gender rule where in all arms of the government, if the chairperson is a man he must be deputised by a woman like in the Judiciary.
Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga said that in the 11th Parliament, the deputy speaker was Joyce Laboso, but when she went to vie for the governor's seat in Bomet in the 2017 General Election, she was replaced by a man.
The opposite gender rule, the leaders said, should be extended to the Council of Governors, Parliament and parliamentary committees.
In the fight against graft, they proposed that the Constitution should be amended to make corruption related offences and economic crimes non-bailable.
They also proposed that there should be no bail for terrorism suspects and those accused of child sexual abuse.
In their proposals, the women also want public officers implicated in corruption to be given what they termed a “cooling off period” of 10 years before they can be allowed to hold any public office again.
Meanwhile, Mandera Governor Ali Roba has warned against the clamour for a referendum to create positions, saying the challenges resulting from the electoral process are artificial and can be fixed.
In his proposals to the BBI team that pitched tent in Mandera yesterday, he said that if the referendum has to happen, it should be approached soberly.