Women Deserve Better, FIDA Tells President Kenyatta

FIDA Kenya Chairperson, Josephine Mong'are
FIDA Kenya Chairperson, Josephine Mong'are

The Kenyan chapter of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of treating women as ‘second class citizens’ after he failed to name any of them in his first batch of nine members of the Cabinet.

Fida said that in retaining only six men in his Cabinet, and naming three more as new entrants, he had failed to acknowledge the contribution women had made to the nation in the Cabinet.

“We are really upset,” Josephine Mong’are of FIDA-Kenya said on Sunday.

“The President is treating women of Kenya as if they are second class citizens. Even if they will be in another list, it is the second list.”

Women who were in President Kenyatta’s Cabinet were Amina Mohammed (Foreign Affairs and Trade), Raychelle Omamo (Defence), Phyllis Kandie (East African Community, Labour and Social Protection), Sicily Kariuki (Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs), and Judi Wakhungu (Environment).

NAMING CABINET

In naming his Cabinet on Friday, President Kenyatta only retained Dr Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Charles Keter (Energy), James Macharia (Transport), Joe Mucheru (Information, Communication and technology), Henry Rotich (National Treasury) and Najib Balala (Tourism).

Those President Kenyatta added to his list are former Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko, former Marsabit Governor Ukur Yatani, and former Turkana Senator John Munyes to complete the first batch of nine CSs — all men.

Like the eight men who are said not to have been expressly retained, the five women have been put in abeyance, unsure of their fate.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

“Appointments should comply with the not-more-than-two-thirds gender principle at all levels. Affirmative action should be used where fair competition and merit fails to bring this desired result,” Dr Florence Wachira, the National Gender Equality Commission member, said in an advisory opinion.

Ms Mong’are said that while they could not question the move by President Kenyatta not to have any woman in the list of six ministers he retained, he should have named some in the list of new entrants.

“As he appointed Tobiko, Yatani and Munyes, he should have named at least a woman too,” she said.

“But he has 22 slots to fill, with nine already filled. We hope he gives the 13 remaining to women.”

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