The women organizations of Kenya are demanding the Government to conduct an audit on the staffing in all public offices to determine the need for redress the affirmative action.
Addressing a press conference at Nairobi led by Dr Penninah Ogada of the University of Nairobi, department of political science they challenged the Government to issue a directive to all appointing authorities to comply with the constitutional requirement that at least a third of all offices should be of either gender.
“The women demand that the Government ensure that the a third principle is applied vertically and horizontally in all public institutions,” they said.
They said Kenyan women are celebrating the historical appointment of Nancy Baraza as the Deputy Chief Justice as the first female matching forward to hold such senior position in the judiciary. “This demonstrates respect for the implementation of affirmative action in the new Constitution. This is a positive sign of principles of equality permitting the State and defining the very ethos on which equality is premised by guaranteeing women to occupy at least a third of the positions in any office of the republic of Kenya,” she said.
Additionally, the women organizations said they are concerned that there is no policy on how the affirmative action principle will be implemented to ensure that all exciting positions in the Offices of the republic meet the a third principle.
Ogada said a right is a right so long as it is claimed. She said women should no longer call politics a dirty game anymore – it should be seen a process for leadership. She challenged fellow women to come on board and make the desired change.
Lydia Gachoya, chairperson, National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK) said many women organization are carrying out civic education sponsored by civil societies to sensitize women on how to embrace their new dawn as enshrined in the constitution. However, she said civic education for women is a role of the Government for its people.
Gachoya said they want to see women involved in every sector in Kenya. She said the gender commission is developing a data base of women who are holding various position in the country. “Every woman should come out and figure out how where she can fit and fight for that position.”
Alice Kirambi, national secretary, Maendeleo ya Wanawake urged women who are professionals to go for the various positions they can qualify as they have been created by the Constitution. Kirambi said these positions will not come out seeking for women to fill them rather women need to stand up and apply or contest. She said the spirit of the Constitution should be upheld as it gives them beginning to deliberate on national issues and be agents of change.
Judith Sijeny, advocate of high court said Kenya has qualified women to take leadership mantle in various offices. Sijeny pointed out that there is lack of consistency in the affirmative action measures opening opportunities for subjective decision making taken by the Government to implement the a third principle. She said the Government need to demonstrate commitment by giving priority to the development of an affirmative action policy.
On why women are appointed to deputize men the organization said women have been socialized to believe that they are second to men. But, they said the Constitution is a wake up call for women to raise to the occasion for them to be geared to fight for their rightful positions in the society.
While, on political party bill they said they have given their rightful input it's their believe that their input will be factored in in the final draft.
They called upon the President, the Prime minister, the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Attorney General, the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution and other relevant commissions to adopt proactive measures to ensure the implementation of the a third principle as well as that all legislation and policies are in conformity with the principle of affirmative action as enshrined in the constitution.