Women voices, key to Kenya’s governance reform agenda: Women leaders’ fora

By Nandwa Hope                                                                                         

20th November 2019


Women should be seen as a voice of reason rather than those agitating for the fall of fellow women leaders. This was the resounding message pervading the Women Agenda Conference that was held at Safari Park Hotel on 19th November 2019.

The conference, themed State of the Nation and women’s voice on Kenya’s Governance Reform Agenda,  brought together over 200 women leaders in politics, civil society, government, professional associations, private sector, social movements, academia and faith based organizations across the country. The   objective of the forum was to deliberate and take stock of and position on the ongoing governance reform proposals as well as propose concrete strategies for stabilizing the country’s political setting.

Registrar of Political Parties Ms.Ann Nderitu was among key women leaders and lead speakers during a conference she applauded women participation in Political Parties which attributed to improvements from the previous years.

Women fora 1

From left-right, Hon Martha Wangari, MP Gilgil, Ms. Ann Nderitu Registrar of Political Parties, Sen. Abshiro Halakhe and

Hon Rozaah Dwasi Buyu Kisumu County Women Representative during the State of the Nation &Women’s Voice Governance Forum.

 “Out of the one thousand and fifty eight (1,058) leaders we have as National Executive Councils of political parties, three hundred and four (304) are women, accounting for   32%  women leadership in top level organ of political parties  in the country”, she noted.

She further added that out of the sixty eight (68)  fully registered political parties, five (5) women are currently their respective political party leaders- six(6) being Chairpersons, twelve (12) are Secretary Generals while  twenty nine(29)  are Treasurers.

Ms. Nderitu further noting “The challenge of inclusion of youth and women in political leadership is a social and attitude problem hence to solve it there should be effective programs aimed at behavior change within the society”, she added.

On electoral reforms, the Registrar noted key among the issues that affect women participation in political parties pertains candidature of women.

 “In an effort to ensure that party primaries are held in a democratic and systemic manner, ORPP has been steering  a multi-agency taskforce on party primaries, with the mandate to review the framework for political parties primaries to ensure promotion of free and fair nomination of candidates”, she further informed.

Registrar at women delegation

Registrar of Political Parties, Ms Ann Nderitu,

making her presentation at the women fora

Finance and elections was also noted as among factors that influence the participation of women candidates with the clearance fees of the candidates vying termed to be high. She urged political parties to consider introducing incentives such as waivers   on nomination fees for women and provide financial support especially to from women disadvantaged socio-economic conditions as part of the affirmative action.

Ms. Nderitu noted the need to develop well-structured forum for Women Aspirants through political parties. This shall mobilize and popularize the women candidates who do not make it through in the past elections through such support programs that need to extend to the grass roots.

She advised on the need to have a balanced media coverage on women leaders and aspirants for a level-playing field popularization with male counterparts. 

Dennitah Ghati, nominated by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to represent People with Disabilities (PWDs) interests in the National Assembly urged fellow women to always remember their fellow women with disabilities for they have been sidelined.

“Political Parties have let down women with disabilities. Most of us fall at the primaries. It is important to have all political parties have representation of the  disabled as they as they are best suited to understand the challenges and interests of PWDs,” she urged.

She however, lauded the Uasin Gishu County for having good representation of the people with disabilities.

Capacity building was reiterated for the participants at both at National and grass root levels as well as uproot patriarchy from the women’s mindsets. Adoption and push for common and clear agenda was also singled out one of the workable way to achieve the aspiration of women.

 “It is important to set our own agenda as if we do not have an agenda, we will be given empty promises’, Roselyn Odede added with Martha Karua, the NARC Kenya party leader underscoring “We have invested and empowered our girls and women so as not to play second fiddle to anyone. As women, let us go for top positions”.

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