Affirmative Action Bill 2007: Kenya’s GNU in Yet Another Cock-up

Posted on 16 August 2007. Filed under: Affirmative Action |

With less than four months to the elections, women of Kenya are today waking up to the sad fact that the proposed creation of 50 special seats for women in Kenya’s parliament was just but a dream.

This disappointing news comes after the women had launched a strong petition to collect one million signatures to support their desire to see parliament pass what is called the Affirmative Action Bill of 2007. Indeed, the women had organised public rallies, road shows and many other initiatives to support their cause including a public demonstration outside parliament yesterday.

The problem stem from the fact that not enough consultations were done by the Government of National Unity (GNU), especially with members of opposition, prior to introducing the bill in the national assembly. The GNU further complicated matters by attempting to sugar coat the creation of 40 new additional constituencies by merging it with the bill for creating 50 special feminine special seats in parliament. The sad thing here is that creation of 50 special feminine seats does not need two thirds majority to be passed in parliament, yet the GNU insiders saw it fit to merge it with another bill that requires two thirds majority (because it is a constitutional amendment). This seems to have failed miserably and consequently is turning out to be one of the biggest blunder and a blow to wooing much needed women’s votes to President Kibaki’s re-election strategy. Any Bill requiring a two-thirds majority to pass through Parliament cannot be re-introduced in the House until six months have elapsed and the country will have a new government by then, and therefore it is not a guarantee that women will get their 50 special seats in parliament soon.

Women make up to 52 per cent of the population but are underrepresented in parliament. Of the 222 MPs in Parliament, only 18 are women – 10 were elected and eight nominated. The story in local authorities is the same. Women hold an insignificant 377 out of 2,837 civic seats. In Kenya, more often than not, affirmative action with regard to gender has been mostly centered on the promotion of education and representation in public life for women. There is also the realization that women should be evaluated on the basis that they did not get similar opportunities in comparison to their male counterparts earlier in life.

The latest developments in Kenya’s parliament means that women will now have to first square off with men in the forthcoming general elections and after that wait for the next government to re-introduce the bill to the national assembly for debate. That is not to say that the next government will act speedily and favourably in ensuring this bill is re-introduced and enacted, but it is certainly severe setback to Kenya’s progress towards Millennium Development Goal No. 3 that aims to Promote gender equality and empower women by the year 2015.

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8 Responses to “Affirmative Action Bill 2007: Kenya’s GNU in Yet Another Cock-up”

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Hon Raila Amolo Odinga, the Mp for Kibera, nay, Langata, is considered a Kingmaker in Kenyan politics. According to the late Hon Michael Kijana Wamalwa, he inspires both Railamania and Railaphobia while the latest biography aptly describes him as an enigma in Kenyan politics. In Luo Nyanza Raila has cultivated a cult of personality that is the envy of many a politician. This cult has spawned myths that elevates Raila almost to the level of luo legends like Gor Mahia and Lwanda Magere. Infact, Hon Raila Amolo Odinga, the Mp for Kibera, nay, Langata, is considered a Kingmaker in Kenyan politics. According to the late Hon Michael Kijana Wamalwa, he inspires both Railamania and Railaphobia while the latest biography aptly describes him as an enigma in Kenyan politics. In Luo Nyanza Raila has cultivated a cult of personality that is the envy of many a politician. This cult has spawned myths that elevates Raila almost to the level of luo legends like Gor Mahia and Lwanda Magere. Infact, professors of Political Science bow in awe and sing praises to Agwambo, owad gi Akinyi

Raila straddles the Kenyan political landscape like the proverbial colossus. Whenever, he is out of the country, his absence speaks even louder. He has the knack of setting the political agenda by just calling a prss conference; and even if you are dyed-in-the-wool critique of this guy, you must appreciate one fact: he is a force that cannot be wished away.

Despite all this accolades as a politician, Raila fails miserable as a leader. This is manifested by the increasing socio-economic misery that he has brought to members of the luo community. No wonder, the word luo Nyanza evokes negative feelings of poverty disease and immaturity. This is not to say that Raila is wholly responsible for the woes facing the luo community, members of this community are equally culpable.

To begin with, Raila enjoys unbridled power as leaders of the luo community- forget the fact that he is a Nairobi MP. This has come about due to the fact that the luos suffered immensely under Kenyatta and Moi to the point where they were desperate for leaders who will fearless fight for them. The late Jaramogi Odinga, one of the most principled and honest politicians this country has ever had – took up this mantle but fate was not kind to him. His son ascended to this throne with the promise to deliver the luo from socio-political wilderness. Unbeknown to the luo community, he subtly changed course and is now leading them deeper and deeper into the hot desert while he is covered with a human umbrella and has fresh water at his disposal. He has even taken all the manna that dropped from heaven so that his people can remain hungry and beg from him.

Many sons and daughters of the luo community have died in this circus of the so called political and economic liberation while his closest relatives live in luxury. When its is appropriate, Raila sheds crocodile tears knowing well aware that these suffering and death only serves to reinforce the persecution complex within the community that ensures his political survival.

It is instructive to note that the sugar and fish sector remain the mainstay of luo economy. However, no single day not one I know of has Raila ever employed his mobilization skill and rhetoric to fight for the farmers and the fisherfolk. For along time, before Kibaki came to power, sugar framer went for years without being paid for their produce. Meanwhile, tones of sugar were being imported into the country compounding further the woes further. All this time, Agwambo never raised a finger or was he part of the cartel that was importing sugar. In the fish sector, it is ironical that people in Nyanza are contended with fish skeletons popularly known as mgongowazi due to high levels of poverty while hoping against hope that all will be well when Raila becomes president Never!

Some will argue that Raila is the MP for Kibera and is not responsible for the woes affecting the people of Nyanza. Nothing could be further from the truth. Raila is covertly and overtly at the centre of all the major political events taking place in the region including who becomes MP, if in doubt, just ask Raphael Tuju, the MP for Rarieda. However, this is not to say that Tuju should provide the much needed alternative centre of power, given that he cannot be come an MP if left to his own devices.

One would ask: what do you want Raila to do? Before I answer the question, I would say that Raila has remained the undisputed (mis)leader of the luo community for very long time. If he was wise and had the interest of the luo people, he would use this privileged position to help his people economically and not to pursue his own selfish political interests at the expense of his community. He should do this by using his influence among the luo as a political bargaining chip to force the government acquiesce to the urgent needs of his people in whatever way possible in return for political support. Politics for its own sake will not help the luo people.

At this point, I want to challenge Raila to tell the public any substantial contribution in terms of economic development that he has made to his community.

In conclusion, its time for the luo to take a hard look at themselves in the social-economic mirror and see the bruises and wounds in their faces caused by a leader whom they worship more than Nyasaye

Dear, writter’ a lot more had been done but just has you know quite well that walls of Jericho was not build in a day. But let give this gentleman time so that we can judge him subject to that but he is not a luo nyasaye as you proclaimed

Your pictures are great. notem6715

its a sad ocassion that a goat should expect justice in a court of law in which the judge is a leopard.the creators of this millenium goals are themen who cannot full budge on affirmative action….more men need to be senstized so that the challenges are easily confronted to the last tip of the root.

“Affirmative action as a solution to gender inequality is inherently immoral.” Please do enlighten me more on this.

toyota hiace lh172;
4 DOOR, NOT JUST LOW, YEAR 2003 OR 2004,

women should not feel oppressed by anybody instead, they should blame themselves for their problems. A population of 52% of the total population should be able to end their problems but they have chosen not to and we must understand that affirmative action is not the remedy.

Hi there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog.
Is it very difficult to set up your own blog?

I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about making my
own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any points or suggestions? With thanks


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    A blog created to cover environmental and political information in Kenya with a view to promoting POVERTY ALLEVIATION through creating awareness of the Millennium Development Goals

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