Women gain big in Kenya parliament

Wednesday September 6 2017

Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo at Okoa Kenya secretariat offices in Nairobi on February 22, 2017 during the signing of National Super Alliance coalition agreement. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo at Okoa Kenya secretariat offices in Nairobi on February 22, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ERICK ODUOR
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Women are the biggest winners in representation of special interest groups in the Kenyan parliament, even as political parties face criticism for rewarding seasoned politicians who have capacity to compete in elections.

According to the Constitution, political parties are required to distribute 12 seats reserved for nominated members of National Assembly to ensure the marginalised, the youth, workers and persons with disabilities are represented in Parliament.

The Constitution further requires political parties to nominate 16 women, two youth and two persons with disability to Senate to address affirmative action.

However, the seats that are distributed to political parties based on their performance in the elections have secured free tickets for seasoned politicians.

But Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo argued that women are politically disadvantaged in Kenya and any nomination to parliament should not raise eyebrows.

“Women fall under special interest groups as far as our politics is concerned. The only issue would be why some have been nominated twice, but this happens if political parties consider the roles some of these leaders can play in parliament,” Ms Odhiambo told The EastAfrican.

Beth Mugo, Cecily Mbarire and Maina Kamanda, who have served for at least four terms in parliament, were nominated by Jubilee Party to represent disadvantaged groups. Also nominated to parliament is Mary Seneta, who served in last parliament as Woman Representative for Kajiado County.

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) on the other hand rewarded former Permanent Secretary Prof Jackline Oduol and former Kisumu Woman representative Rose Nyamunga to represent disadvantaged groups in parliament.