It takes more than policies for women to get top positions

Thursday October 01 2020
Two-thirds pic

Women march along Nairobi streets on September 23, 2020, in support of Chief Justice Maraga's advisory to President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament for failing to enact the two-thirds gender rule. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG


Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga has thrown a spanner in the works by advising President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament for failure to enact laws to achieve the two-thirds gender rule.

In a letter to President Kenyatta, Mr Maraga described the failure by Parliament to enact the law providing that no elected and appointed position should have more than two-thirds representation from one gender, as a form of impunity that could only be cured by sending the MPs home.

Will President Kenyatta heed to his advice, basing it on the constitution or completely ignore it and shove the rule, as it has been ignored during his entire term?

The responsibility that comes with building a democracy heavily relies on how we uphold the rule of law. But with anything good, comes hard work and sweat. It is fascinating to watch learned friends interpret this predicament differently, and some senior counsel cautioning that the CJ is taking the law too literally.

Flipping through television channels early one morning, watching how analysts and news presenters were capturing the Maraga’s advisory, one channel had gone to receive live feedback from the public in Nyeri County, randomly asking people of their opinion on the matter.

One thing I noted, out of the four interviews that I watched, in a brief 20 minutes, all of them were from men, basically saying that this two-thirds thing just needs to be thrown out the window.


Women just need to get out there and campaign like everyone else, why should women leaders be forced down our throats?

It is a waste of resources; we have enough representatives to begin with and what is the value add anyway.

I wonder if women are hard to find standing idly in some of these ad-hoc interviews, or do they simply shy away from giving opinion, or even worse, not even considered for opinion.

Using the excuse that people should have the choice to elect their leaders, is a lazy and ignorant way for us to face gender inequality in this country. It definitely exists, and there is no way that it will just fix itself and go away.

In countries where there has been an increase of women in leadership, it comes from the support from the president himself.

There has to be goodwill, but not just that, there has to be some form of affirmative action through policy. If it was not for policy that forced black children to go to public schools that were segregated in the US, there would still be systems that forced African Americans to be visibly treated as second class citizens

The public won’t suddenly wake up and decide to support something they have been socially and culturally conditioned not to support.

Nerima Wako-Ojiwa, executive director at Siasa Place @NerimaW