NDUBI: Why we don’t need Women Rep position and their pricey guzzlers

Chevrolet Traiblazer
Chevrolet Traiblazer

Over the past decade, there has been much talk about women empowerment and how the government needs to ensure they are well represented in the government.

The discussion started before Kenya realized a new constitution in the year 2010, something that led to the creation of the women representatives posts for each of the 47 counties.

Since their election in March 2013, their role in government has neither been defined nor felt by the electorate, causing confusion on what exactly they are supposed to deliver to their constituents.

Further confusion comes in when you have to describe them; are they Women MPs, County MPs, or just MPs?

Even with that in mind, our honourable pioneer Women Representatives have failed to legitimize this attempt to achieve equitable gender representation by turning to typical Kenyan politicians.

The only near-commendable attempt by the ‘unique’ women legislators to claim relevance was when they successfully pushed for the Affirmative Action Social Development Fund (AASDF).

Under AASDF, the county women legislators sought to control seven million shillings from each constituency in their respective counties to help them address gender issues and other projects under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Before the MPs could identify projects they could initiate or even pull a successful gender awareness campaign, Treasury reportedly entered into a secret deal with the 47 women reps to purchase for them four-wheel drive vehicles at a cost of Ksh470 million, each vehicle costing Ksh10 million.

Remember the kitty, which is supposed to be a national fund, was allocated Ksh2.1 billion in the current financial year, but the very first priority of the ‘saviours of gender inequality’ in Kenya was to spend nearly 25 percent of the fund on Chevrolet Trail Blazers.

This is despite the fact that they already have 4X4 vehicles acquired though the Parliamentary grant.

Now AASDF, which might have given them a chance at redemption has been suspended with some quarters positing that the ruling that invalidated CDF also invalidated the fund.

However, that may change now that President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law the new National Government Constituencies Development Fund Act 2015, effectively reinstating CDF.

Without being insensitive to the challenges they have faced in trying to figure it out for themselves, their mandate in a system that wasn’t ready for them-it is in the best interests of all (even the MPs) if they are relieved of this role that has led to much more wastefulness.

The current unfortunate development, coupled up with the obvious fact that the National Assembly is bloated-makes the case for scrapping these seats together with those nominated MCAs.

In barely half the term they have served, the women representatives have proven that this approach to achieving equitable gender representation is flawed and needs to be rethought.

Legislators are supposed to represent the people, oversee the national government and its organs and to legislate. Amazingly, three years down the line, just a handful of these women reps have managed to make their maiden speeches in Parliament!

How they are supposed to address the marginalization and neglect of women and girls by the patriarchal society with that record is still unknown.

Important also, is that as this is being reworked, forty seven Chevy-craving MPs should not be allowed to continue earning from our sweat in the name of the two-thirds gender rule with zero return on investment for Kenyans.

They have failed in ensuring legislation and formulation of policies that favour women, and now, if the Chevrolet Trail Blazer scam is anything to go by then what Kenyans have only achieved is to increase wolves in the August house.

Definitely, the next cohort will be no better.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and they do not represent the views of Citizen Digital or those of Royal Media Services as a whole.

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Story By Eric Ndubi
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