FIDA demands 7 women slots in Uhuru’s Cabinet

FIDA demands 7 women slots in Uhuru's Cabinet
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto unveiling part of their first-term Cabinet in 2013 at State House Nairobi.

The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to appoint at least seven women in the new cabinet expected to be unveiled soon.

In an open letter addressed to the Head of State, the organization further indicated that it is ready to furnish him with a list of competent and qualified women who fit  the profile of a Cabinet Secretary in any of the available 22 positions.

“Mr President, FIDA Kenya urges you to prioritize women concerns. Once again the women of this great nation, remind you of your personal commitment to uphold the Constitution of Kenya, the provisions of the Jubilee manifesto and the good will of your government,” read part of the letter by the chairperson of FIDA-Kenya, Ms Josephine Wambua-Mongare.

In issuing the demand, FIDA cited the constitutional requirement on the two-thirds gender principle enshrined under Article 27 (8) of the Constitution.

“We also appeal to you that the gender principle should apply in assignment of other State jobs. This would guarantee women’s rights to equity and equality. It will further ensure that women are included in decision making,” FIDA stated.

In the letter published in the local dailies, FIDA further said that the current Parliament remains unconstitutional for failing to achieve the two-thirds gender principle.

Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed all Cabinet Secretaries to prepare handover notes, this latest directive giving the clearest hint that the Kenyatta-Ruto second term cabinet could be unveiled soon.

President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have so far remained tight lipped on who will make it to the cabinet amid the vicious scramble for the key executive slots.

At least nine out of the current 19 members of the outgoing cabinet are likely to lose the flag, as Kenyatta and Ruto seek to assemble a team that will reflect the country’s regional and ethnic diversity, factor in merit and gender balance, while at the same time rewarding political loyalty with the 2022 succession also at play.

Currently there are five women in the Cabinet: Raychelle Omamo (Defence), Phyllis Kandie (East African Community, Labour and Social Protection), Sicily Kariuki (Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs), Amina Mohammed (Foreign Affairs and Trade) and Prof Judi Wakhungu (Environment).

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Story By Wangui Ngechu
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