Women representation in the management of political parties in Kenya is still low regardless of the threshold spelt out by the Constitution, a survey reveals.
The Political Parties Act gives the Registrar of Political Parties authority to only register political parties that have complied with the gender rule. A survey, carried out by Women Shadow Parliament-Kenya ( WSP-K) has blamed the Registrar of Political Parties and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of laxity in ensuring the constitutional threshold is achieved.
According to the report launched this week in Nairobi, political parties found it difficult to respect the Constitution on gender representation in party management.
The report, ‘Rapid Gender Audit of Political Parties and Electoral Process in Kenya', appealed to the Registrar of Political Parties to implement its mandate of ensuring there was compliance to the two-thirds threshold.
“Our finding of women representation in the management of political parties was shocking. At the Registrar of Political Parties the story was the same,” the report reads in part. However, it further says there have been several attempts in the country to empower women into political limelight. “The number of women remained negligible until 2002, when an upward trend in women representation was evident,” the report says.
The launch was attended by scholars, women from different counties, County Women Representatives, Denitta Ghati (Migori), Florence Kajuju (Meru), Sabina Wanjiru Wa Chege (Murang'a) and Priscilla Nyokabi of Nyeri County.
The report recommended, among others things, that there should be strategies on the implementation of affirmative action as anchored in the Constitution.
Monica Amolo, the WSP-K Executive Director asked the political leaders to consider women in the management of parties. “Political parties must change and go by the dictates of the Constitution of Kenya. They are giving women lip service,” she said.
Dr Adams Oloo of the University of Nairobi said the report was an indication of what was happening in the country's political scene and appealed to stakeholders to ensure the recommendations are implemented.