Women leaders have declared that they will not support a referendum to amend the Constitution if it seeks to scrap the position of woman representative.
Under the ‘Embrace Women Building Bridges Kenya’ caucus, the women, led by Rachel Shebesh, the chief administrative secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, said they will only support a referendum that will increase positions for women.
MPs Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Sabina Chege (Murang’a), Rosa Buyu (Kisumu), Mishi Mboko (Likoni) and Cecily Mbarire (nominated), among others, vowed to empower women to reject any proposal that will water down their achievements.
“We will protect the gains made by women under this Constitution. We will not support anything that seeks to reduce the positions of women,” Ms Wanga said.
She said all women leaders from different sectors will converge in Nairobi next week for a convention to draft proposals on areas that need amendments in the Constitution.
Ms Mbarire said the women’s movement will examine the Constitution and propose the areas that need amendment.
“We want to look at what has worked, what has not and then draft proposals and present to the Building Bridges Initiative,” said Ms Mbarire. There has been a clarion call from some people to reduce the number of MPs and scrap the position of woman representative as part of the measures to reduce the burden on taxpayers.
Uasin Gishu Woman Rep Gladys Boss Shollei has already drafted a bill seeking to scrap the woman rep seat and increase the number of women in Parliament through election and not party nomination.
Thirdway Alliance party leader Ekuru Aukot, through his Punguza Mizigo initiative wants the Constitution amended to reduce the number of MPs from 416 to 194 and also scrap the position of woman representative.
A special audit by the Office of the Auditor-General shows the cost of keeping political leaders in office has doubled since 2010.