DP promises half Cabinet to women to counter Karua effect

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Deputy President William Ruto has announced that he will enter into a direct agreement with women and give them 50 per cent Cabinet slots.

He says he will have a binding women’s charter, which would be reviewed every six months, to ensure strict implementation of the promises made.

This came after the nomination of Martha Karua as Azimo coalition party presidential running mate.

Ms Karua, after her nomination, said: “My elevation to proposed deputy president is a direct endorsement of women as capable.”

She said she represents the dream of women of ascending to the apex of political leadership.

“Mr Odinga proving once again that he not only means well for the country for which he has spent his lifetime fighting for reforms, but also believes in the abilities of women,” she added.

Dr Ruto, who spoke in Murang’a, said: “I will sign a charter with women…they will tell me what they desire done for them. And it will be a binding charter that will put us directly responsible for ensuring we meet the demands… There is a danger of missing the gender inclusivity agenda if political parties were to go the easier route of glorifying some women, instead of encompassing all of them and giving them a whole deal.”

Mounting pressure

The pressure appears to have emanated from his choice of Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua at a time when women had launched a spirited campaign that all presidential and gubernatorial aspirants pick the opposite gender as running mates.

Dr Ruto had the option of picking Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru or Kandara MP Alice Wahome, both of whom had made it to the shortlist, but Mr Gachagua carried the day.

Kenya Kwanza has been seen struggling to strike a balance between safely competing with the Karua factor, and presenting itself as a formation that believes in women.

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu has been the most vocal in dismissing Mr Gachagua’s nomination, terming it “a pure case of proving to the Kenyan women that they are not trusted, valued and accepted as worth top leadership”.

She said she was saddened by Kenya Kwanza’s reference to Ms Karua as “that woman the kitendawili (riddle) man picked as running mate.”

However, Maragua MP Mary wa Maua, speaking in her constituency where Dr Ruto chaired an economic forum last Saturday, said: “We as women who subscribe to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) are happy with the way we are being treated in our party and we know the actual composition of Dr Ruto government; we will be given a super deal.”

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro said Kenyans have been known to embrace women leadership.

“Take an example of Murang’a County…When the Constitution is telling us to ensure that 30 per cent of all appointments and elective posts are women, we have topped the country by going for 42 per cent parliamentary endorsement of women even in the absence of that law,” he said, referring to the election of Ms Wahome (Kandara), Maua (Maragua) and Wangari Mwaniki (Kigumo).

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