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North eastern region urged to support women to political seats

Ann Nderitu, the Register of Political Parties, has urged for increased nomination and election of women into political positions to combat gender inequality.

Speaking in Garissa during the official opening of the Garissa Regional offices, Nderitu regretted that the region has been experiencing patriarchy that has suppressed women and youth from raising up for leadership positions.

She urged men to support women in political leadership to experience new waves of leadership and achieve gender equality.  “A society is as good as its weakest link. Part of the issues that we are struggling with is patriarchy and we cannot deny this fact. We may have the best legal framework, but as long as the society is not responsive from the grassroots we shall continue to have the problem,” Nderitu said.

The registrar urges men to become ‘He for She’ and advocate for women’s nomination and election, as parents would want their daughters to be elected leaders.

Nderitu noted that the ORPP is part of a multi-agency team on gender which has tabled proposals to review the political parties act to allow the national assembly to have the two-third gender rule.

“At the moment, we have a political goodwill right from the president by writing a memorandum to parliament to raise among others the issue of gender rule. With this kind of support, we can work towards actualizing the two- thirds gender rule,” she said.

United Democratic Alliance’s nominated MCA Fatuma Hakar on her part urged the area women to unite against the patriarchal practices and go for bigger elective positions for members of parliament, governorship and senate without fear.

“What is killing the women of Somali communities especially from Garissa is culture, traditions and patriarchy. If I want to contest for a seat, I am told that my young brother is also contesting so I should let him instead. The problem is not the political parties but within us,” Hakar said.

Women should unite to challenge cultural practices and traditions, as they are not part of Islam, and should not be labeled as going against it.

In the 2022 general election there were a total of 1,875 elective positions out of which 1,748 had candidates drawn from political Parties and 127 independent candidates.

466 seats representing 27 percent were from Special Interest Groups which include women, youth and persons with disabilities. According to the data from the ORPP, there was an increase of women participation in the general election in 2017 to those in the 2022 general election from 1,358 women contesting for various seats in 2017, to 1959 in 2022.

To the women who contested in 2017, 172 women were elected while in 2022, 191 were elected, a marginal increase of 19 seats across elective positions. A portion of 13 percent were women contesting in 2022 representing 1959 women contested against 14080 male counterparts for the various elective positions.

In North eastern apart from the women representative seats, only two women were elected to the Wajir county assembly.

By Erick Kyalo

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