Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga has urged women to vie for elective seats in the fourth-coming general elections.
Speaking at an ODM women delegates’ conference in Kitengela Thursday, Odinga encouraged the women to go for elective positions other than the Women Representative’s seat.
He said the Constitution required that women form two thirds of the representation in Parliament and to achieve this, they must seek elective positions rather than wait to be nominated into positions.
Odinga noted that Affirmative Action entrenched in the Constitution aimed at bridging the gender disparity between men and women in both elective and appointive public bodies.
“The Constitution requires that women form two thirds of the representation in Parliament and for this to be achieved, women must come out and vie for elective seats so as to ensure gender equality and representation is achieved,” he said.
He lamented that despite Kenya being a dominant political and economic power in the East Africa region, it remained the only country yet to achieve an affirmative action for gender representation in Parliament.
The ODM leader called on the women to rise above retrogressive cultural beliefs that have marginalized them over the years in seeking for leadership positions.
He also urged Kenyans to do away with traditional beliefs which have continued to oppress women and discouraged them from going for leadership positions adding that women have an equal role with men in politics and in building the economy.
“Women face a lot of challenges when vying against their male counterparts for elective positions. We must do away with traditional beliefs and culture that discriminates against the women and give them a chance at leadership,” said Odinga.
On the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), Odinga urged Kenyans to support it saying it would provide long-term solutions to the problems faced by Kenyans.
By Rop Janet