MP Vows To Shoot Down BBI Over Gender Representation

By George Sayagie

The radical proposal to abolish 47 Woman Representatives through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has drawn the wrath of women leaders.

Narok Women Representative Soipan Kudate says women countrywide will launch a ‘No’ campaign if BBI scraps gains women have made this far. She said they will mobilise women to reject the report in totality because it does not address their key concerns.

Ms Kudate said she will join 21 women lawmakers, allied to Deputy President William Ruto, who have demanded a review of the BBI report. The MP said the report goes against the inclusivity ideals stipulated in the 2010 Constitution.

Introduced in the 2010 Constitution as an affirmative action strategy, the position has become controversial. Critics, overwhelmingly men, have called it useless, saying it simply swells the country’s wage bill.

BBI architects

Ms Kudate hit out at the BBI architects for locking out fresh ideas touching on interest groups, saying the proposal to scrap the Woman Representative position will reverse gender representation gains.

“I will not support BBI blindly. The declaration that the document is under lock and key and that new proposals are not welcome, is a blow to women,” she said.

Additional 70 seats

Speaking in Narok East on Monday, Ms Kudate said that rushing the process confirmed there was a scheme by its proponents to force constitutional changes on Kenyans.

She said women legislators are opposed to scrapping of the 47 seats in the National Assembly. Although women have been pushing for more representation in Parliament, they do not know if the additional 70 seats proposed by the BBI will benefit them.

There is also no clear provision that some of the top executive positions will go to women.

“The BBI process has been reduced to a process to unite two individuals – President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM party leader Raila Odinga, but we cannot be told to support it when the gains we got are threatened,” said Ms Kudate.

She joined leaders allied to the deputy President, who want the process of collecting signatures halted until proposed changes to the report are made.

Source: Daily Nation

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