The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report has been received with merry and criticism in equal measure as a section of Kenyans remain in the dark on how it is to affect their lives, well, one of the proposals indicated on the report is to give women a free pass into County leadership.
The last time women were given a free pass to County Governance was when the introduction of women representatives was introduced. Did it ease the burden women carried? No! Never!
The women representatives have cat walked over since their inception with their mandate and role vague and their voices muted.
Kenya already has had its share of flower girls in the name of women representatives who keep quiet despite over 85 women being murdered in horrendous ways.
Almost a decade now since Kenya opened up to the option of a free ticket for a woman in the County level and sanitary towels remaining a luxury as condoms are freely dispensed despite the latter not being optional.
When women sought gender equality, it was for them to be given a fair playing ground not to be given handouts which is why the proposal to ensure women deputize at the helm of Counties because they have continually shied from vying in the gubernatorial race is misplaced.
There is no pride in handouts and women ought not to take pride in being chosen to deputize male Governors since they will not be chosen because of their potential in governance but because of their gender.
Previously, women have squared it out in the gubernatorial race and emerged winners against male opponents with examples of the late Joyce Laboso, Charity Kaluki Ngilu, and Ann Waiguru. Why does the BBI seek to hand over power to undeserving women?
When we began looking to equalize gender in governance by favoring one gender and handing over what the other gender fights for fiercely instead of giving a fair fighting ground for both, that was when the fight for gender equality was compromised.
If a deputy governor has to be chosen, then let it be because of their capabilities, their moral standing, and their policies NOT because of their gender!
The Constitution currently states that “each candidate for election as county governor shall nominate a person who is qualified for nomination for election as county governor as a candidate for deputy governor,” and there is great wisdom in that.
“The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission shall not conduct a separate election for the deputy governor but shall declare the candidate nominated by the person who is elected county governor to have been elected as the deputy governor,” the constitution further expounds.
The BBI report pours down the wisdom in the Kenyan constitution by proposing that women be handed power freely by being chosen to deputize Governors as they shy away from the fight of equality and retire to receiving handouts.
“This will equalize both genders in political terms, rather than creating a parallel system that creates a sense of tokenism,” the BBI report unveiled today at the Bomas of Kenya says.
But is giving women power on a silver platter as proposed by the BBI, currently being unveiled at the Bomas of Kenya, gender equalization or just a desperate attempt to cover up our failed systems?