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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Reject attacks on women aspirants

Joyce Laboso.
Joyce Laboso.

This week marks a major milestone for Jubilee – a party founded on the promise of hope and a commitment to serve the people of Kenya.

Across the country, thousands of aspirants will be seeking the nomination of the party to contest in the August election.

These primaries are an opportunity for our party to consolidate development gains made in recent years.

Ahead of the nominations and during the day on Friday, it is incumbent upon all Jubilee aspirants and supporters to conduct themselves in a manner that upholds our values and strengthen our unity.

These nominations are neither about war nor a chance for political extremists to display unchecked hooliganism. We must reject all forms of political intolerance and violence.

Sanctions must be imposed on those who violate the poll rules and spirit of the process.

The sore losers who want to intimidate people into staying away from polling stations and the crooks who pull down political banners and draw sexist literature on campaign posters must be arrested and prosecuted.

In Bomet county, where I am seeking Jubilee’s nomination to run for the position of governor, I can guarantee my commitment and that of my Team Mama, that we will respect the tenets of democracy.

I urge my supporters – and even other party supporters - to do the same.

At the same time, we will not tolerate any attempts to sabotage the ballot, especially from those who are not even members of Jubilee.

And while all poll misconduct should be punished, I want to single out one issue – attacks and harmful prejudices against women aspirants and voters.

As a woman leader who has been the subject of misogynistic assaults, I urge the relevant authorities to be vigilant and arrest any of these backward attitudes and practices.

Women have inalienable democratic rights to seek public office. Their voices and votes must count.

While it will be the responsibility of the party to oversee the primaries, a huge responsibility rests on the shoulders of aspirants like me – and all our supporters – to ensure a smooth process.

In Bomet, I have confidence that the Jubilee Party leadership and election board will deliver a smooth process.

It is crucial that the ballot is credible and transparent.

Amid all the internal competition, it is easy to lose sight of all the hard work that President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and other leaders have put in since bringing together several parties to create Jubilee.

I pay tribute to President Kenyatta and DP Ruto for steering the party to this level, and for giving a hope for a better tomorrow to our people.

The huge number of aspirants seeking the nomination on Jubilee Party is a testament to the popularity and support that it enjoys across the country.

Let us compete fairly and not squander the unity and goodwill of our people.

In the end, we are all seeking public office to serve the people.

Dr Laboso is the MP for Sotik, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Jubilee aspirant for Bomet gubernatorial seat.

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