Male governors reject proposal to have women as their deputies

County chiefs unanimous that the BBI report needs amendments.

In Summary
  • The male governors termed the proposal unfair and dictatorial.
  • The decision was, however, rejected by their female counterparts who supported the clause.
Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu
PROPOSAL: Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu
Image: FILE

Governors are opposed to a BBI recommendation that they choose women as their deputies.

The male governors termed the proposal unfair and dictatorial. This emerged during a meeting in Naivasha to seek consensus on the BBI report ahead of the proposed referendum in June.

The decision was, however, rejected by their female counterparts who supported the clause.

Ahead of addresses by the President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, the governors were unanimous that the document needed further amendments.

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu differed with his male counterparts, noting that women should be made running mates as per the recommendations.

“The male counterparts are adamant over the issue of women deputies and this is very unfair as we discuss the issue of gender parity,” she said.

She said having women picked as running mates would go a long way in mentoring them into politics.

The meeting also discussed whether MCAs could be appointed to the county executive.

“The proposal to give roles to deputy governors is challenging as it would end up creating conflict within the executive,” she said.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado said women should be given a chance to compete with their male colleagues. He said the BBI proposal to have female candidates as the deputy governors was flawed and unconstitutional.

“Even in a mature democracy like in the US, the candidates make their decision on who should be their running mate and we should not stifle this in Kenya,” he said.

Obado pointed out that more issues were at play while selecting a running mate and that the matter is not entirely about gender. He said reserving the deputy’s seat for women would end up making women feel inferior to their male counterparts.

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi said the decision to pick a running mate should lie with the candidate. He said the issue was discussed in the meeting but they failed to reach a consensus.

“The decision on who should be the running mate in the race for the governor’s seat should be decided by the candidate and not BBI,” he said.

Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati said gubernatorial candidates should be allowed to appoint their running mates.

“The biggest winner in this report is devolution and we are keen to strengthen and address the clauses that have problems,” he said.

West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo pointed out that the Constitution is silent on the roles of the deputy governor who is only defined as the principal assistant to the county chief.

"The Deputy governors want to be given duties through the Constitution. I am glad to have been the first governor to appoint a deputy governor as a county executive committee member," Lonyangapuo said.

Edited by Henry Makori