The Government is committed to implement the two-thirds gender principle in political representation, hire more women in leadership positions and ensure a conducive business environment for women, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has said.
Addressing the United Democratic Alliance’s (UDA) first National Women Congress since elections in August, Mr Gachagua, the party’s Deputy Leader, the Ruto Administration has already rolled out a robust strategy that has increased the number of women serving in top positions in Government such as at the Cabinet, PS’s Ambassadorial, parastatals and other sectors and would continue to do so.
He said the government has taken steps to empower women economically and increase their participation in leadership.
“Women of Kenya have a serious space in President William Ruto’s administration. This is reason why the President appointed a high number of women in government leadership. The Women serving in the Cabinet have not let him down. They have performed exceedingly well and continue to do so,” said Mr Gachagua.
Singling out all the female CS’s, the Deputy President spelt out achievements of each one of them, including the four UDA elected women Governors, saying they have performed exceedingly well and that President Ruto is happy and proud of their work.
During the colourful event held at the Bomas of Kenya, the Deputy President recalled that the Head of State deliberately populated the Cabinet with a record number of 10 women, with seven picked for Cabinet Secretary positions and three to Cabinet-level portfolios.
In the recent appointments of ambassadorial and head of missions, Mr Gachagua said 40 per cent of the appointees were women.
He paid glowing tribute to the female Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries and governors elected on UDA Party saying they had performed well in their respective dockets.
The Deputy President asked the female leaders not to let down the President so that in future, he appoints more women.
“Women are truthful, honest, trustworthy and steady. The place of women in our Government is secure. It is upon those of you in leadership to change perception that women cannot lead. Make sure and prove to your fellow women and male counterparts that you can lead,” said Mr Gachagua.
He added, “The Ruto administration is keen on empowerment of the Kenyan woman; by ensuring access to education opportunities, access to sanitary pads to dignify the girl-child and deal effectively with Female Genital Mutilation and sexual assaults.”
He urged women to seek elective positions in the 2027 polls and participate in competitive politics without getting intimidated.
“The place of women in Kenya Kwanza Administration is safe. It is upon the women to contest. Fight for your space. Those elected fought for their space. Take your rightful space in leadership and do not be cowed or intimidated. Take advantage of the fact that you have a President who supports women leadership,” said the Deputy President.
He was accompanied by a host of top women leaders such as the UDA Party chairperson Cecily Mbarire, who is also Embu County Governor, National Assembly deputy speaker Gladys Boss Shollei, Council of Governors chairperson Anne Waiguru, Cabinet Secretary for Gender Aisha Jumwa and Principal Secretary Susan Mangeni (State Department for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development).
Also present were Governors Fatuma Achani (Kwale) and Susan Kihika (Nakuru) together with Members of Parliament and Senators.
The event was graced by Leaders of the Majority in the National Assembly and Senate, Kimani Ichungw’a and Aaron Cheruiyot, respectively, together with the party’s secretary-general Cleophas Malala.
In his remarks, the Deputy President said that were it not for support from female voters, President Ruto would not have won the Presidency in the 2022 polls.
“On behalf of the President, we are grateful of your support during last elections. Were it not for women, President Ruto would not have won because the journey to his election victory was not easy. It was marked by multiple hurdles. Women support was genuine and the President remains grateful to women over their support and prayers. Please continue praying for him as he executes his duties,” said Mr Gachagua.
Reiterating the government’s commitment to the full implementation of the Constitution by ensuring gender parity in appointments, the Deputy President disclosed that at his office a high number of women hold various top leadership positions.
UDA chairperson, Ms Mbarire, for her part said that the party will continue empowering women and ensure the number of female elected leaders goes up in the next General Election.
According to Ms Mbarire, in the 2022 elections the party got four female governors, 12 MPs and 31 women reps, 43 female MCAs and nine nominated senators.
In the upcoming elections for the UDA party scheduled for December this year, 41,000 of the 86,000 applicants for the leadership positions are women.
“We are here not as flower girls but as leaders in our own right to ensure the manifesto of UDA is actualized. We want to be as strong as the ANC (of South Africa) women congress. Time is now for us to be felt as women of UDA. Serious, strong, brave women at national and grassroot level supported the President and his Deputy,” said Ms Mbarire.
She added that the The party will use part of it’s kitty from the Political Parties Fund to train women about entrepreneurship and tendering for government opportunities.