Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Gender Equality, Democracy and Justice

There is a looming constitutional crisis regarding the fulfillment of gender equality rule as espoused in the new constitution. However, gender equality cannot be attained at the expense of democracy and justice.
The ongoing debate whether amendments should or should not be made to the law that requires any public institution to have a third of either gender has continued to illicit mixed reactions from various quarters. The assemblies created under the new constitution (parliament, senate, & county assembly) are as such required to comply with this rule. However, if this law is not met and it turns out (as likely to be the case) that the gender rule is not met then, the assemblies will be unconstitutional. This will plunge the country to constitutional crisis of its kind. The Attorney-General has since sought the intervention of the Supreme court in a bid to find a solution to the stalement.
In order to solve the crisis, the respective assemblies would be required to nominate the difference to meet the constitutional requirement. This rule is a brainchild of affirmative action for women who have not been participating in politics. Nominating the shortfall will be unsustainable for the economy due to the bloated members of the assembly. For instance, if Kenyans decide to elect 290 men in the national assembly, the law requires that 60 women be nominated to meet constitutional gender threshold bringing the total number of M.P’s 350, all of them to be paid approximately Ksh.1M.
Gender Equality Vis a Vis Democracy & Justice
From the foregoing, some have argued that the cost of attaining gender equality in the assemblies will be quite enormous. That aside, I want us to focus on gender equality particularly on elective posts: Does the gender rule promote Democracy and Justice? Can we achieve gender equality at the expense of Democracy and Justice? The gender rule on elective posts negates the principle of Democracy and Justice. You cannot force people to elect a woman or a man. It’s like imposing a leader unto the people and that should not be the case at this juncture given the achievement we have gained in the fight for democracy. Error is to human and that clause ought to have been amended during the making of the constitution. Nobody really pondered on the ramifications of the rule and asked whether it is actually feasible. Changing the constitution now will require a referendum which is not possible. The gender rule ought to be applied on positions of appointment but not elective posts/positions. It perfectly makes sense when a commission of eight members has four men and four women appointed by the president. On the other hand, you can’t force a constituency to elect a woman or a man.  As a matter of fact, affirmative action in regards to decision making has been addressed through the creation of women representatives’ position.
Lack of Interest
The gender rule is not the solution for lack of participation of women in politics. The problem is not male dominance in the political world but rather women are not interested in politics so they have been left out. To truly meet the underpinnings of Gender Equality, Democracy and Justice, men and women should compete on equal footing.


Corruption epidemic continues to spread and thrive. It has become a gigantic problem world over. The fight against the vice staged by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has yielded little results if any. The high and mighty who engage in corruption scandals as much walks free. Perhaps what has changed is that the bribes are being given and received behind the scenes as opposed to earlier times when it was done publicly.
The country has been rocked with numerous corruption scandals which includes but not limited to the following NHIF, Goldenberg, Anglo Leasing, Triton, Water, Maize and the Free Primary Education scandal where 4.2M was embezzled. All these involved misappropriation and embezzlement of large sums of taxpayers’ money but at dismay of everyone no arrests have been made.
Corruption leads to high cost of business. This translates to reduction in the number of investors in the country. The cost of starting and operating the business becomes exorbitant as a result of bribes that some corrupt officials in the authorities demand in order to issue a particular license. We must realize that it is these investments that provide employment opportunities to the people and their absence will only aggravate the already worsening situation of unemployment.
It has also denied people access to justice. Some criminals bribe the judges and the police and walk scot free and justice would have been denied. All is not lost as a new dawn begins in the Judiciary with the entry of the new Chief Justice and his Deputy. Already the vetting of the judges is in the offing which will see the selection of transparent and ethical judges.
Road carnage on our roads has been on the rise of late. The drivers and their conductors have made it their duty to bribe traffic police officers who I turn allow them to flout the traffic rules. After paying they are at liberty to over speed, overload, drive road unworthy vehicles, not fitting their vehicles with seatbelts among other traffic violations. What’s disturbing is that the bribery takes place in full glare of the passengers but they don’t report these incidents to EACC. This has become a culture and for a minute one may think that it’s a levy but it isn’t. The end result is that more and more deaths of our beloved relatives and friends courtesy of corruption: deaths which we would have otherwise prevented.

Corruption has also contributed significantly to unfair recruitment of people for vacancies in both public and private sector. People are paying bribes in order to secure employment. This has resulted into a situation whereby the highest bidder will have the job. This is done without regarding the qualifications. It has locked out potential employees who would have otherwise taken the job but since they don’t have the required bribe or are unwilling to pay, they remain unemployed. This vice was at one time reported in the recruitment of security agencies where participants were coughing as much as Ksh.80, 000.
Corruption is an impediment in the realization of Kenya’s Vision 2030.To put an end to this vice, it will require action not only by EACC but a joint effort of everyone. You begin by refusing to give bribes and similarly receiving none. All said and done the buck stops with you.