Chaos has rocked a women political convention at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, after a government official appeared to campaign for Jubilee Party.
The meeting meant to find ways of uniting women to speak in one voice in support of their colleagues in politics degenerated into a political-party-shouting march on Friday.
This was after Gender Affairs Principal Secretary Zeinab Hussein appeared to ask the meeting attended by an estimated 4,000 women from all parts of Kenya to back President Kenyatta and his Jubilee Party.
Hell broke loose when the PS asked Jubilee women in the auditorium to ululate— a call that angered supporters of other parties, especially the National Super Alliance (Nasa).
Ms Hussein left in a huff after the clash, mainly between Jubilee and Nasa supporters, forced her to stop reading her speech.
The women attacked each other verbally as organisers desperately attempted to calm them down.
Some felt that the convention dubbed ‘Ni Mama” had been been turned into a vote-hunting ground by senior officials.
It took the intervention of Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua to restore order.
Ms Karua condemned the clash and urged women to avoid disagreements that she said were mainly tribal.
“We are the ones who get married to other tribes. We should know better than to take tribal sides,” she said.
She asked women to run for seats otherwise they will not get into leadership.
Kisumu Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga backed Ms Karua’s rallying call, saying women should avoid divisions along party lines.
“We should be planning on how to get all the women aspirants into their various positions,” she said.
“We should be holding one another’s hand and abandon these small political games of division by party lines.”
The women are expected to launch a political movement to see more of them get into elective and appointive positions.
“Women want half of the positions,” said Chairperson of the National Women Steering Committee Daisy Amdany.
The movement brought women together to claim power in a country dominated by men.
The move is partly informed by parliament’s move to shoot down a Bill that sought to operationalise the two thirds gender rule that would help more women get into leadership.
“We know that Kenya will achieve its aspirations if it taps the full potential of half of its population which comprises of women,” Amdany said.
“We want to offer leadership because genuine democracy is when all sections of the population participate equally in the country and hold political power.”
She said if women united, they would fortify their position in providing visionary leadership and solutions to challenges that Kenya is facing.
Amdany said women had for years been organising and ensuring their preferred candidates win in elections.
“This year, we are coming together regardless of our political parties and organising so that women candidates win the elections of 2017, across board,” she said.
“Women make up half the population of Kenya, why shouldn’t we have half our leadership being women?”
She added that women had resolved to compete for the political posts and win them fairly and decisively.
“‘Ni Mama’ energises the force to claim power. When we get more women in the political space, they will inspire and champion change. They will be solution providers who will deploy their time-tested diligence and commitment to transform Kenya,” she said.