Top performing female MPs named
The report by Mzalendo Trust titled “Debunking Myths: Women Contributions in Kenya’s 11th Parliament”, hails the performance of the MPs.
It states that their contribution in the two Houses of Parliament is as valuable as that of their male counterparts.
The document highlights the performance of the 86 lawmakers in the 11th Parliament and attempts to disqualify claims and stereotypes that have painted them in negative light.
Specifically, the report attempts to vindicate the 47 Woman Representatives, who have faced accusations of incompetence and irrelevance.
From the coastal region, Ms Zainab Chidzuga (Kwale County Woman Representative) is hailed for being vocal on the Standard Gauge Railway and land issues, while MPs Mishi Juma Mboko (Mombasa County) and Halima Duri (Tana River County) are cited for their avid contributions on security and extra–judicial killings.
From the southeastern region, which has six Woman Reps and five elected female MPs, Ms Joyce Lay of Taita-Taveta County stood for speaking on issues of mining and the welfare of miners, while Ms Mbalu, the Kibwezi East MP, who temporarily sits in as a Deputy Speaker, is highlighted as having also made immense contributions on motions and Bills.
Ms Florence Kajuju stands out for her views on the miraa saga as well on matters of regional integration.
Nairobi Woman Representative Rachel Shebesh, who temporarily sits on the Speaker’s chair, is named for being vocal while issues facing the city.
Some of the issues include security at the airport, terror attacks, house demolitions in Lang’ata estate, education, the need to improve schools, the Uwezo Fund and the welfare of students in Nairobi.
In the northern region, Ms Joyce Emanikor of Turkana County stood out for her contributions on the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines Bill, teacher shortages in Turkana, mining, Equalisation Fund, corruption, fishing micro-finance loans and youth employment.
Ms Millie Odhiambo’s star shone in western region. She sponsored two Bills – the Victim Protection Bill and the In-Vitro Fertilisation Bill.
According to drafters of the report, contributions by the female MPs who include 47 County Woman Representatives, 21 members of the National Assembly and the 18 nominated women Senators was not just centered on women’s issues, but also on socio-economic and political sphere of the society.
“An in-depth look at women parliamentarians’ contributions shows they did not solely focus on family Bills (The Marriage Bill, The Children’s Bill, The Protection against Domestic Violence Bill and
The Matrimonial Property Bill), but also contributed on security, finances, water, health, devolution, infrastructure, waste management, environmental issues and mining among others depending on either their counties, constituencies or national interest,” said Ms Jessica Musila, Mzalendo’s Executive Director.
The analysis was based on the Hansard, which is the official verbatim record of debates in Parliament. The report covers the period between March 2013, when the 11th Parliament had its first sitting to 30th June 2015.
Ms Musila said findings presented in the report disprove biases, stereotypes and accusations against the leaders by showcasing their actual contributions.
“The report shows that they are avid contributors to debates in both the Senate and in the National Assembly. The objective of these insights is to instil a sense of confidence in the ability of women to successfully undertake leadership positions in politics both now and in the future,” said the official.
According to the report, the Woman Representatives have been subject to the most scrutiny and criticism.
“Their being in power has largely been attributed to tokenism and their tenures, so far, have been marked by accusations of ineptitude both in terms of their parliamentary contributions and actual groundwork. There have been numerous calls for the scrapping off of their positions,” part of the 34-page report released yesterday states.
The report says that the women MPs not only contributed to debate but also moved motions, requested statements and served as chairpersons of House committees.
In the National Assembly, it says there was no great disparity between the elected, nominated women MPs and the Woman Representatives in terms of quality and nature of contributions.
However, the drafters of the report say the contributions of the women MPs are greatly influenced by their level of education, professional background, work and life experiences.
“Those with higher levels of education had more insightful contributions. Some without an advance education but with previous experience, however, had a good understanding of issues in their counties and constituencies,” says the report.
In the Senate, besides participating in the formulation and legislation of laws, the report says nominated women senators also played an active role in contributing to issues that pertain to oversight.
Women in the National Assembly hold seven out of 28 chairperson positions, which represents 25 per cent of the total places. They also hold three vice-chairperson positions, which translate to 10.7 per cent.
Mzalendo says women in these positions have demonstrated efficiency by making sure that they follow up on requested statements and present feedback raised in the House.
The leading legislators in the regions: Florence Kajuju (Mt Kenya – Meru County MP), Joyce Emanikor (Northern – Turkana County MP), Zainab Chidzuga (Coastal -Kwale County MP), Rachael Nyamai (South Eastern – Kitui South Constituency), Millie Odhiambo (Western – Mbita Constituency), Joyce Laboso Deputy Speaker (North Rift – Sotik Constituency), Amina Abdalla (Nominated MP National Assembly) and Agnes Zani (Nominated Senator). Each region had three nominees.
Others listed as good performers include: Mishi Juma Mboko, Halima Duri, Dr Susan Musyoka, Joyce Lay, Jessica Mbalu, Wanjiku Muhia, Priscilla Nyokabi, Rachel Shebesh, Annah Gathecha, Fatuma Ibrahim, Maison Leshoomo, Shukran Gure, Tiyah Galgalo, Gladys Wanga, Rose Nyamunga , Dennitah Ghati, Christine Ombaka , Alice Chae, Mary Emaase, Florence Mutua and Rachel Amesso in the National Assembly.
Ms Beatrice Elachi, Martha Wangari, Joy Gwendo, Halima Abdille and Judith Sijeny and Elizabeth Ongoro stand out in the Senate.