Ruto’s daunting task on meeting 50pc gender rule
President William Ruto is under pressure to fulfil his pledge to appoint at least 11 women to the Cabinet when he constitutes it in the coming days.
The President is expected to return to the country by weekend after a week-long visit to the United Kingdom and United States and is likely to find pressure piling on him to name his Cabinet as it will be over 10 days since he was sworn-in.
Among the promises the Head of State made during the campaigns was to involve more women at the country’s top decision-making levels.
Ruto promised to fill half of Cabinet slots with women in May when he picked Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate.
Just before the August 9 elections, President Ruto reiterated his commitment to fulfil the promise, saying women made up a big percentage of the Hustlers Nation, the slogan his campaign adopted to represent his support base.
With the Constitution limiting the number of CSs to 22, it means Ruto would have to nominate 11 women for vetting in Parliament before formal appointment.
Olive Gachara, Programme Director at the Mechanisms to Promote the Advancement of Women lobby, said Kenya’s women expect the President to stick to his promise, saying it would be a progressive endeavour.
“We expect he will ensure he fulfils his promise. We also hope that those who are appointed would not be there just to achieve a quota but to show that they are capable of serving in the positions,” Gachara said. With some quarters questioning whether there are women with the mettle to occupy the positions, she said there were plenty of them not only in the political arena but also in the private sector.
“Most women have avoided politics because of the chaos associated with it but because these are appointive positions, we expect more to show interest to serve,” she added.
A good number of women who played key roles in Ruto’s election have already won themselves elective and nomination seats in Parliament and they may be asked to resign or the President will have to look for others to join his Cabinet.
Nominated Senators Veronica Maina, Soipan Tuya, Peris Tobiko, Karen Nyamu and Joyce Korir were at the centre of the winning team but are already in the House. Some vied for MP, Senate and governor’s seats and were elected in August.
Kandara MP Alice Wahome has also been mentioned as among those who could be beseeched to resign and join the Cabinet.
Renown human rights activist Njeri Kabeberi who led the women caucus that signed a Women’s Charter with Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza team a few weeks to the election is considerderd as one of the front-runners.
Former Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation chair and Nominated Senator Zipporah Kittony told People Daily the appointment of women would be a notable progress in their involvement in running the nation’s affairs.
“I am delighted to hear that he promised to appoint more women to the Cabinet. It is the right way to go. It will not only help in achieving the two-thirds gender requirement but will show that women can play a big role in running government at the top level,” she said.
The former lawmaker, who served between 2013 and 2017, said they would appreciate more involvement of women, noting that it is the right thing to do for a progressive society.
“We have come a long way in fighting for higher representation of women in power and with this we will be heading in the right direction. It is delightful to see the appreciation of the potentiality of women to serve in senior positions,” she said.
Early this week, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said Ruto would constitute the Cabinet within the next two weeks, stating Ruto was still keen to ensure men and women share the same slots.
With challenges mounting early on, the Head of State would require more hands to help him tackle them.
“The promise is still there. The President has not indicated he will not fulfil it,” he
Other than gender considerations, the DP said other factors such as experience, commitment and regional balance would be at play in forming Cabinet appointees.
“We will have a Cabinet that has the capacity to deliver. There will be a nexus between the appointee and the docket,” he said.
Gachagua also defended the planned appointment of politicians to the Cabinet.
A number of politicians including Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Garissa Township MP Aden Duale have been rumoured to be heading there.
“There are politicians who have the capacity to work. They are not bad people. Let us not criminalise politicians,” he said.
there is nothing wrong with having politicians in the Cabinet,” he added.