Australian Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Tim Witts In Kenya For Official Visit

By Samuel Ouma

Kenya’s Senate Speaker Amason Kingi on Monday hosted Australian Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Tim Witts, who is in the country on an official tour.

The two leaders discussed issues of mutual interest affecting the two countries, ranging from gender parity to security and education exchange programmes.

Speaker Kingi said although the gender principle is enshrined in the constitution, effecting the constitutional principle of the two-thirds rule is not easy.

“We haven’t as a country hit the constitutional threshold on gender parity,” the Speaker told the Assistant Minister.

Mr. Witts had sought an opinion from the Speaker on the performance of women candidates in the 2022 general election. The number of women elected in single-member constituencies rose to 29 in 2022 from 23 in 2017.

On the other hand, the number of elected governors rose to 7 in 2022 from just 3 in 2017, and women received additional slots when they were nominated through special seats.

“Despite the attempts to nominate women to parliament, we have fallen short. It is a work in progress. We are determined to achieve the gender parity principle,” said speaker Kingi.

He, however, pointed out that the recent surge in the number of elected women representatives proves that the Kenyan voter has come of age.

“The electorate is finally embracing women leadership. This is a good thing and we believe that if the trajectory is maintained there will be no need to nominate them,” said Mr. Witts.

The two deputy Speakers, Sen. Kathuri Murungi (senate) and Gladys Shollei of the national assembly, attended the meeting.

Ms. Shollei likened the growth of women’s numbers elected to parliament to the excellent work of their predecessors and the trust the women leaders have cultivated in the past.

“Many years of affirmative action is finally paying off. We are beginning to reap the benefits as women,” Shollei said.

She also informed Mr Witts that parliament is in the process of amending the law to have more women nominated to parliament.

Speaker Kingi said the relationship between the two countries is mutually beneficial and challenged them to leverage their relationships to the constitutional principle of two-thirds gender rule, the role of the Senate in legislation and bilateral ties between the two countries.


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