Kibra residents engage on values of voting

Kibra MP, Ken Okoth addressing a public forum at Makina Mosque hall in Nairobi, organized by Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu, to sensistise the public about their rights as voters and as citizens under the 2010 Constitution. Photo by Thomas Bwire
Kibra MP, Ken Okoth addressing a public forum at Makina Mosque hall in Nairobi, organized by Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu, to sensistise the public about their rights as voters and as citizens under the 2010 Constitution. Photo by Thomas Bwire

More than 200 Kibera residents had an opportunity to attend a community forum dubbed “Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu” organized by the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC).

The forum held at Makina Mosque compound provided an avenue for residents to engage with their leaders on different topics that touch on electoral issues, security and gender-based-violence.

The leaders, who included area Member of Parliament Ken Okoth, shared insights on the two-thirds gender rule as enshrined in the Constitution, which focuses on how more women should be elected/appointed to key leadership positions in the public service.

The MP challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta to support affirmative action clause in the supreme law and have more women included in senior leadership positions as a way to enhance their voices as well as promote Kenya’s development agenda.

“As political parties, we need to start giving women opportunities for leadership because majority are left out during the political party primaries,” Okoth noted.

Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu (My Vote My Voice) is a coalition of like-minded civil society organisations, who have come together to proactively support Kenya’s preparations for the 2017 General Election with a view to ensuring that the country reduces the risks related to dysfunctional electoral competition.

The initiative seeks to also provide a platform for political dialogue, input and answers to six key electoral issues that need political interventions and to encourage public discussions around those issues, collect proposals from all electoral stakeholders and encourage the implementation of such proposals.

The dialogue is expected to help address issues that could lead to challenges towards the 2017 polls as were experienced in 2007 and 2013 general elections.

Strategy

Kibra representative at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Yassin Ishmael, said: “We are working on how to make use of technology to avoid the suspicion of election rigging so that the process can be termed as free and fair for all.”

During the open session, a resident, Patronila Nafula, requested the electoral body to consider setting aside two

Forum at Makina Mosque hall in Nairobi, organized by Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu, to sensistise the public about their rights as voters and as citizens under the 2010 Constitution. Photo by Thomas Bwire

Forum at Makina Mosque hall in Nairobi, organized by Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu, to sensistise the public about their rights as voters and as citizens under the 2010 Constitution. Photo by Thomas Bwire

separate lines during the voting day to cater for men and women. She said there were times when some women had faced different forms of sexual gender based violence while standing in between men.

Answering her concern, Ishmael said he would raise the issue with his colleagues, but noted that the law does not have any provision for queues to be created on gender. “We only cater for sick women and expectant mothers who are always given priority to exercise their democratic right,” the official said.

Hellen Nanjumbia, a youth from Woodley Ward, said that as a young person she felt more empowered as a citizen and will encourage her peers to acquire the national identification card as well as register as voters ahead of the  General Election.

On his part, George Kegoro, Executive Director at the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHRC) and Co-convener of “Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu” stressed the need to continually hold such public forums at the grassroots level.

Also in attendance was government representation that included Kilimani Deputy OCPD and Deputy County Commissioner of Lang’ata District.

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