The Constitution of Kenya 2010 has provided very progressive and gender friendly governance institutions, values and processes for all Kenyans in general and for women in particular.
Specifically, the Constitution secures social, economic and political rights of women by guaranteeing that no single gender shall occupy more than two thirds of elective, nominative or appointive positions at any level thus creating many opportunities for women at all governance structure. Additionally, the Constitution has also created a facilitative and gender friendly legal framework that makes it possible for both men and women to access and participate in these institutions. Furthermore, recognizing the historical disadvantage of women and other vulnerable members of society including the disabled, minorities and the youth, the Constitution has entrenched the principle of affirmative action in addition made it mandatory that neither gender will occupy more than two-thirds of any public governance seats.
The Constitution, therefore, has afforded women greater political leverage for participation in decision-making through the introduction at Parliamentary level of a second house- the Senate and County based devolved governance structures that bring power, resources and services closer to the majority of the people, especially women; as well as the quota and proportional representation system that guarantees women a significant number of seats in these key governing institutions.
Although a lot of attention has to date been focused on the elective political posts under the new structures of governance, it is also important for women to understand and seek access and participate in the nominative/non-elective positions that now exist. The more the presence of women in all types of decision making positions, the more effective will be their capacity to transform the undemocratic social-economic and political environment that now exists. In order to access these positions, it is important that women first familiarize themselves with the institutions, positions that are available, their functions, mandate and powers as well as the mode and criteria of access.
In this connection and in an attempt to make these constitutional institutions and leadership positions more accessible in a user friendly manner for women, this book is a simplified but comprehensive profile of all the elective, nominative and appointive positions as provided for in the Constitution. By unpacking these positions and institutions, CMD-Kenya hopes that more and more women will be better prepared to make informed decisions about which offices to go for. More importantly, CMD-Kenya hopes that women will use the information to position themselves and leverage within political parties in order to access the positions at all levels of governance.
Besides unpacking the positions, this book has also emphasized on the key requirements for each of the positions including the high ethical and integrity thresholds set out in Chapter Six of the Constitution to which all leaders will need to abide, and thereby provide our country with the sort of transformative leadership required to make Kenya a truly democratic, peaceful and equitable nation.
Finally, the book seeks to demystify the myths around leadership positions and encourage women to be adequately prepared to occupy all posts taking advantage of the facilitative and enabling environment provided by the Constitution. While this book is primarily targeted at women who plan to take up leadership under the new constitutional dispensation, men will no doubt find it equally useful. It is our hope and prayer that Kenyans in general and women in particular will find this tool informative, educative and relevant as the country edges closer to the first General Election under the new constitutional dispensation.
The development and production of this publication has been made possible through the funding support of the Netherlands Institute for
Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung East & Horn of Africa.