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Byanyima Takes On President Kenyatta On Male Dominated Cabinet

As Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta prepares to announce his new cabinet for his second and last term, he has come under pressure from Oxfam International, to make it more gender balanced this time.

Mr Kenyatta is expected to unveil his cabinet team sometime in January next year according to high ranking senior officials, although it was highly anticipated that he would do so during this festive season.

Mrs Winnie Byanyima, the Executive Director Oxfam International is unhappy that Kenyatta’s current cabinet comparatively has much fewer women.

The neighbouring country has 22 cabinet secretaries, only 4 of who are female. That is an 18% representation.

Despite being the region’s economic powerhouse and considerably the most democratically advanced nation, this fraction fades in comparison with Kenya’s neighbours.

Her neighbour in the west, Uganda for instance, has 77 cabinet members (excluding vacant posts), 25 of who are women, which represents 32%.

In the south, Tanzania’s 25-strong cabinet is much less gender sensitive with only 5 women, but at 20%, it still beats Kenya’s in terms of percentage.

Meanwhile Rwanda has the most diverse cabinet in the region, with 15 women out of 35 (44%).

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In a series of tweets, Mrs Byanyima asked the Kenyan president to borrow a leaf from other countries and appoint more women in his cabinet.

 

 

Kenyan’s population is curently estimated at 49million people, more than half of who (50.1%) are female.

Byanyima’s push for a more gender sensitive cabinet in Kenya follows ongoing plans by Oxfam International to relocate its main offices to the capital Nairobi.

The planned move, Byanyima’s own initiative, is expected to take effect next year.

Byanyima while justifying the relocation noted that important decisions affecting millions of people are being made in cities that are entirely different from the centres of power.

“In my head and my heart, I felt the “center” of Oxfam was not where it needed to be and that voices within Oxfam were not balanced globally,” she said.

“I talked with many more experienced Oxfam colleagues and I was relieved. No-one disagreed. I was arguing with nobody. Oxfam needed to shift its center of leadership and to strengthen Southern voices within its decision-making.”

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