What is the Work of the Women Representatives?
The position of women representatives is provided for in Article 97 of the Constitution of Kenya. In describing the composition of the, National Assembly, the constitution stipulates that the house consists of 47 women representatives, one from each county. The Women Representative position is an affirmative seat that is meant to increase representation of women in parliament in an attempt to bridge the wide representation gap that existed before the new constitution took effect in 2010.
Therefore, the role of women representatives is the same as that of any other member of the national assembly though it goes beyond, in that it is specific to women and girls as exhibited below.
- Representation of the People
Women representatives, as the title suggests play the role of representing women in the national assembly. They advocate for the interests of women in by ensuring that the needs of women and girls as a special interest group are addressed as the National Assembly transacts its business.
- Approval of Budget and Plans
Women representatives are responsible for approving budgets and plans at national level. In participating in debates regarding budgets and plans, women representatives need to ensure that documents approved by the house address the needs of women and girls. Women representatives are allocated a fund known as the Affirmative Action Social Development Fund which is similar to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). This fund is in line with female gender empowerment and is supposed to assist Women Representatives implement projects in their counties.
- Exercising Oversight
As part of the National Assembly, women representatives exercise oversight over the executive, the national government arm responsible for implementing national laws and plans. They are expected to scrutinize financial, administration and management by public resources at national level and ensure there is accountability and transparency in national expenditure and service delivery. They are also expected to review the conduct of state and public officers at national government.
Women representatives participate in legislative debates in the national assembly and add the voice of women to the debates. The National assembly is responsible for debating and passing bills which upon assent by the President, become county laws. These laws may emanate from the executive, the members themselves or from private members. The law requires that citizens be involved in the process of making national laws.