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THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in KenyaA publication in partnership between the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, East and Horn of Africa and the African Women's Studies Center at the University of Nairobi POLICY BRIEF MARCH 2016 Neo-Patrimonialism, Patriarchy and Politics of Women's Representation in Kenya Key Points
This paper offers a critical examination Obstacles to women's political of how the patriarchal and participation exist throughout the neo-patrimonial nature of the state, world in prevailing social and coupled with related practices such as economic regimes, as well as in clientelism and corruption, the politics of existing political structures. Although exclusion and marginalization, as well there has been improvement in as governmental manipulation, recent years, minimal progress co-optation and subversion, influence throughout the world means that the and/or impede women's participation in ideal of parity remains distant. The national politics.
paper argues that neo-patrimonial logic and practices, coupled with In Kenya, femocracy has not only patriarchal tendencies and norms ensured that only elite women benefit have been instrumental in limiting from patronage networks, but also women's participation in governance helped reinforce patriarchal social in Kenya and generally in Africa. systems. This stems from the fact that the femocrats assume the right to represent all female citizens and their concerns, while in fact endorsing their husband's and/or male relations political agendas.
THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in Kenya An analysis of the structures and processes of law-making on women's issues reveals deeper The gender quota conundrum is, in reality, a institutional values and ideologies that have reflection of what in policy circles are called wicked significant implications for gender power and equity. problems – issues that are not easily solved because To study the women's participation in politics in they are so entwined in a multitude of cultural, social, Kenya, therefore, is to unravel the complex politics of political and gender politics. The Kenyan state's ‘woman' in the African context. This complex politics response to "the two third gender has roots in the historical and contemporary principle problem", in many ways, reflects the structures of the state, informed as much by anomaly of gender politics in Kenya, and indeed, colonialism, autocratic rule and recent democratic many Third World African states. Despite being a politics, as by social and cultural values steeped in signatory to a wide range of international agreements patriarchy. This paper offers a critical examination of on women's/human rights that recognize women's how the patriarchal and neo-patrimonial nature of the right to equal representation, as well as Kenya's 2010 state, coupled with related practices such as Constitution, ii the state has shown little interest thus clientelism and corruption, the politics of exclusion far in fulfilling its legal obligations by ensuring and marginalization, as well as governmental women's full participation in governance. On the 8th manipulation, co-optation and subversion, influence of October 2012, the Attorney General of Kenya filed and/or impede women's participation in national a request for an Advisory Opinion as to whether the two-thirds gender principle was to be realized by the first general elections under the new Constitution in BACKGROUND TO NEO-PATRIMONIAL AND
March 2013, or over a longer period of time. On 11th PATRIARCHAL POLITICS IN AFRICA
December 2012, the Supreme Court by the Majority delivered a decision that the two-thirds gender The concept of neo-patrimonialism has been noted principle under Article 81 (b) was to be achieved to mean different things to different scholars progressively. The Supreme Court mandated (Erdmann & Engel, 2007). Bratton and van de Walle Parliament to enact a law by 27th August 2015, to (1997), for example, understand it to be a hybrid give effect to the two-thirds gender principle under regime consisting of, on the one hand, an exterior Article 81(b). To date, the Kenya government has not modern, formal, rational-legal state-like apparatus, done much to ensure compliance.
and on the other hand, a patrimonial spoils network in which centralised elites mobilise political support by using their public position to distribute jobs, rent-seeking opportunities, and resources as personal favours. Clapham (1985, p. 48) says a THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in Kenya using their public position to distribute jobs, to view the state as "an alien institution and people's rent-seeking opportunities, and resources as business was to get as much from it as they could personal favours. Clapham (1985, p. 48) says a without getting caught." neo-patrimonial state is "a form of organisation in which relationships of a broadly patrimonial type The European idea of a monocultural nation-state left pervade a political and administrative system which is most post-colonial African states with the dilemma of formally constructed on rational-legal grounds". how to unite ethnically and sometimes religiously Somewhat differently, Chabal and Daloz (1999, p.16) plural societies (Chatterjee, 1993; Dia, 1996). describe the modern African state as "no more than a Moreover, the numerous tribal patrimonial kingdoms vi décor, a pseudo-western façade masking the realities encouraged by the colonialists' system of indirect rule of deeply personalised political relations." What is in had led to the emergence of extremely powerful agreement in these definitions is that in African individual local intermediaries who acted to limit the neo-patrimonial states, political power is personal post-colonial state's infrastructural power (Bayart, and politics is a type of business wherein political 1993). In a bid to homogenise the otherwise positions give access to economic benefits (Bach & heterogeneous groups, African leaders sought to Gazibo, 2012; Fatton, 1990). iv centralize both the state and power, leading to the emergence of neo-patrimonial states. Some researchers have located the origin of neo-patrimonialism in the colonial experience Researchers have argued that because diverse (Mamdani, 1996; Pitcher et al., 2009). These pre-existing institutions were disrupted or constituted scholars argue that the colonial era exerted so much by colonialism, they could not generate loyalty and influence on societies in Africa that contemporary ownership among Africans. To compensate for the governance in the continent bears little resemblance low or weak initial political legitimacy, post-colonial to that of the pre-colonial societies. Englebert (1997, African leaders adopted neo-patrimonial and p. 768) has for example claimed that the clientelistic strategies which temporarily afforded contemporary problems in African states derive "from them the necessary "instrumental loyalty" of the very exogeneity of the state, its lack of competing elites (Dia, 1996; Englebert, 2000). As embeddedness, its divorce from underlying norms Chabal (2002) observes: and networks of social organisation." For him, the different values of the imported colonial state gave rise to a perception of illegitimacy in the minds of the colonised people, and consequently the belief that it was available for plunder (Englebert, 1997). As Achembe (1960, p. 30) observes, local people came THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in Kenya At its core, neo-patrimonial rule is governance based elders invented customs that expanded their powers on assembling political supporters through patronage vis-a-vis women (Geisler, 1992; Mbilinyi, 1988; rather than issues. Although policies remain Parpart, 1988; Shadle, 2003). Consequently, what important, they are chosen on the basis of was codified as customary law emphasized the rights assembling clients rather than on appealing to citizen and authority of males and elders while also emphasizing the powerlessness and deference of women and junior men. Most affected were laws in The introduction of neo-patrimonialism and the the area of personal law in regard to matters touching transfer of authority to local male leaders through the on gender relations in the context of marriage, system of indirect rule had two major effects relevant divorce, inheritance, child custody, and property to this paper. Firstly, because the local leaders were rights within marriage (Chanock, 1982; Schmidt, foisted upon communities, the leaders felt no 1990). responsibility to the communities. This engendered a system in which access to government came to be These laws reduced women's access to productive seen as an opportunity for advancing self-interest resources, such as land and the labour market, which rather than the interests of the community (Njoku, reinforced the capture of female labour for the benefit of male patriarchs, capitalism and the state. On their part, colonial officers accepted this version, of course Secondly, the system of indirect rule used by the with their own input, because they recognized that colonialists to govern colonies facilitated colonization colonial order depended on male elders maintaining of the domestic realm, enabling local male leaders to local control. Further, the authority of local leaders manipulate meaning and redefine relationships, was enhanced by the establishment of the Native particularly with regard to women's roles, women's Authorities and Native Authority Courts to enforce the sexuality, marriage, divorce, adultery, and childbirth reconstituted customary law (Parpart, 1994). (Amadiume, 1987). Under the guidance of the colonial state, local leaders engineered the Women's position was worsened by their loss of land establishment and institutionalization of the gender to white settlers, the introduction of Hut and Poll discriminative laws, which legitimised not just the taxes, x and the subsequent migration of male labour. exclusion of African women from political life, but also The colonial state-imposed taxes, intended to coerce their subordination in the private sphere. This set in African men into finding jobs on settler farms or in motion the process wherein gender reforms continue urban areas in order to be able to pay their taxes to be motivated by a desire to strengthen elite, (Kitching, 1980), led to a massive male out-migration. patriarchal political power. Charged with adjudicating This resulted in women becoming indirectly according to customary law, African chiefs and male responsible for men's tax obligations as husbands THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in Kenya and sons commonly spent longer periods of time reproducers gave them forms of power and status, away (Oduor & Kabira, 2000). Women's labour time and hence they were not merely passive victims of thus became over-utilised as they had to maintain male dominance. They possessed the latitude to agricultural production in the absence of their men, in exert influence on daily life, land ownership, religious order to feed themselves and their children. The new rituals, and even the political realm. The coming policies had the effect of laying the legal groundwork together of the two cultures can thus be said to have for social, cultural and economic changes in African engineered a situation where gender relations were women's roles. For example, the fact that the colonial modified and distorted to fit the changed labour market favoured male employees made men circumstances. In the words of McClendon (1995, pp. the primary income earners which in turn altered the 535-536), "the cloth of female subordination was gender identities of rural African women as they were resewn in a new social order" as the gender power of no longer the primary source of income or wealth. patriarchy within traditional cultures reinforced that of This, on the one hand, lifted men from traditional economies to tangible economic endeavours, while on the other it relegated women to the private world of The African state and ruling elite have failed to pursue unpaid domestic work on production and human women's empowerment because they too benefit reproduction. This scenario not only altered gender from patriarchy. Obbo (1980) has noted that because power relations and marginalized women further, but Africa's elite depend heavily on the patriarchal family also demonstrates the co-optation of gender relations production system to generate the surplus that they and elite control of women in the interests of state expropriate for their own power and riches, they have and patrilineage. not shied away from actually using state institutions to support and sustain African patriarchy. For It should, however, be clear that the colonial era did example, although a majority of African states have not invent female subordination. Although older put in place legal frameworks for women's equal males tended to have more political authority and rights to land, structural, cultural and economic access to productive resources than women in constraints continue to limit women's access to and pre-colonial African societies, women had control over land (Harrington & Chopra, 2010). This considerable autonomy that helped dilute tendencies observation is reiterated by Sara Longwe's (1994) towards male dominance (Robertson & Berger, claim that gender inequality does not arise from any 1986). In some communities, women had parallel accidental or irrational imbalance. Rather, it is authority structures to those of men, and these intrinsic to a system of patriarchal control, which is enabled women to have control over their own operated by men for their own benefit.
spheres of activity. Furthermore, women's role as agricultural producers and as social and biological THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in Kenya Of particular importance in this paper is women's Using a similar argument, Fatton (1989) has argued exclusion from political leadership opportunities and that the marginalisation of women in Africa was a resources at all levels of government, with less than result of ruling class hegemony in post-colonial one in five parliamentarians across the world being African states. Lacking legitimacy as a result of women (McCann, 2013). having inherited the colonial legacy of "bureaucratic authoritarianism, pervasive patron-client relations, NEO-PATRIMONIALISM, PARTRIACHY AND and a complex ethnic dialectic of assimilation,
fragmentation and competition" (Berman, 1998, p. 305), the ruling class concentrated on defending their An obvious consequence of the resultant male interests at the expense of subordinate groups, dominance in social, economic and political life was, among them women. In that process, gender was and continues to be the exclusion of women from the used as "a means to consolidate the closure of same. Of particular importance in this paper is classes" which partly involved the ruling class women's exclusion from political leadership blocking entry to independent and autonomous opportunities and resources at all levels of women by eliminating their independent groups of government. In addition to entrenching and representation and by reducing their participation in legitimating patriarchal norms, post-independence decision-making (Fatton, 1989, p. 47-57). Kenya's paternalist patriarchal government also structured politics in a way that limited, if not This meant that post-colonial African leaders reneged prevented, the potential for women's leadership. on promises made to address women's concerns and Politics and the state were dominated by a gender equality during the nationalist struggles. In predominantly male ruling political class that was also fact, rather than sharing with women the fruits of unapologetically masculinist (Nyokabi, 2008). In an liberation, successive post-Independence attempt to achieve hegemony, the post-colonial state governments across Sub-Saharan Africa sought to also used women's subordination and the ideology of re-domesticate women and to construct the real male domination as unifying factors that could African woman (as opposed to her Western galvanise support from men as a group, alongside emancipated counterpart) as the embodiment of the adoption of neo-patrimonial politics. tradition and a symbol of African nationalism. This construction was also generally accompanied by Despite the low legitimacy and tribal politics that morality discourses that focused on women's divided the ruling classes, a unifying male ideology sexuality, which became central to notions of helped shape alliances between African state nationhood and national belonging. The discourses institutions and patriarchal kin and family structures idealised motherhood to the exclusion of women's to perpetuate customary traditions that were other social, economic and political roles, and as discriminatory towards women.
THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in Kenya Obbo (1989) has noted, discourses about the proper Women's exclusion has meant women remain largely woman and her reproductive potential were also unrepresented in state governance, which has in turn crucial to notions of national belonging. allowed women's issues to be sidelined (Fatton, 1989). For example, besides Rwanda, which boasts The unfavourable impact of patriarchy and male of more than 50 per cent female representation in domination in structures of power has been Parliament, followed by South Africa with 46 per cent, exacerbated by the neo-patrimonial nature of Kenyan many countries in the continent lag far behind (Devlin politics. By creating an environment in which state & Elgie, 2008). The Sub- Saharan region is noted to power is sought for personal enrichment (Cammack have a female Parliamentary representation of about et al. 2007), the agenda of most politicians and 20 per cent (Yoon, 2011). While there has been a political parties has been to gain power, which is sprinkling of women in Kenyan politics, they have sustained through the allocation of public positions to been too few and have either been socialized into an political supporters and the distribution of public androcentric political ethos, or too connected to the resources amongst ethnic power bases that in turn ruling class through femocracy to be of significant use provide political support and legitimacy (Dorman, to the larger majority of Kenyan women. Mama 2006). Because these patron-clientele relationships (1995) defines femocracy as: often have a gender element in their composition and An anti-democratic female power structure, which operation, and negotiations are normally done claims to exist for the advancement of ordinary outside the public forum, Kenyan women as a group women, but is unable to do so because it is have largely been excluded as benefactors in dominated by a small clique of women whose state-linked clientelism (Tripp, 2001). Instead, male authority derives from their being married to powerful political elites at the national level maintain power men, rather than from any actions or ideas of their through collusion with male leaders of sub-national own. (1995, p. 41) ethnic and religious groups. Elections are therefore unusually competitive and some candidates engage To Mama, femocracies exploit the commitment of the in electoral malpractices such as violence and bribery international movement towards greater gender to win. Additionally, women often lack financial equality in the interests of a small female elite. In resources to run a campaign or to buy themselves Kenya, femocracy has not only ensured that only elite into male-dominated clientelistic networks that women benefit from patronage networks, but also control elections. All of these factors prevent women helped reinforce patriarchal social systems. This as a whole group – despite their class and ethnic stems from the fact that the femocrats assume the differences – from exercising their constitutional right right to represent all female citizens and their to vote and participate in politics. concerns, while in fact endorsing their husband's and/or male relations political agendas (Gouws, THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in Kenya 2004). This is more so because almost all female She told the female Presidential candidate, Charity political leaders often are by class or marriage, Ngilu, that Kenyans still needed the fatherly guidance associated with the ruling elite. For example, in of the then president, Daniel arap Moi (Juma, 2003).
December 2001, the ruling party KANU introduced a parliamentary motion aimed at reducing the number The women's movement in Kenya has in the past of female nominees to the East African Legislative been constrained by authoritarian neo-patrimonial Assembly (Nasong'o, 2005). Three governments that have not shied away from KANU-nominated female Members of Parliament, co-opting them and/or their leaders into state one of them the leader of Maendeleo ya Wanawake feminism. President Moi, at the height of his power, Organisation (MYWO), absented themselves from ordered the affiliation of the Maendeleo Ya the vote while a female nominee of another party Wanawake Organization (MYWO), the oldest and actually voted for the motion. It is possible that the largest national non-governmental organization for Kenyan women leaders' failure to champion the women, to KANU, the ruling party (Tripp, 2001). The women's agenda is related to the fact that in a co-optation and placing of this organisation under the majority of cases, the appointments of women to leadership of a fervent supporter of the ruling party leadership positions is no more than political introduced sycophancy and allowed the state to tokenism and patronage intended to serve elite control the agenda, which in turn reduced its political interests. Consequently, the women leaders' political role. Because the co-optation also involved older, and policy influence is dependent on their connection less educated middle class women, it created what to the patron, rather than on their seats in the may be referred to as "state feminism", wherein the legislature. As Njoya (2008) argues, for as long as state is able to mobilise women on its own terms Kenya's political systems and structures are guided rather than offering them an opportunity for by what he refers to as flawed masculinities, the few representation in governance. Nzomo (1996) has women who manage to get into politics are unlikely to noted that ruling-party affiliated women's alter gender relations since they get malestreamed. It organisations not only found it difficult to establish should not be assumed that placing women into their own independent agendas, but their focus was positions of authority automatically translates into a narrowed down to a set of development issues such move towards gender equality, justice and peace. as nutrition, health, women's morality, childcare and homemaking skills, in addition to dancing for the In 1997, Zipporah Kittony, the leader of the largest President and his supporters at political rallies. women's organisation in Kenya and a relative of President Moi, urged women to vote for Moi because Additionally, the co-optation also refocuses women's Kenyan women were not yet ready to rule the country mobilization from supposedly political issues to a narrow set of issues which at times result in a focus THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in Kenya on women's morality. In some instances, African Feminist research has shown that when women get states have responded to international pressure by into leadership and management positions, they can setting up politically correct institutional mechanisms bring a different perspective on political leadership. that have largely been placed under the control of For example, writing about women legislators in the handmaidens of the ruling elite, whose feminist United States of America, Neuman (1998) and understanding is often limited (Meintjes, 2010). In Epstein et al. (2005) have noted that it was only after cases where the women's movement has survived, women joined Congress that issues such as health interaction with the state has led to the replacement care, child care and support, sexual harassment, of radicalism with the idea that the movement could domestic violence and gender-based wage make strategic gains by prioritizing winnable differentials among others, were given priority.
demands from the state, while ignoring more contentious issues. Affirmative action in Kenya's Constitution is in the form of gender quotas. Quotas are a form of AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND WOMEN'S affirmative action or equal opportunity measure
designed to address the slow pace of change in the participation of women and minority groups in areas The Kenya Constitution 2010 entrenched the of society where they are historically principle of affirmative action, intended to ensure the underrepresented, including employment, education equal participation of men and women in governance. and in political institutions (McCann, 2013). To Although research into the benefits of increased promote the involvement of women in national women's presence in Parliament is inconclusive, decision-making processes, Article 81(b) of the 2010 studies have shown that female political leaders not Constitution provides that "the electoral system shall only bring to politics their own perspectives, comply with the following principle: not more than two experiences, and expertise, but are also more likely thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall than men to prioritize women-favourable legislation be of the same gender." To ensure compliance, regarding education, health, child care, and violence Article 27(8) further demands that the state take against women (Tripp & Kang, 2008). In fact, legislative and other measures to implement the according to Fraser-Moleketi (2012): principle of Article 81(b). These provisions are particularly important because women's exclusion A political system where half the population does not from policy-making state institutions has in the past fully participate limits the opportunity for men and led not just to the adoption of policies that favour men women to influence and benefit from political and at the expense of women, but also to the economic decisions.
marginalisation of issues affecting women. THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in Kenya The Constitution reserves 47 seats in the National Furthermore, as noted earlier, although the August Assembly for women, as Article 97(b) requires one 2015 deadline for the achievement of the gender woman to be elected from each county by the voters principle is fast approaching, a working formula has of the 47 counties. This is in addition to and does not yet to be developed.
bar women from vying for positions in the 290 constituencies and for the 12 political party Although the Constitutional requirements for nominations. In the Senate, Article 98 provides that women's representation were not met except at the 16 women members be nominated from political County Assemblies, it is worth noting the increased party lists. These members are additional to any number of women in the legislative bodies. It would women elected directly from counties. Two more be expected that the articulation of women's and women are nominated to represent youth and gender issues by the women's representative would persons with disability. Seemingly, the constitutional increase in comparison to yesteryears. This has provisions for same gender representation are so however not been the case. On the contrary, clear that it is virtually impossible to miscomprehend women's representatives have been accused of them in any way.
serving their own interests, more or less like male politicians, at the expense of the group they were Following the 2013 general election, the numbers of supposed to be representing. The women's women elected through the normal elective process representatives have also been accused of working were dismally low. Only 16 out of 290 female with the parties that nominated them, again at the Members of Parliament were elected. A further 47 expense of women as a group.
women were elected on women's only seats and another 5 nominated on special seats making a total While Kenya's case is still recent and there is lack percentage of female MPs 20.5%. In Senate, not a enough information on which to rate the female single woman won a senatorial seat but 18 women representatives, studies in some African countries were nominated out of a total of 68 Senators. At the have shown that although the quota system in County assembly level, only 85 (5.86%) women were countries such as Rwanda and Uganda has elected County Ward Representatives but a further significantly enhanced women's presence in 24.2% were nominated to attain the required 30%. representative politics, the ability of the nominated Not a single woman was elected governor and there women to influence public policy has been curtailed continues to be no female governor in the country. by patronage (Goetz, 2003). Because women However, the Kenya state continues to remain silent appointed through quotas tend to owe their although the Constitution requires the government to allegiance to the party leaders who nominated them, take measures to implement the 2/3 gender principle.
they have been unable to champion women's interests, especially if the issues are not supported by THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in Kenya the generally male party leadership. In fact, in Uganda, women representatives have been forced by the ruling elite to support bills that are Neo-patrimonialism in Kenya has historically, as discriminatory towards women (Goetz, 2003). It is shown in this paper, relates to the centralization of therefore possible that the performance of female power within the executive arm of government, and representatives in the Kenyan legislature will be the resultant use of this power to acquire and reward constrained by the same partisan loyalties as male supporters. Not surprising, the 2010 Constitution MPs, as discussed earlier. drastically reduced the powers of the executive and strengthened the Parliamentary and judicial arms of government. There has been achievements to this end can be seen. With regard to women's representation, although I agree with some of the arguments against gender quotas, and specifically the observation that adding women to existing social and political structures may do little to eradicate the discrimination and inequities from which they perennially suffer, I support the affirmative action principle as stipulated in Kenya's Constitution. Such provisions mark the potential for institutional transformation, even if their realisation may require additional systemic and structural changes.
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THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in Kenya The Kenyan state has not expressly spoken against the two thirds gender principle but has also not acted to implement the constitutional provision providing for it.
To promote the involvement of women in national decision-making processes, Article 81(b) of the Constitution provides that "the electoral system shall comply with the following principle: not more than two thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender." Additionally, to ensure compliance, Article 27(8) further demands that the state take legislative and other measures to implement the principle of Article 81(b).
Social scientists add the modifier neo- to patrimonialism to distinguish what they regard as a modern variant of Weber's (1947) ideal type with one in which patrimonial logic characterized by patronage, clientelism, and corruption prevails (Pitcher et al. 2009).
Some researchers, such as Erdman and Engel (2007), have noted that significant elements of patrimonialism survive and thrive even in the most highly industrialized present societies.
It should be noted that some scholars have located the origin of neo-patrimonialism in pre-colonial patterns of behaviour in which patrimonial considerations are presented as having been paramount (Chabal & Daloz, 1999; Ekpo, 1979). Some other researchers also see the reality of contemporary Africa as being the product of both pre-colonial and colonial practices (Dia, 1996; Kohli, 2004). As a result of scarcity of money and manpower, British colonialists ruled through local tribal leaders, particularly chiefs, to implement colonial policies (Berry, 1992; Jua, 1995).
Mamdani (1996) has noted that indirect rule resulted in decentralized despotism, in which local chiefs were granted increased power with often weakened downward accountability.
In accepting what could constitute customary law, colonial administrators introduced a repugnancy test which they used to gauge which African practices were inadmissible (Ndulo, 2011). However, the colonial administrators' choice for what was repugnant has been criticised because provisions that were struck out were mainly those that empowered women and were contrary to the Victorian views as to the role of women in society. For example, practices that were declared repugnant included woman-to-woman marriage and paternity rules. Surprisingly, many contemporary contentious issues such as female circumcision, polygamy and discriminatory inheritance practices were not challenged.
The government established two parallel court systems, one under the administration for Africans and another under the judiciary for others such as Europeans (Mamdani, 1999). African courts handled customary law disputes, involving matters such as bride-wealth, adultery, runaway wives and daughters, minor assaults, theft and land, while disputes involving whites or Asians, and other more serious offenses such as rape and murder, were heard by magistrates. Muslims could take their disputes to the local Islamic court (Shadle, 1999, 2008). The 1901 Hut Tax Regulation imposed a tax, payable in kind or labour, upon every native hut in British East Africa.
THE WALLS WE CAN'T SEEPublic Policy Lethargy on Women's Political Participation in Kenya A good example is the 1969 repeal of the Affiliations Act, which had allowed unmarried mothers to legally demand that the fathers pay for children they have outside wedlock. During debate in Parliament, male Members of Parliament who were otherwise divided on tribal politics employed a rhetorical strategy pitting the traditional against the modern and the customary against the civil, to galvanize support from men as a group and therefore institutionalized a law that preserved men's privileged legal position, while disempowering women (Thomas, 2003).
It is important to distinguish this definition from the Western conceptualization. Eisenstein (1996), who first conceptualized the term femocrats in relation to Australia, argues that feminist bureaucrats representing feminist goals bring feminism into state institutions, thereby promoting the feminist gendering of policies. To her, Australian feminists succeeded in making women's issues like child care and domestic violence part of the mainstream political agenda.
The East African Legislative Assembly is an organ of the East African Community established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. The East African Legislative Assembly has 27 selected members, 9 from each of the three partner states. Assembly rules require political parties to ensure that at least a third of their nominations to the East African parliament are women. The gender aspect proved inconvenient to the Kenya African National Union (KANU) ethnic/regional based nominations and the party sought an amendment to the rule, with the result that it nominated one instead of two women (Nasong'o, 2005).


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