Raila met women leaders in a closed-door meeting to discuss COVID-19.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga has met a host of women leaders including governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga) to reportedly discuss the future of Kenya after the coronavirus pandemic.

Raila who has been on the forefront to unite the country and ensure inclusivity in leadership to avoid post-election violence noted the meeting also looked at constitutional reforms to address gender parity.

The private session was held at the former premier’s Capitol Hill office in Nairobi on Wednesday, May 20, and brought together women from different political parties.

Raila wrote on Twitter:

Met with women leaders drawn from all political parties to discuss issues including the post-COVID 19 scenario, gender matters in the ongoing constitution amendment debate and national unity as being key for the recovery of our country.

Ngilu and Waiguru have emerged as Kenya’s most vocal and formidable women leaders who have been advocating for gender equality in leadership and governance.

They have been on the frontline in championing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report being driven by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila. 

Before coronavirus struck, the BBI popularisation campaigns were in top gear with reports then indicating the country could head into a referendum before the end of 2020.

Despite the disruption brought by the pandemic, Raila has maintained the intended reforms would be implemented at the earliest opportunity possible.

Speaking on Saturday, May 16, when he attended the burial of Tecra Muigai, daughter of Keroche Breweries founders Joseph and Tabitha Karanja, the ODM leader said the BBI drive was on halftime and had not stalled as some people were purporting “This is a time for us to rise and work together as a people.

Raila said nobody could stop it:

This resonates very well with the message of building bridges that we have been conveying with President Uhuru Kenyatta and we are sure that this will succeed. After the corona crisis, we will converge again. Reggae is on halftime. After coronavirus, reggae will continue. Nobody can stop it.

The debate on whether the country should hold a referendum to decide the fate of the elusive report has divided the political class and Kenyans at large with some proposing that the changes be implemented through a parliamentary process to cut down the cost.

Deputy President William Ruto and his allies are among a section of leaders who have openly criticised the report terming it ” a selfish draft for selfish political brokers”. Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni recently proposed a bill that if given nod by Parliament, will see the BBI referendum held alongside the 2022 General Election to minimise costs.

(H/T Tuko)