Nairobi, Kenya – Senator Gloria Orwoba, a nominated senator who has been vocal about women empowerment and period poverty issues, has been suspended from the Senate until February 2024 over allegations of sexual favours, favouritism, discrimination, kickbacks and corruption in the House.
The Senate Powers and Privileges Committee found her in breach of Parliamentary Privilege and recommended her suspension from the House for the remainder of the second session of the 13th Parliament. This means she will return to the House in February 2024.
The Committee, chaired by Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, said that Senator Orwoba made unsubstantiated allegations of sexual favours, favouritism, discrimination, kickbacks and corruption in the Senate without providing any evidence or proof. The Committee also said that she posted disrespectful messages to other senators on the Senate Business WhatsApp group.
The Committee’s report was tabled in the House on Thursday and adopted by a majority vote. The report said that Senator Orwoba’s conduct was “unbecoming of a senator” and that she “lowered the dignity and esteem of the Senate”.
Senator Orwoba has denied the allegations and claimed that she has been targeted for whistle-blowing and exposing corruption in the Senate. She has also claimed that she was prevented from attending a UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva where she was invited as a panellist.
“I am not surprised by this decision. It is a witch-hunt and a cover-up for the rot in the Senate. I have been exposing corruption and mismanagement of public funds by some senators and their cronies. They want to silence me and intimidate me,” she said in a statement.
She added that she was invited to attend a UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva on March 15, 2023, where she was supposed to speak about women’s empowerment and period poverty issues in Kenya. However, she said that she was denied clearance by the Speaker and the Clerk of the Senate to travel.
“I was denied clearance to travel to Geneva despite having an official invitation from the UN. They said that I had not sought permission from the House Business Committee. This is a lie. I had written to them and they ignored me. They did not want me to represent Kenya at such a prestigious forum,” she said.
She said that she would appeal the suspension and seek legal redress. She also vowed to continue fighting for the rights of women and girls in Kenya.
“I will not give up. I will appeal this suspension and seek justice in court. I will also continue to champion the rights of women and girls in Kenya. I will not be cowed by these bullies who want to oppress me,” she said.