Intersex person gets parliament’s approval for a state job for the first time in Kenya’s history.
Parliament made history on Tuesday when it approved the first intersex person for the top role at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.
Dr. Dennis Nyongesa Wamalwa, a self-described intersex person, was authorized by MPs, making him the first person of the third gender to hold a high-ranking position in government.
His acceptance also sends a message about the country’s commitment to recognizing third-gender people.
The university don narrated to the vetting committee how he has suffered several human rights violations due to his intersex gender.
Intersex people are born with a mix of male and female biological characteristics.
According to the 2019 census, there are 1,524 intersex persons in Kenya, accounting for 0.003% of the total population.
Nyongesa alongside four others were nominated by President Uhuru Kenyatta to the KNCHR.
The four are Roseline Doreen Adhiambo Odhiambo – Odede (chairperson), Prof Marion Wanjiku Mutugi, Dr Raymond Plal Sangsang Nyeris and Ms Sara Talaso Bonaya.
MPs praised the committee for conducting thorough diligence and taking the minority’s interests into account in approving the nominations.
Nyongesa’s nomination stands out, according to Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie, as a confirmation that the country is committed to recognizing members of the third gender.
“For the first time in the history of this country, a self-confessed intersex individual will be nominated to a national independent commission,” Kiarie said.
“There is a growing clamour for recognition of the third gender in the name of the intersex.”
“Nyongesa in addition to being well learned also represents a minority,” Rarieda MP Otiende Amolo said.
Homa Bay MP Opondo Kaluma said the appointment of Nyongesa is a bold recognition of the third gender in the country.
“This would be the first person joining a government agency of that magnitude,” Kaluma said.