Gender bill flops again

By Franco Kundu/Kevin Wachira

A constitutional Bill to entrench two-thirds gender rule has been rejected by the National Assembly despite spirited lobbying by women Parliamentarians.

During the second attempt on Thursday 178 MPs voted in favor, 16 opposed while 5 abstained.

Last week when the same Bill by Majority Leader Aden Duale was put to a vote, it received the support of 195 MPs.

Speaking after the defeat Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo said as women legislators, they will re-strategize to ensure sufficient representation of women, youths and the disabled.

Male MPs opposing the Bill argued it was inappropriate to pass a legislation allowing nomination of women to Parliament while ignoring persons with disabilities and the youth who are also marginalized.

However all is not lost for proponents of the gender Bill as the National Assembly awaits tabling of the Constitutional amendment Bill sponsored by Justice Committee Chair Samuel Chepkonga that seeks to achieve gender parity progressively.

Parliament has until August 27, 2016 to enact a legislation to realize Article 81 (B) of the Constitution that requires that the two thirds gender principle be implemented in elective seats for the electoral system to be legal.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had earlier urged Members of Parliament to turn up in large numbers to pass the Bill into law, in compliance with Articles 27(8) and 81(b) of the constitution on the composition of elective offices in Kenya.

The President in a statement signed by Statehouse Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the passage of the legislation would secure gender equity in Government.

Earlier Cord Leader Raila Odinga accompanied by his daughter Rosemary Odinga was in the Speaker’s gallery to express solidarity with those who had championed for the Bill.

The constitution imposes an obligation on the state to put in place legislative measures to ensure offices and bodies constituted under the constitution adhere to the two-thirds gender rule.


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