Incoming 12th parliament faces gender rule mountain

The incoming 12th Parliament will still be faced with the onerous task of developing a legal framework to implement the two thirds gender principle and avert a constitutional crisis.

This is after the number of women elected to the August house failed to achieve the required threshold with the constitution clearly stipulating that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective bodies can be of the same gender.

The 2013 election, which was the first after promulgation of the 2010 constitution produced no female Governor or Senator.

The number of elected women in the national assembly is 63, a number that includes all 47 county women representatives.

All the female Senators in the 11th Parliament were nominated by the various political parties that participated in that election.

It was expected that the legislators in August house would do the needful and implement laws to implement the two thirds gender principle but that was not to be.

Several proposals were defeated when they came up for debate even after intense lobbying by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga.

In March this year, high court Judge John Mativo directed the National Assembly to implement the principle within a period of 60 days or risk dissolution.

But by the time Parliament adjourned for the elections, every attempt at achieving the constitutional requirement had failed.

The 2017 election has however brought good tidings for Women politicians in the country following the election of 22 MPs out of the 290 constituencies and the election of three female Senators.

This however does not even come close to fulfilling the constitutional requirement. Adding that number to the 47 elected Women Representatives, the total number of elected female legislators in the National Assembly will stand at 69.

And even if all 12 nomination slots in the lower house are handed to women the number would still fall short of the requisite 116.

James Mamboleo a Nairobi based constitutional lawyer says all eyes will now be on the incoming 12th Parliament to see whether it will rise above political chauvinism to pass the much needed legislation.

The Senate will have only 3 elected female Senators out of a total of 47 senators.
As per Article 98(1) of the constitution sixteen women will be nominated by political parties to the Senate, one woman will be nominated to represent the youth and one woman to represent persons with disabilities.

This means that the number of female legislators in the Senate will be 22 out of 67 Senators and therefore the upper house has achieved the gender requirement.


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