Vote on two-thirds gender bill flops following quorum hitch

Written By: Samuel Musita

The bill had sought to have Parliament conform to the two thirds gender principle provided for in article 81(b) of the constitution

Efforts by the leader of majority  in National assembly  Adan Duale to  push for the passage of the  Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2018 have yet again been proved futile after parliament failed to achieve the constitutional threshold of 233 members.

Only 174 members were present in parliament during the exercise.

While announcing the numbers Wednesday, the speaker Justin Muturi said the exercise will not proceed to the next level of voting terming it an exercise in futility.

Initially the process faced some technological hitches forcing the speaker to order for a physical headcount. This is the fourth time the bill has failed to be voted for in parliament.

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In the last session, the bill did not see the light of the day after it was withdrawn by Leader of Majority Aden Duale due to lack of quorum to send it to the third reading stage.

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At least two-thirds majority or 233 of the 349 MPs in the National Assembly are required to be present in the House before the question is tabled.

The Constitution states that no gender shall be more than two-thirds both in elective and appointive positions in public service.

The National Assembly has 76 women legislators out of 349 MPs, representing 21.77 per cent of total members. At least 39 more female legislators are required to meet the constitutional threshold. The Senate, with 21 women members out of 67 (14 percent), is three members shy of the constitutional requirement of at least 30 percent.

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Parliament finds itself in a tight spot following the failure by members to pass the bill as anyone can petition the High Court to have it dissolved by the President on the advice of the Chief Justice.

Meanwhile, Women parliamentarians are now calling for the dissolution of the parliament after it failed to pass the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill 2018.

They say parliament as currently constituted does not meet the constructional threshold on gender parity.

The women leaders who spoke immediately after parliament for the fourth time hit a quorum hitch to pass the bill further accused the government of not being serious in pushing for women issues.

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They criticized the government of being pretentious and hypocritical when it comes to implementation of the bill.

The women leaders led by Kandara Member of Parliament Alice Wahome also called out the leader of majority in the national assembly Adan Duale for playing monkey games with women matters accusing him of not being committed in pushing for the passage of the bill.

It is on this premise that they have now threatening not to engage in any issue touching on referendum until their grievances are addressed.

The women leaders under their association also expressed their disappointment in the male colleagues whom they  have been lobbying to support the bill.



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