Report wants gender rule made mandatory

Friday, October 23rd, 2020 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta receives the BBI report from the taskforce vice chair Adams Oloo at Kisii State Lodge on Wednesday. With them is ODM party leader Raila Odinga. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

The elusive gender parity conundrum may be cured if the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) recommendation is adopted. 

The taskforce wants adoption of representation system where by a county will not be governed by persons from the same gender. 

The governor will run on a sole ticket without a running mate, and will appoint a deputy from the opposite gender upon election.

This has also been buttressed by a proposal that the country elects 94 senators, with each county being allowed to elect a woman and a man. 

The proposal is intended to replace the positions of Woman Rep,  who apparently sit in the National Assembly.

And while the 290 constituencies will be retained, the National Assembly will have 360 members based on proportional representation of votes attained at each county level. 

This means that political parties will have the mandate to fill the remaining 70 seats.

The additional 70 seats will be allocated on the strength of actual votes cast per county and will be distributed among youths, people with disabilities and women, thereby giving women an added advantage. 

“Members representing the individual constituencies in the National Assembly will be based on a county party list presented to the election body prior to the election date,” the Bill states.

In order to ensure that gender equity is fully adhered to by political parties, the county party list must follow the zebra model of opposite gender in order to achieve gender parity.

Appointive bodies 

“Clause 10 of the Bill proposes to amend Article 91 (Basic Requirements for Political Parties) to require political parties to take measures to implement the principle that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender,” the Bill proposes. 

Kenyans have been toying with the two-thirds gender parity issue for 10 years since the enactment of the 2010 Constitution, leading to Chief Justice David Maraga recommending the dissolution of Parliament for failing to operationalise the requirement.

In his advisory to President Uhuru Kenyatta last month, Maraga said Parliament’s failure to enact a law to operationalise the constitutional provision amounts to an act of impunity.

Maraga said he is acting following six petitions filed in pursuant to Article 261 (7) of the Constitution.

He said the petitions received between April 2019 and July 2020 had been consolidated into one.

The petitions were based on the failure by lawmakers to comply with four court orders compelling Parliament to enact the legislation despite a Supreme Court order issue in 2015.

In the last General Election, only three women were elected as governors including the late Joyce Laboso (Bomet), Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Ann Waiguru (Kirinyaga) and an equal number in the Senate, among them Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu), Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo) and Susan Kihika (Nakuru).

And at least 23 women were elected to the National Assembly, up from the 16 elected in the 2013.

This, added to the 47 women-only seats and half of the 12 nominees by political parties, to bring the total to 76, which still fell short by 41 seats to make 117 or one-third of the 349 MPs. 

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