Woman Reps, Nominated MPs to go in structure change

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 00:00 |
Constitution of Kenya. Photo/Courtesy

Taxpayers will bear the burden of meeting the cost of additional MPs in a bid to address the elusive two-thirds gender rule as recommended by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

The report released yesterday proposed an increase in the number of senators from the current 67 to 94 and Members of the National Assembly from the current 349 to 360 to deal with gender inequalities.

However, the proposal will see the positions of 47 Woman Representatives and nominated leaders in both Houses scrapped.

“The Steering Committee also received a large number of submissions on the need to increase the participation of women in the electoral process.

It was submitted that women face significant hurdles in achieving gender parity in elective positions,” reads the report.

“That there shall be the equalisation of representation and equality of citizenship, as much as possible, by ensuring that each Kenyan vote has the same status and power, as envisaged in the Constitution,” says the report.

There has been an argument that Kenyans are over-represented due to the 2010 Constitution.

Currently there are 2,600 representatives who include members of the National Assembly and Senators who are 416 in total and Ward Representatives.

A report by the Auditor General has indicated that Kenya spends Sh20.6 million annually on a single MP and their parliamentary staff - Sh7 million more than it spent before the 2010 Constitution.

The Kenyan Parliament is one of the largest in the world compared to some countries in Africa with bigger economies like Nigeria which, for instance, with 175 million people has 1,447 representatives.

Neighbouring Ethiopia with a population of more than 100 million which is more than double Kenya’s - has a total  of 1,989 representatives.

The  BBI report recommends that amendments be made to the Constitution to allow for the election of 364 members, each elected by the registered voters from 290 constituencies constituting single and multiple member constituencies.

The same amendments proposes-the deletion of 290 members, 47 woman representatives, 12 members nominated by parliamentary political parties according to their proportion of members of the National Assembly. 

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