MPs push to have knotty gender rule invalidated

MPs push to have knotty gender rule invalidated

Lesgislators want the elusive two-thirds gender requirement on elective posts deleted through a referendum, arguing it is impossible to attain.

The lawmakers argue that it is not possible to force Kenyans to vote a woman candidate in a democratic exercise, and that the requirement should be deleted and only observed in appointive positions.

Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee Chairman Jeremiah Kioni said the two-thirds gender rule was only agreed by politicians during the drafting of the 2010 Constitution to stabilise the country and cool tempers.

“There is none of the formulas that have a solution to the implementation of this rule because you cannot take away my right on who to vote for. It is not implementable,” Kioni said in a plenary discussion on the thorny issue last month.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said Parliament has done what is humanly possible to implement the rule, but has not made headways.
“This is our Constitution; let us live with its contents. Let’s change what we can and live with other provisions, and I don’t think someone can dissolve Parliament over two-thirds gender rule,” he said.

“You cannot compel citizens to elect either men or the other gender,” Muturi said.

Deputy Minority Whip Maoka Maore said execution of the two-thirds rule amounts to preferential treatment of one gender and cannot work on elective positions.

“I have a daughter in high school; why I’m I not allowed to pay less school because of her gender?” posed Maore.
After failing a record five times to pass the two-thirds Gender Bill, anyone at the moment can petition the Chief Justice, who shall then advise the President to dissolve Parliament.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has petitioned the CJ on the matter, but Majority Leader Amos Kimunya scoffed at the Society’s petition.
“There are some noises being made outside there by somebody calling himself a President of a society that he can dissolve Parliament. Let us see if he can do that,” Kimunya dared LSK.

According to Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo, dissolution of Parliament on account that it is not properly constituted may also mean that all the laws it has passed since 2016 are illegal.

Dr Amollo, who is one of the drafters of the 2010 Constitution, said the only way out of the situation is to delete the requirement from the Constitution via a referendum.

“We have a looming danger because it is possible for the President to dissolve Parliament,” Dr Amolo said.

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