~~The National Gender and Equality Commission has asked the Attorney General Professor Githu Muigai to publish the Bill proposed by the Technical Working Group-TWG providing for the immediate realization of the two thirds gender principle.
The development comes as it emerged that the Attorney General has advised the TWG to adopt the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee’s Bill, a position that TWG and NGEC has strongly disagreed with. The Bill proposes to amend Article 81 of the Constitution by introducing the words “progressive implementation of legislation to ensure that” at the beginning of paragraph (b).
Article 81(b) provides; “....not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender”
TWG which is convened by the National Gender and Equality Commission has proposed the option of replicating the provisions of Article 177 (b) and (c) to Articles 97 & 98 of the Constitution to realize the two thirds gender principle in parliament and Senate.
The proposal essentially obligates qualifying political parties to nominate members should the number of elected women fail to meet the not more than two-third gender threshold in the two Houses. Under this option, a raft of amendments to the Political parties Act, Elections Act and the IEBC Act have been proposed to streamline the process of political party primaries to ensure various special interests groups are nominated.
The Bill published by Chepkong’a has drawn sharp reactions from various stakeholders including the Technical Working Group, Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association and several women movements.
NGEC has contested the Bill arguing that by introducing the word progressive, the amendment claws back all the gains Kenyans have made in achieving gender equality and inclusion in political leadership and makes the timeline for achieving the two thirds gender principle as envisioned in the Constitution indefinite.
“The two-thirds gender principle is anchored in Article 27 of the Constitution on equality and non-discrimination meaning that the principle will never be realized. By extension, Kenyans must approve the proposed amendment in a referendum” said Commission Chairperson Winfred Lichuma in the statement.
“The spirit and letter of the constitution is not met and the limitation introduced by the proposed introduction of the world progressive is unreasonable
NGEC asks AG to publish Bill for immediate realization of the two thirds gender principle