Kenya: Bill May Delay One-Third Gender Requirement

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By David Mwere
The realisation of the one-third gender rule requirement in elective bodies may be delayed if a proposed amendment Bill is passed by the National Assembly.

The Bill by Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga seeks to amend the article that says not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies can be of the same gender.

The provision is also contained in article 27 that deals with equality and non-discrimination.

"The progressive realisation of this principle shall be achieved through amendments to the statute law under the legislative framework," Chepkonga said.

The proposed amendment will be done through a parliamentary process as it does not require a referendum, the MP said.

The National Assembly is the only institution that is yet to satisfy the requirement with a shortfall of 50 women MPs out of the 117 members.

The Senate and the county governments have complied with the requirement.

If the slots are to be filled through nomination as opposed to election, it will require the taxpayer more than Sh60 million in monthly salaries, excluding committee allowances and other privileges for MPs.

In 2012, the Supreme Court held that the requirement was to be progressively realised.

It mandated Parliament until August 27 to come up with legislation on how the one- third gender rule will be met in the 2017 elections.

The court's ruling followed an advisory opinion sought by Attorney General Githu Muigai on whether the principle was to be realised by the first general election or progressively.

Chepkonga wants the realisation of this provision done beyond the date set by the Supreme Court.

The MP wants the fifth schedule of the constitution extended.

It requires all the legislation under the constitution be enacted not later than five years of the 2010 coming into force of the new constitution.

The five years end in August this year.

SOURCE: allAfrica, 17/04/2015, http://allafrica.com/stories/201504170213.html