Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Monday, 4 May 2015

MPs fight bid to change gender law

Women MPs and advocacy groups have opposed a proposal to amend the Constitution and shelve the timeline to adhere to the gender principle.
Parliament has found it difficult to implement the constitutional requirement that “not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender”.
Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman Samuel Chepkong’a last week published and introduced in the National Assembly, the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill seeking to remove the five- year deadline for implementation and instead allow Parliament do it “progressively”.
But Nyeri Woman Representative Priscilla Nyokabi said the Bill was not the best way to deal with the issue. There are better ways developed by a taskforce of technocrats that had been working on possible solutions, she said.
PROGRESSIVE FOREVER
“If we needed more time, Parliament can still extend by a year and find the best formula rather than have it remain progressive forever,” Ms nyokabi added.
Nyandarua County Woman Representative Wanjiku Muhia said: “Progressive means lack of commitment in the implementation.
“If we allow this, it may never happen. If we obey deadlines on other matters, so should it be on gender issues,” she said.
Nominated Senator Beatrice Elachi and Nairobi Woman Representative Rachel Shebesh have also vowed to have the Bill shot down.
After the First Reading, the Constitution states that there should be at least 90 days until the Second Reading of the Bill, where real debate starts.
The Chepkong’a Committee is expected to use that time to conduct public hearings, where the alternatives or improvements to the proposed law would be considered.