July 26th 2017

Magazine / Gender Matters

Phoebe Asiyo urges MPs to pass two-third gender law

Ms Asiyo said: “Let our parliamentarians treat the gender principle as a serious matter. As a constitutional requirement there must be equality for women of this country with regard to representation in national leadership”.

By Samuel OwidaMonday, 03 Apr 2017 17:00 EAT

Former Karachuonyo MP Phoebe Asiyo has appealed to Members of Parliament to pass a bill for implementing the two-third gender rule. Ms Asiyo said the country should not go to this year’s general elections without the realization of the two-thirds gender threshold given that the constitutional timeline for its implementation had elapsed.

The former legislator observed that the gender issue should have been sorted out by the constitutional deadline of August 27 last year to meet the affirmative action goal. She said the lawmakers, both Members of National Assembly and Senate, need to find ways of coming up with the formula of ensuring that the two-thirds gender rule is achieved to avoid constitutional crisis has.

The constitutional court has directed MPs that after the expiry of sixty days any Kenyan can go to court to demand dissolution of parliament now or even immediately after this year’s August elections. Ms Asiyo said: “Let our parliamentarians treat the gender principle as a serious matter. As a constitutional requirement there must be equality for women of this country with regard to representation in national leadership”.

Speaking to journalists in Homa Bay Town on Sunday, Ms Asiyo told the MPs to obey the constitution and implement the two-thirds gender principle within the timelines given by the court. The former MP, who is among the Kenyan women pioneers in political leadership, argued that other neighbouring counties such as Uganda and Rwanda had implemented more than 50 per cent women representation in the national assembly and other key state organs hence Kenya should not be an exception.

“The whole world is moving to a 50-50 planet where women have equal representation with male counterparts in leadership. Kenya must not drag its feet in implementing the gender rule,” she added. Last week, a High Court in Nairobi gave the MPs 60 days to enact a legislation to implement the gender rule. In his ruling, Judge John Mativo said the two Houses had failed to perform their duties as obligated in constitution by failing to pass the legislation to support the gender law implementation.

According to the judge’s ruling, failure by the MPs to adhere to the timeline could leave Parliament risking dissolution. Last year efforts to address the gender parity issue hit a snag after the MPs failed to pass Amendment Bill 2015 that could see the implementation of the gender rule takes effect with some MPs complaining of blackmail as others accused some women MPs of absconding their duty to lead from front.

The writer is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Homa Bay County





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