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Chepkonga stays his ground on gender Bill

Chepkonga argues that the debate on the Bill which has already undergone First Reading in the National Assembly will continue with the option of incorporating proposals from stakeholders into the Bill/FILE

Chepkonga argues that the debate on the Bill which has already undergone First Reading in the National Assembly will continue with the option of incorporating proposals from stakeholders into the Bill/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – The National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Samuel Chepkonga has refused to bow to pressure and withdraw his Bill which pushes for progressive realization of the two-thirds gender rule.

Chepkonga argues that the debate on the Bill which has already undergone First Reading in the National Assembly will continue with the option of incorporating proposals from stakeholders into the Bill.

“It was noted that although we had proposal on the table, this was at least an effort in trying to meet the two-third gender rule because when we published it people were so against it but then they realised it has generated some discussion,” Chepkonga said.

“In fact a female member of this committee told me that no one had ever made an attempt until our committee made it; so we said this was a very positive one but we can amend this Bill so it reflects what women want.”

This emerged after the House team met the Attorney General Githu Muigai, the Gender and Equality Commission, Federation of Women Lawyers and Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association where the AG requested for a one year extension to the constitutional deadline of August 27.

The AG told the meeting the extension will allow the technical working committee he set up to come up with a common draft encompassing various proposals that have been made since the Chepkonga Bill was published.

Muigai said he also had a Bill which had not been presented to the Cabinet for approval. He agreed to submit his proposals to the Committee for considerations.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi had proposed that for the two-thirds gender rule to be achieved, articles 97(b) and 97(c) of the Constitution should be amended to abolish the provision for nominated MPs and the 47 County Woman Rep seats.

The Speaker said the clauses should be replaced with a new clause for 100 affirmative seats to comply with the requisite gender rule.

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Narok County Woman Representative Soipan Tuya has proposed a constitutional amendment that seeks each county should be allowed to elect two women representatives and the balance filled through nominations.

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