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Women MPs plan own bill to quell gender rule row

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In the Bill will be proposals to increase the number of elected Woman Representatives to two per county/FILE

In the Bill will be proposals to increase the number of elected Woman Representatives to two per county/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 7 – Women Parliamentarians are drafting a Bill on the two-thirds gender rule to counter similar Bills tabled in the National Assembly by the Justice and Legal Affairs committee and another currently under review by the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution.

In the Bill will be proposals to increase the number of elected Woman Representatives to two per county, and another proposing that it be mandatory for political parties to nominate a specified number of women as candidates for elective seats.

“The way forward is to see how to increase from 47 to the number that is stipulated in the Constitution. So, we will be looking at the difference required to achieve the 30 percent… then we would have to go into a party list, but through an election as provided for by the IEBC. The other proposal is to have two Woman Reps per county and should there be a gap, the number can be filled through a nomination in accordance with Article 92,” Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire said.

Under the umbrella of the Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association the female MPs lashed out at National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi over his proposal to scrap the Woman Rep slots and nominated seats to be replaced with 100 affirmative seats saying he should have consulted them.

READ: Speaker Muturi proposes scrapping of nominated seats

“We hope he merely gave a proposal which he knows is not taken very lightly owing to the position he holds as the Speaker. We call upon him to pronounce his statement on the floor of the house and if he does that, it means he should not oversee the debate because he already has a stand on the matter,” said Mbarire.

“A Speaker is does not debate, neither does he vote; we ask him to maintain a neutral arbiters demeanour and not to add to a debate that has already taken controversial tones,” said Nyeri Woman Representative Priscilla Nyokabi.

Nyokabi added that the matter of whether the position of women was necessary was already a done deal as the Constitution had clearly set out the law and it was now the role of Parliament to implement it.

“We are going back to discuss whether women are performing or not, we are not discussing whether the country’s population is 52 percent of women or not, what we are saying is that the constitution requires the two thirds gender law to be implemented by August 27 and the women expect nothing short of that,” she retorted.

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Vocal Mombasa Woman Representative Mishi Mboko faulted Muturi’s proposal saying since the 47 Woman Reps came to Parliament, several gender related Bills had been generated.

“The Constitution was not passed by Muturi or (Samuel) Chepkong’a; it was passed by Kenyans who have the ultimate say. We are saddened that the Speaker who has experience in human rights is now infringing on the rights of women,” she said.

Nairobi Woman Representative Rachel Shebesh said it was unrealistic for the Speaker to propose to go for a referendum to ask Kenyans to ‘scrap’ the nominated and Woman Rep seats yet they had before voted for it.

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