, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5 – Kenya Women Parliamentarians (KEWOPA) now wants the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee to withdraw the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) 2015 Bill proposing the progressive implementation of the two thirds gender rule.
Led by KEWOPA chairperson Cecily Mbarire (Runyenjes), the MPs decried the move by committee chairman Samuel Chepkong’a to disregard proposals by fellow members and instead doctored the Bill to insert the progressive option which deletes the five-year deadline to implement the two third gender rule.
“We ask Chepkong’a to immediately withdraw the Bill from the floor of the House. We don’t think this is kind for the women of Kenya. There should be consultation on how we can achieve the two-thirds gender rule,” said Mbarire.
“We are going to remove our gloves and fight for the rights of women in this country. We got them painstakingly; we must defend them without fear or favour. As women we are coming out strongly on this matter,” she added.
Nyeri County Woman Representative Priscilla Nyokabi who deputises Chepkong’a in the Legal Affairs Committee said she was equally surprised at the turn of events proposing that wider consultations be held with regard to the implementation of the two-thirds gender rule to ensure that come 2017 more women are elected.
“The matter of progressive was not one of the options. Postponement of the gender principle was not one of the issues,” she confirmed.
The proposals by the Legal Affairs Committee include party lists where women would be encouraged to vie for the 290 slots so that more women are elected compared to now where there are only 16 elected women. The option of proportionate women elected according to the size of the counties and lastly pairing of the constituencies where the 290 are paired to create 145 special seats for women.
The legislators say they were perplexed at how fast the bill was brought before the House and the fact that a motion to reduce the publishing days of the Bill from 14 to one was passed.