NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 5 – The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) has accused the National Assembly of frustrating the implementation of the two-thirds gender rule.
CIC Commissioner Catherine Mumma on Friday said The Two-Third Gender Rule Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015 the House was considering was aimed at subverting and not meeting the August 27 deadline set by the Supreme Court for not more than two thirds of those in Parliament to be of the same gender.
“It simply seeks to add the word progressive to Article 81 of the Constitution which would also affect County Assemblies which are already in compliance with Article 27(8) in this regard,” she said at a meeting with members of the media.
A bill which if allowed to pass, she said, would set a bad precedent. “Affirmative action aside, the two-thirds principle should be implemented within the timelines set because the Kenyan people popularly voted in the Constitution as a whole.
“If we start to pick and choose when and what we want to implement, we may as well decide to revert devolved functions to the national government until a more suitable time which will never come.”
Mumma also took issue with the argument that nominating women to Parliament as was done with County Assemblies to be compliant with the principle, is too expensive.
“There are ways to deal with the cost. We should first look at the fact that our MPs are some of the most exorbitantly paid in the world and what about the Sh69 billion Kenya loses annually to corruption? Equality is only expensive to those who’ve haven’t been getting the shorter end of the stick.”
The formulae the CIC backs is that which was propagated by the late former Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo: an elective process first then nominations to ensure compliance with the two-thirds rule.
“Unlike what is popularly thought, Article 90 requires that even the nomination process be competitive; not set aside for girlfriends and wives,” Mumma said.
Besides, she continued to argue, the nominations are only meant to give women, “a shot in the arm,” as the ideal situation would be to have the gender equality envisioned in the constitution met at the elective stage.