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Gender rule bills to be ready by July 21, says PS

Missing the deadline would result in dire consequences for the Senate and the National Assembly which could be declared improperly constituted/FILE

Missing the deadline would result in dire consequences for the Senate and the National Assembly which could be declared improperly constituted/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 10 – The government says it will submit two draft bills to comply with the two-third gender rule constitutional requirement in two weeks.

Devolution and Planning Principal Secretary Peter Mangiti said the ministry has been finalising proposals from various stakeholders on the controversial representation law which must be in place by August 27.

“The discussions that culminated into yesterday’s meeting with HE (His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta) are aimed at ensuring we as the Executive have a Bill that can be processed in the normal manner. We have consulted with the SG (Solicitor General) and I undertake that by the time the House is back from recess the bill will be before the House,” he told the National Assembly’s Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC).

Solicitor General Njee Muturi says the AG is currently working on the bills and should be forwarding them for Cabinet approval before they are tabled in Parliament for debate and adoption.

“The Bill that my colleague has referred to was to be discussed by the Cabinet yesterday (Thursday) unfortunately Cabinet did not sit. The representation for the Women MPs who attended, I understand they had a very fruitful meeting and they had a very good agreement with the President about publishing of the bill. Now from my understanding, the bills are legislative as well as a constitutional amendment bill unfortunately I am not privy to that bill, but the AG is working on it,” Muturi explained.

The meeting is said to have agreed to a proposal by Narok County Woman Representative Soipan Tuya which seeks to increase nomination slots to 94 from the current 16.

Tuya proposes to have a further 47 women elected to the House in order to meet the gender rule requirement.

An MP who attended Thursday’s meeting with the President said they agreed that the extra 47 women will be arrived at from list of losers in the party primaries.

“The proposal that seemed to carry more ground was that the IEBC considers party lists deposited with them after party primaries, so that if a woman loses in the primaries and her party wins the seat then the IEBC will go back to the list and alleviate her to the House.”

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“Basically, we are insisting that in order for you to qualify, you must have participated in an elective process,” she said.

This follows a meeting between Women MPs and President Kenyatta which resolved that the bills be ready by Tuesday.

READ: Women MPs want gender rule Bill withdrawn

Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) Chairman Charles Nyachae differed with the MPs Sabina Chege (Murang’a County) and Alice Wahome (Kandara) on the role of the commission in formulating the legislation.

Wahome said Kenyans voted for the new Constitution and would not let the law be abused as far as the issue of their representation in Parliament was concerned.

“From where I seat Honourable chair, there is a big difference because if it’s a bill that seeks to amend the constitution then it’s really not part of my mandate. My job is to implement the constitution,” Nyachae said.

“CIC cannot attempt to run away from this, I think we have reached a point where we must agree and be honest that we may have to do minimum, least invasive amendment to the constitution to be able to deal with this,” Wahome said in response.

CIOC chairman Njoroge Baiya said the issue was bogged down by the complexities of the political and economic challenges that come with its implementation.

Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga and Tuya have also drafted separate bills where Chepkonga wants the requirement to achieve progressively while Tuya seeks to increase nomination positions to 94.

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Missing the deadline would result in dire consequences for the Senate and the National Assembly which could be declared improperly constituted.

In ruling delivered on December 2012, the Supreme Court gave Parliament until August 27 to pass the necessary laws to achieve the goal.

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