NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 5 – Two women rights groups are set to file a petition Monday to challenge the conduct of Parliament and the Attorney General with regards to the two thirds gender principle.
The Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW) and the National Women’s Steering Committee (NWSC) will be seeking determination if Parliament is acting in the interest of Kenyans, specifically women.
“The group shall also be seeking declaratory orders from the court as directing that Parliament enact with immediate effect and within a specific and determined timeline before the next General Election a mechanism to operationalise the not more than two thirds gender principle mechanism,” they said in a statement.
The lobbies further indicate that they want the court to direct that any elective or appointive body following the next General Election which will have more than two thirds of same gender will be unconstitutional and cannot be sworn in nor transact any business.
“If Parliament then fails to enact the requisite mechanism, the group shall then petition for the dissolution of Parliament,” they stated.
They explained that following the failure of Parliament to enact a mechanism to implement the two thirds gender principle, the country is facing the possibility of a constitutional crisis which will affect the outcome of the next General Election.
They stressed the need for the political class to take every measure to ensure the country is not plunged into this crisis by putting in place the necessary mechanism to effect the constitutional principle.
“The principles enshrined in Article 81 (b) on not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender, is fundamental to the credibility and integrity of the electoral process in as much as article 81 (a, d & e) on freedom of citizens to exercise their political rights,” they pointed out.
Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai had cautioned Parliament of a possible dissolution over their continued failure to pass the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill of 2015 on the two thirds gender principle.
In a letter to Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi and his Senate counterpart Ekwee Ethuro, the AG noted that the law can now only be revisited after six months.
The Constitution required Parliament to enact the law in a bid to give effect to the two thirds gender principle by August 27 last year but it was extended by one year.
He has urged both Houses to urgently convene a stakeholders meeting in a bid to resolve the contentious issues in order to curb an imminent constitutional crisis.
In 2012 the Supreme Court in an advisory opinion pronounced itself clearly saying the two thirds gender rule must be implemented progressively.
The Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2015 shot down by the National Assembly sought to amend Articles 97 and 98 of the Constitution to provide for the creation of special seats to top up on the number of elected female legislators.
Two months ago the National Gender and Equality Commission similarly sounded a warning to MPs that it will move to the Supreme Court to declare Parliament illegal for failing to pass the law within the required timeline.