12th Parliament convenes not later than Sept 7 amid gender row

August 21, 2017 11:57 am
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Out of the 290 elective positions for the National Assembly, only 23 women were elected while the Senate has only three women elected out of 47/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 21 – Barely a week after women lobby groups moved to court to stop the reconvening of Parliament over failure to meet the constitutionally provided two-thirds gender rule, National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai says the 12th Parliament shall convene not later than September 7.

Led by the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA- Kenya), the lobby groups want the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) stopped from presenting a list of elected Members of both the National Assembly and Senate for swearing-in, unless they meet the two-thirds gender threshold.

Out of the 290 elective positions for the National Assembly, only 23 women were elected while the Senate has only three women elected out of 47.

The lobby groups argue that the total does not reach 117 members required to reach the gender threshold.

On Friday, IEBC published the names of 47 Governors and their deputies, as well as 47 Senators and 47 County Woman Representatives giving them the green light to assume office.

The poll agency has not yet published the names of the 1,450 MCAs and 289 National Assembly members.

A parliamentary election was not held in Kitutu Chache South following the death of the Jubilee candidate two weeks to the poll. IEBC postponed the election to a later date.

In an advertisement appearing in Monday’s newspapers, Sialai said traditionally, the date of the first sitting of any Parliament after a General Election is usually determined by the President.

“Pursuant to the provisions of Article 126(2) of the Constitution, the date for the first sitting of the new House is appointed by the President and should not be more than thirty days after the election, that is not later than 7th September, 2017,” the Clerk of the National Assembly explained.

During the inaugural sitting of the 12th Parliament, the only business slated to take place is the swearing-in of the MPs and election of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

The election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker follows the administration of Oath or Affirmation of Office to MPs present.

The MPs will, however, undergo a pre-swearing-in and familiarization session and induction programme which scheduled to run for five days.

Sialai says the MPs will be taken through various topics such as rules of procedure in the House; “processing of legislative businesses; the committee system; services available to members; conduct and privileges of members, among other subjects.”

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