NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 26 – A Constitutional Amendment Bill seeking to give effect to the two-thirds gender principle through the creation of special seats will be formally introduced in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Bill which is sponsored Majority Leader Aden Duale proposes that the number of special seats will be determined after the General Election and shall be shared out depending on the strength of political parties in Parliament.
According to the Constitution, not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender.
The move is aimed at providing a formula to achieve the elusive gender representation quota, which even led to some civil society organisations to move to the High Court seeking orders to dissolve the Twelfth Parliament because it fell short of the two-thirds gender rule.
The organisations which include the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya (FIDA-Kenya) cite in the National Assembly, there are a total of 76 women – 23 who are elected, 47 County Woman Representatives and six nominated. This means that it falls short by 41 women to make 117, or one-third, of the 349 MPs.
In the Senate the lobby groups, state there are 21 women – three elected members and 19 nominated – bringing the deficit to 12.
This means 53 more women would have to be nominated to the Parliament to enable the Twelfth Parliament to comply with the Constitution.
All MPs earn a monthly salary of Sh710,000 each and are also entitled to a Sh5 million car grant, Sh5,000 committee allowance per sitting and a further Sh5,000 every time they clock into the Debating Chambers.
If enacted into law, it will limit nomination of an individual to Parliament or the County Assemblies to a maximum of two terms in order to ensure that empowerment through nomination by political parties is spread to as many people as possible.
Two attempts to deliberate a similar motion in the Eleventh Parliament months before the election flopped, after a section of male and female MPs denied the House the requisite two-thirds quorum to deliberate such constitutional amendment.