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Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (centre) with Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu (second left), Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua (second right)and other leaders during the launch of the BBI signatures at KICC, Nairobi on November 25, 2020.

BBI

BBI Bill seeks to end Two-Thirds Gender Rule stalemate

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 26 – The entrenched gender inequality in the country where women feel marginalized in elective politics and decision making may finally find a solution, if the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Constitutional  Amendment Bill (2020) is passed.

The Bill, whose signature collection kicked off Wednesday, proposes that no more than two-thirds of parliamentarians will be of the same gender.

It recommends the abolishment of the 47  Women RepresentativeS from the National Assembly to be replaced by 2 women and 2 men representing people living with disabilities. A male and female representing the youth will also be nominated to the house.

If the Bill passes, Kenyans will also be required to vote for two senators, a male and a female in a constitutional move that aims at curing the Two-Thirds Gender rule stalemate.  

The National Assembly will consist of three hundred and sixty elected members from the current two hundred and ninety.

When the BBI taskforce committee collected views, women and girls said that they felt excluded and marginalized, particularly in elective politics.

On September 21, Chief Justice David Maraga advised President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament for failing to pass the two-third gender rule laws.

Maraga said Parliament’s failure to enact a law to operationalize the constitutional provision amount to an act of impunity.

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In his advice, Maraga said he acted following six petitions filed pursuant to Article 261 (7) of the Constitution.

Parliament has failed to enact the gender rule that seeks to have more women in Parliament for the last 10 years.

On Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake partner former Prime Minister Raila Odinga led Kenyans in appending their signatures to endorse the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), Bill.

The signature collection exercise kicked off at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) with a section of leaders and Kenyans also signing to endorse the initiative.

“This is a progressive country and Kenyans must be prepared for change,” he said and urged the public to “overwhelmingly support the process for a prosperous and united Kenya for generations to come.”

Governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Senators Gideon Moi (Baringo) Moses Wetangula (Bungoma) and former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto were among leaders who signed for BBI.  

Deputy President William Ruto who has been pushing for a consensus did not attend the event.

BBI Secretariat’s Joint Secretaries Dennis Waweru and Junet Mohammed unveiled www.bbisignatures.org for Kenyans to sign online for one week from Wednesday.

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