Crisis looms as MPs seek elusive gender bill backing

The National Assembly could find itself in a tight spot if it fails to pass the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2018 that seeks to implement the two-thirds gender rule.

Intense lobbying has hit fever pitch ahead of voting which could take place either today or next week.

Article 261 provides that if Parliament fails to enact the legislation within the specified time, any person may petition the High Court to dissolve Parliament. Should the petition be found to hold grounds, Chief Justice David Maraga will  advise the President to dissolve Parliament.

Yesterday, women MPs were busy within Parliament corridors urging their male counterparts to support the bill ahead of voting.

In the House chambers, the women MPs dismissed claims that the  bill will benefit slay queens, girlfriends and boyfriends as being claimed by their male counterparts.

Promotes laziness

They said the bill is not meant for women only but for all genders. While contributing to the bill that is in the Second Reading stage, they said the passage of the bill will go a long way in promoting representation of marginalised groups.

MPs Janet Ong’era (Kisii), Esther Passaris (Nairobi) Faith Gitau (Nyandarua) and Sabina Chege (Murang’a) fought off claims that women will benefit more at the expense of men. Ong’era said that the bill will not only take care of women issues but will ensure there is equity.

Gitau said that the bill l is not about slay queens, boyfriends or girlfriends of the politically connected but it is for the good of the country.

But mps Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren), David Sonkok (nominated), Robert Pukose (Endebess) opposed the bill saying that women should compete with men on the ground.

Eseli said described the bill as a manifestation of laziness as it makes women just sit and wait for nomination instead of going to the ground to campaign.

He proposed a change in the electoral system as the ultimate formula for solving gender disparity in public bodies.

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