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MPs abandon push for two-thirds gender rule

Mercy Mwai @wanguamarci

Members of the National Assembly appear to have abandoned the push to pass the elusive Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill, 2018 that seeks to implement the two-thirds gender rule.

Instead, the MPs  are now planning to introduce two constitutional amendments bills that will widen the special interest groups to include women and other minorities as well as abolish the requirement of the two-thirds gender rule with respect to elective positions.

Sources within Parliament said one of the bills is being pushed by the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee, chaired by Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni.

Abolish bill

The bill, which is currently in draft form, is intended to amend Article 100 of the Constitution to have MPs  enact a legislation that promotes representation of women, persons with disability, youth, ethnic and other minorities and marginalised communities in Parliament .

Kioni’s committee was reportedly tasked to prepare the amendments after male MPs said they would not support any amendment that seek to increase the number of women legislators in Parliament.

According to proponents of the bill, instead of  focusing on women alone all other groups regarded as marginalised should be given an opportunity to be equally represented in the House.

“We are done with this gender bill now. As MPs, we are going to bring a law to amend Article 100 of the Constitution to widen the scope of people regarded as marginalised groups,” said an MP, who did not want to be named.

Nominated MP David Sankok has also prepared amendments to the Constitution; he wants the provision calling for the passage of the two-thirds gender bill abolished with regards to elective posts.

Leader of Majority Aden Duale confirmed that there are plans to introduce the bill to amend Article 100 of the Constitution to ensure all special interest groups are taken care of.  “This is because we have tried several times to pass this gender law but failed,” he said.

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