Senate to vote on 2/3 gender bill again

Senate to vote on 2/3 gender bill again
Photo: Senate Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura. Photo/FILE

The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill which seeks to have more women nominated to Parliament through party lists yesterday got a lifeline after Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura allowed senators to vote for it once more.

Last year, the bill failed to sail through the second reading after it failed to garner the requisite two-thirds majority. Gitura, exercising his powers in the Standing Orders, said senators have until February 22 to vote for the bill or it will be declared lost.

“Today is the third sitting day so you have until Wednesday the 22nd to vote,” he said. However, the bill is likely to run into hurdles after some male senators expressed concerns that their views on possible amendments to the bill had been ignore.

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Boni Khalwale (Kakamenga) urged the Speaker to further exercise his powers to allow the sponsor of the bill to amend some “undesirable” clauses.

Omar Hassan (Mombasa) acknowledged that the few clauses may have led to the failure of the bill. “Some of my colleagues are uncomfortable about Clause 4 of the bill which seeks to make nominees eligible for two terms,” he said.

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Reacting to the concerns, nominated senator Judith Sijeny quickly dismissed the concerns as excuses. Beatrice Elachi (nominated) said the concerns were misplaced since all nominated senators were going to contest for elective seats in the forthcoming election.

“Political parties are the ones with the discretion to decide who to give the nominations,” she said. She was however quick to add that senators will hold a meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the issue and possibly come up with a consensus, a day ahead of voting.

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