Gender Balance in Public Office in Kenya

This forum calls for more in-depth and critical analysis and will therefore attempt to do so in this article. You may skip to page 2 or page 3 (under development) if the background is of no interest to you.

Introduction

A lot has been said and discussed about marginalized groups in society and representation to various institutions and offices. Throughout history in various countries, organizations and offices, marginalization and discrimination has occurred due to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, physical appearance, sexual orientation, bigotry, hegemony, nationality, language, intellect, academic exposure, professional settings, societal attachments, cultural leanings and a whole host of other differentiators  and persuasion, that humans can or want to identify with.

Some of these differentiators are subtle while others are fairly obvious. Some might require use of sophisticated or localized coded language or deep syntax i.e. more intimate understanding of certain nuances to decipher (e.g. slang), while others are just plain in-your-face type out there in the open.

Regardless or rather, irrespective of the differentiator, it’s easy for certain groups of people to identify a differentiator, latch on to it for support and thereafter create an environment of inclusion for those they want to relate to/with, and of course the exclusion for those they’d prefer not to engage with based on the differentiators described above.

Throughout history we also find a few visionary people who recognized the fact that the differentiators did not necessarily point to flaws or failing but in fact were an insight into the different personalities, character and diversity that as humans we must embrace to create and appreciate better society for everyone.

And even with this realization, some would like to embrace this from a point of view that is condescending in approach, while others do so with deceit and cunning yet others embrace this as an opportunity to further enrich our overall experience on earth.

In my view, all these differentiators are ultimately tied back to one form of resource or another. i.e. Somehow, all these different people, using whatever form or type of discrimination have consciously or unconsciously identified a resource that they somehow believe whatever community it is they believe they belong to, has a genuine and perhaps exclusive claim to and therefore desire to keep sole ownership (individually or as a community) to this resource and will go to amazing lengths to retain ownership.

Tricks and strategies, include such as deriding other communities or groups as incapable of understanding what it takes or having the ability to preserve, nurture etc. the resource, or an exaggeration of own community’s abilities and capabilities. This often manifests or is typically recognized as stereotyping.

I think such passion is great. I also think that being caught up in one’s own cocoon is potentially disastrous, but hey feel free to do as you please.

Anyway back to the discussion at hand and this in my view is fairly trivial

After between two and three decades of an active search for a new all-inclusive constitution, Kenya did promulgate a new constitution in August 2010. Granted, there are some ambiguous statements on account of several revisions to accommodate diverse interests and changes. However, the spirit of the document remains clear. In a few years, many of the drafters, many of those that shared their visions and many others will be gone and this spirit may altogether vanish and be replaced by others. But for now let’s focus on gender balance in the house of representatives i.e. parliament or the national assembly as it is referred to.

It was deemed necessary, for whatever reasons, that there be proportional gender representation which was identified as a ratio of 1:2 i.e. no more than 2/3 of any gender whether male or female, be in any elective, appointed or nominated office.

Face value this is simple enough, but when it comes to elective office, there is no way of guaranteeing or predicting the results or outcome. The national assembly therefore has to find means to address this requirement otherwise it may end up in a convoluted quagmire.

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22 comments on “Gender Balance in Public Office in Kenya

  1. Team warns of gender rule crisis

    The gender commission warned on Friday the next Parliament will not have many women as stated in the law.

    National Gender and Equality Commission chairperson Winfred Lichuma warned that the rule seeking to increase women’s representation in public offices may not be met and the Constitution may have to be amended before the elections.

    “Women participation is still low. There is no improvement even after the requirement was highlighted recently,” Mrs Lichuma said.

    Article 81 (b) of the Constitution says: “Not more than two-thirds of members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender.”

    Despite this, the drafters did not specify the means of fulfilling this clause, a challenge that continues to puzzle even the best legal minds in town.

    http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/Team+warns+of+gender+rule+crisis/-/1064/1531982/-/2gu6ds/-/index.html

    • einstein,

      These guys are in a bad place. Parliament has been fooling around with the gender issue now for over two years. They have been given all sorts of proposals on how to fix this thing. They have been busy politicking with nonsense.

      Now Githu looks like an idiot in court claiming that the 2/3 gender rule should be applied progressively. That is not the business of the courts nor the SC to decide. It is in the constitution and courts can only interpret the constitution. They cannot write a new one. I like the arguments from CIC and other civil society reps. They are putting Githu on the ropes.

      Now here is the nightmare. The SC will rule on Dec 11, 2012. The fourth session of parliament comes to an end on Dec. 6, 2012. Suppose parliament is dissolved before the gender issue is enacted into the laws and the court rules it has to be adhered to the country will be in a complete constitutional mess. It is unthinkable but with the M.Ps we have it may very well come to pass. We will eb ehere.

      This is what I am talking about

      http://www.nation.co.ke/News/AG-groups-fight-over-gender-case/-/1056/1625434/-/nyxgn3z/-/index.html

      .

  2. side note: finally fixed that table on page 3 to allow data entry – was driving me nuts. try input some values in the yellow cells

    • to add on that article, here is further insight on how difficult it can be to work towards gender parity

      http://womenaspirants.spyda-technologies.com/index.php/newscenter/73-woman-treks-to-workshop-for-36-hours

      ==

      It took some of the women like the Chairlady of Nanyagatem Women’s Group an entire day and a half to trek to Lokorio for the workshop. Like most other areas in this County, Nanyagatem area has no public transport and people have to walk to various destinations. Looking frail and exhausted, some of the women confessed to having had no meals for at least two days!

      That was the shocking reality that confronted Ms Daisy Amdany and Ms Lisa Mumbi of CMD-Kenya when they travelled to Lokorio for the cross-party gender workshop held in Turkana County.

      ==

      to put this into perspective, by contrast, a well fed senior executive say the CEO of vision 40/40 can leave his house after a sumptuous breakfast at 8:00 am, head to the airport, hit jo’burg, cut a deal, get a flight back to nairobi via dar-es-salaam, have a few beers and choma, and jet back in time to catch the boys at muthaiga golf club before retiring for the night. all on the same day – a hard earned 18 hour day. they call this “working our butts off” as they tear off the office tie.

      keep this in mind when you see an article coming to a blog near you on “whose interest does vision 20/30 serve”

  3. ‘Gender penalty’ to cost taxpayers Sh4bn

    Kenyans face higher taxes next year to enable the government to pay civil the salaries of servants as well as those of the occupants of new political positions created by the 2010 Constitution.

    The harsh reality is beginning to sink in with the just-concluded pay deal for teachers, demand for higher pay by doctors and what experts are calling the “gender penalty”.

    The gender penalty refers to the additional money Kenyans will cough up to pay those elected to the National Assembly, Senate and county assemblies if two-thirds of all elected leaders are not of one gender.

    The Commission on Revenue Allocation has calculated that it will cost an additional Sh4 billion a year to meet the salaries of those nominated to fill a possible gender gap.

    Commission chairman Micah Cheserem is advising Kenyans to elect more women to office to shield themselves from the “gender penalty”.

    “We will be nominating a lot of people who are not representing anybody but constitutional requirements, and that will mean a higher wage bill,” said CRA spokesperson George Muruli.

    “CRA is concerned because the 15 per cent to counties might end up paying salaries at the expense of development. That’s why we should have elected women and not nominated ones.”

    Mr Muruli added that CRA has held meetings across the country to encourage women to run for as many elective posts as are available.

    “Women should not aspire only for the women’s representative (post). We want to encourage them to run. Women should apply to be running mates for governors, senators, MPs and county representatives … The women’s representative positions have already been given to women, and they should not just concentrate on that,” Mr Muruli said.

    CRA is sounding the alarm as Finance minister Njeru Githae warned this week that an increase in taxes was a possibility. Mr Githae spoke on the day he signed a pay rise deal for teachers against a tight budget.

    Treasury mandarins have this week been holding meetings to explore four options, including higher tax targets for the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), additional government borrowing and cuts to both development and recurrent expenditure.

    “Our economy is still fragile, and it needs to be massaged if we are to maintain any growth,” Mr Githae said.

    The wage bill pressure got worse last week on Thursday with the Sh7.8 billion pay increment awarded to university lecturers. Doctors are also digging in for higher pay after starting a nationwide strike, joining their colleagues working in Kenya’s three largest hospitals who are demanding better allowances.

    Slow growth

    Kenya’s economy is seen expanding by 3.5-4.5 per cent this year, the Planning ministry says, from 4.4 per cent in 2011. But a significant increase in public wages could slow down growth.

    Federation of Kenya Employers executive director Jacqueline Mugo said heeding the demands of those agitating for higher salaries could prompt industrial unrest in other sectors.

    “Increases in salaries in a few sectors will lead to increased disharmony in remuneration within the public sector employees and other sectors of the economy,” Mrs Mugo said.

    Labour ministry permanent secretary Beatrice Kituyi said: “The main concern in government is the disharmony on the reward scheme even among workers with the same education and experience.”

    Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya council member Kariithi Murimi suggested that government structures be aligned to the Constitution to avoid bloating its expenditure.

    “The Ministry of Education has posted county directors. But they are not removing the provincial and the district education officers. The Agriculture ministry has done the same. Who has asked for these offices? This country cannot sustain a duplicated work force,” he said.

    He noted that after the new civil service is created, the wage bill will grow and place a huge burden on taxpayers. He said this should be avoided.

    http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/Gender+penalty+to+cost+taxpayers+Sh4bn+/-/1064/1521242/-/isqsgr/-/index.html

  4. akinyi,einstein, phil

    thanks for your inputs. you guys highlight some very pertinent issues

    to add on to this i thought it would be useful to expand to the global scene and look at some comparative notes. have re-arranged the order for emphasis

    ==
    Global

    • A 30 percent minimum for women in representative assemblies was set as a target at the Beijing conference in 1995, while the parity zone is considered between 40–60 percent.
    • Since 1995, this 30 percent benchmark set as the ‘critical mass’ has been attained in 22 countries, including in six African countries.
    • As of 2008, 18.4 percent of national parliamentarians are female (as opposed to 11.6 percent in 1995), and 17 heads of state or government worldwide are women.
    • Rwanda has the highest number of women parliamentarians worldwide since the election in September 2008 (56 percent of seats).
    • 95 countries worldwide apply some form of quotas. Out of the 22 countries that boast 30 percent or more women in national assemblies, 18 of them applied quotas in some form.
    • (assuming natural selection/election – my words) It will take developed countries at least 20 years and all other countries closer to 40 years to reach the parity zone of 40-60 percent.
    • Countries with Proportional Representation electoral systems and with quotas can expect to reach the 40 percent threshold on average by 2026.
    • Women’s presence in public office represents one indicator for Goal 3 of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — “to promote gender equality and empower women”.
    • Higher numbers of women in parliament and other public office positions generally contribute to stronger attention to women’s issues.
    • Women in public office encourage greater political engagement by ordinary women.
    • More women in politics IS NOT correlative with a decrease of corruption, as often assumed. Rather, democratic and transparent politics is correlated with low corruption, and the two create an enabling environment for more women to participate in politics.
    • As a regional average, women hold between 7.7 to 28.1 percent of ministerial posts, while individual countries range from 0 to 58 percent.
    • A 2008 study in Latin America indicates a systematic discrepancy between the numbers of women as members of political parties and the numbers of women in leadership positions within these parties. For example, in Paraguay, 46.5 percent of party members are women, while 18.9 percent of executive posts in party leadership are held by women.
    • Regional

      The following numbers represent the average percentage of women parliamentarians in each region by mid-year 2008:

    • Sub-Saharan Africa: 16 percent (ranging from 2 to 56 percent within the region)
    • Middle East & North Africa: 8 percent (ranging from 0 to 26 percent within the region)
    • South Asia: 15 percent (ranging from 3 to 34 percent within the region)
    • East Asia & Pacific: 11 percent (ranging from 0 to 29 percent within the region)
    • Latin America & Caribbean: 18 percent (ranging from 0 to 43 percent within the region)
    • Central & Eastern Europe/ CIS: 29 percent (ranging from 6 to 16 percent within the region)
    • Developed Regions: 26 percent (ranging from 9 to 47 percent within the region)

    ==
    Source:
    http://www.unifem.org/gender_issues/democratic_governance/facts_figures.php

  5. tnk, einstein and phil, I hear you.

    Equality of opportunity in public office is a human right. Achieving gender parity or the ’33/67 percent rule’ is a complicated process requiring both a multidimensional and multisectoral effort.

    In our case, we have failed even before trying. that an unworkable solution towards promoting gender equality still exists in our constitution more than a year after promulgation of the same, gives me enough reason to believe that this matter wasn’t ,and still isn’t given any serious thought. after all, only about 30 countries have achieved this so say proponents of the status quo.

    Let’s face it, without the PEV, we would probably still be clamoring for a new constitution – a constitution that some politicians are already trashing. Like Rwanda, South Africa, Chile, Afghanistan etc, we should have learned from the turmoil and seized the opportunity to correct historical injustices as well as societal inequalities. Now that we are relatively calm,can the same be achieved in a nonconflict situation? as exhausting as this may seem, it looks like the struggle has to go on.

    Assuming that the constitution is eventually amended to give us something workable, (note, our mps are already on the campaign trail, and probably only making technical apppearances in parliament) how do we achieve gender balance in public office?

    – We need initiatives such as a National Action Plan developed and published to establish clear targets. this should come complete with policies on monitoring and evaluation.

    – We need a ministry with the mandate to ensure that gender equality is addressed across all ministries and departments.

    – we need a strong and independent women’s movement (supported by political leaders) with a strict mandate for achieving gender equality. (kanu Maendeleo ya wanawake failed in this area). such a movement should hold the government to its promises.

    -many women shy away from vying for political posts because of the issues of campaign funding and violence (both physical and verbal). some cases that come to mind are that of wavinya ndeti and millie odhiambo-two women with great potential who have expressed interest in going for higher office, but were quickly dismissed (by some clueless constituents 🙂 by virtue of being married to non kenyans. another case is that of rozah buyu who had to parade her husband at rallies because she was rumored to be single. what of the lady from meru (can’t remember her name) who was raped and even had her hair plucked out. why are women aspirants held to a higher standards?

    -public offices need to review their internal procedures to ensure that policies are gender-sensitive. why did our women parliamentarians have to fight to be allowed to have their handbags inside the chambers? provide childcare and maternal facilities, consider adjusting hours/days of parliamentary sittings and tell me if more women won’t find this attractive.

    Kudos to ODM and any other party working to conform to the gender requirement.

  6. TNK,

    My provisional take on some of these facts are as below. We can still debates their merits and demerits.

    Fact 1: Constitution requires 2/3 1/3 gender balance in composition of public institutions leadership
    Failure to achieve this under the current law could lead to tremendous repercussions
    Most bodies have made fair attempts to comply however; MPs are now resisting this move claiming a variety of reasons

    Now, this fact number 1 is actually the cornerstone when it comes to gender issues as they relate to public office in Kenya. It is the affirmative action translated into figures. If you remember how hard this battle was fought and eventually won by Kenyan women groups, Kenyan human rights activists, several interest groups in Kenya with the support of the international community, the MPs now trying to resist this gender ratio are basically saying they do not know what hit them when the voted ‘Yes’ for the constitution without giving this ratio the attention it deserved.

    The poor MPs cannot change the ratios without calling for a referendum. The country cannot hold a referendum right now since, even if we had the money, we do not have the time!

    Hence, there is nothing they are going to do with the rations in parliament. They will have to take them as given and find out ways of implementing them. We gave a lot of possible solutions on Jukwaa last year and actually Mutula Kilonzo even settled for one of the solutions we recommended then. It was and still is the only viable solution to ensure compliance with the constitution next year. Anything else is like chasing the wind! They will have to use the formular Kilonzo proposed in that Bill since anything else is impossible or uncertain.

    Fact 2: for parliament to comply with this, a constitutional amendment bill is required with at least 150 MPs voting for
    MPs are now in process of amending constitution based on the bill presented by Mutula Kilonzo or else have to either include or otherwise amend the bill to reflect the following alternatives
    – Do away with the 1/3 2/3 composition
    – Provide a second set of reserved county seats for women in addition to the 47
    – Replace the 80 newly created constituencies with women only constituencies
    The only amendment the MPs will need to make in order to achieve the desired ratios is to remove the cap or limit imposed by the constitution on the number of MPs. This amendment can be made by the MPs garnering at least 2/3 majority in parliament for the amendment. That translates to about 150 MPs for the amendment.

    This particular amendment does not require a referendum and hence is more realistic.

    Fact 3: Fear of nomination process as a tool for political intimidation.
    A general fear among politicians is that nomination process is or has been abused in the past and will certainly be abused in future i.e. not representative but authoritarian as well as corrupt. Less influential politicians fear that powerful politicians will use nomination process to undermine them
    On top of this is the notion that with large nominations, the possibility of an even more bloated parliament with some saying the figure could be as high as 500 MPs in the national assembly
    Other views state that the constitution places a limit of 350 members of the National Assembly

    I take it that you are talking about the nomination process which will be used to comply with the gender rule after the elections. If that is the case, then I would suggest that parties sponsor their candidates in the seats they are interested in and wait for the results of the elections. After the final results, parties should nominate their candidates who failed to make it on the basis of the performance of the individual candidates during the elections. This means that first preference should go the best loser in each party followed by the second best loser and so on and so forth. This should eliminate the abuse of the nomination process as nominations will be given based on performance in the actual election.

    Fact 4: Time is running out

    Time has actually run out. The MPs can only go for options that do not require a referendum but a simple 2/3 majority in parliament like uncapping the limit of MPs as stated above.

    Fact 5: MPs take home pay @ approx. 1m per month, and the retirement package @ approx. 5m per person is too hefty. This will be in addition to a new set of cabinet secretaries, a new county government and other devolved structures such as provincial administration some run by the county governments while some run by the national government etc. this package is unsustainable in any economy leave a lone a debt ridden emerging economy – with high levels of unemployment and elevated labor/wage disputes

    This is now the jurisdiction of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission. They will need to harmonise salaries and remuneration in government in such away that they come up with a pay package that the economy can sustain.

    That is all I can say to this for now.

    Fact 6: A number of key public institutions – teacher’s service and lecturers, doctors and nurses, armed forces, other civil service, are on strike or having grievances over their current pay packages

    I’m not sure how the above problematic is meant and how it relates to the gender balance in public office in Kenya. So I will leave it out for the time being and probably come back to it later after further clarification.

      • I didn’t have time to comment on this new development by the SC. The court by majority decision has said parliament does not have to be in compliance with the 2/3 gender rule in March 4, 2013 by it must be in compliance by 2015. It is a dumb ruling but it is what it is. I am glad the CJ voted against it.

        The truth is SC makes laws by the their rulings. The other truth is there is no other election between 2013 and 2015. Parliament now will have to come with an act now or later to have a women’s only election between 2013 and 2015. Needless to say the number of M.Ps will have to increase depending on how many women are needed to realize the 2/3 gender requirement. I think the same constitution has limited the number of constituencies the country can have. So there.

        The SC has bought parliament some time but has not solved their problem. The worst part of it is that we may end up with a 600 or may be even 700 member parliament by the year 2015. Not to mention that the SC was wrong on their reading of the constitution. That is very scary.

      • Adongo,

        I’m equally stunned.

        1) Even SC Judges perceived to be reformists vary in their ideological leanings. It is clear the CJ leans much more to the left of these folks.

        2) I haven’t read the entire ruling but find the 2015 deadline bizarre to say the least…why 2015?

        3) Does it mean every election cycle will determine how many extra women MPs will have to be nominated at extra cost to taxpayers?

        That would mean each Parliament will have a fluctuating number of total MPs just to meet the gender ratio. Probably based on strength in parliament, parties might be given a chance to nominated extra women to meet that ratio.

        At best, this is a bandage measure, not a solution.

      • job,

        We will have to wait for the full ruling. The makelele chaps will only see the part that talks about the parliament not needing to implement this by March 4, 2013. It would be too much to expect them to deal with the reality that the gender rule according to this court ruling which is final as of now will have to be in place by August 27, 2015.

        Here is the gist of the ruling.

        “We are of the majority opinion that legislative measures for giving effect to the one third to two thirds gender principle under Article 81 (b) of the Constitution in relation to the National Assembly and the Senate should be taken by the 27th of August 2015,” read Justice Ojwang.

        It may very well be that the SC has given the next parliament a pass as long as by Augst 27, 2015 they have put in place the constitutional amendments to have the gender rule fully implemented by the 2017 elections. Alternatively it could mean that both parliament and senate must be compliant with the requirement come August 27, 2015. That would mean an election before August 2015 to balance the gender requirement or mass nominations.

        So even the word progressive implementation is very limited here. Parliament does not have a free pass to implement it when they want like in 2050. They have 2.5 year window to fool around but they must come with a solution. After that they have no chance to mess around. That is not much of a victory for the conservative anti-women forces in our country.

        Whatever parliament does they need to have a system that will ensure that the gender requirement is in place and in fact given that the constituencies have been increased considerably there is a need to do this without breaking the bank by adding another 100 or so spots.

        With this new ruling that is going to be near impossible and we may simply end up with parties having the opportunity to nominate a whole bunch of women M.Ps every election cycle. Parliament should have solved this now but they were too busy with the usual nonsense and did not have the inclination nor the imagination to do the right thing. Now they are going to have to do it with a gun over their heads in about 2 years time after the next general election. Today’s SC ruling will be the law for the next 50 years or so until one day the matter finds its way to the SC again.

      • am not at all surprised by this ruling. i had mentioned this earlier, but the courts from the promulgation of the new constitution, have been extremely lenient with the status quo

        first was the ruling on the election date which by use of some strange logic was moved from august / december 2012 to march 2013

        then there was how the HC immersed itself into the vetting of judges

        there have been some other rulings

        this ruling was also expected

        rule of thumb appears that if a ruling will rock the boat, they will find a way to ease out of the requirement. and if possible they will inject themselves into everything

        i mean how else do you pull a date like 2015 out of the magicians hat.

        the only real cure for the positive implementation of the constitution, is for mature and reasonable legislators get elected into that house and clear the ambiguities. relying on the SC or HC is going to get us nowhere. only an occasional brave judge is willing to directly take on the spirit of the constitution, the rest will always run rings around the core issues

      • Folks,

        I have now read the majority opinion as well as the minority opinion on the gender issue.

        Here is the majority opinion:

        http://www.judiciary.go.ke/portal/assets/files/one-third-rule/Majority%20Decision-One%20Third%20Rule.pdf

        It is long and convoluted. I also read Dr. Mutunga dissenting opinion which mercifully is much clearer and very well founded in law.

        So where do we go from here.

        There are so many “unkonwn unkowns”.

        1. This is an advisory opinion which is what the A.G asked for. The question is does it mean that the lower courts cannot hear the matter or are they still allowed to do so since this was not an appeal directed at the Supreme Court? If the lower courts were to hear the matter, are they bound by the majority advisory opinion? The question really is; what is the role of the SC advisory opinions in the new constituional dispensation. May be the SC shoudl have explained seeing as this is the first time Kenyans are dealing with this?

        2. What happens on or after August 27, 2015 which the SC according to their opinion has determined is the date for the implementation of the 2/3 gender rule? Does this ruling mean that the next parliament has 2.5 years of legitimacy which ceases to exist should they not implement the 2/3 gender rule by that date?

        3. If 2 above is the case, how does parliament go about fullfilling the 2/3 gender requirement by that date? Is parliament allowed by the constitution to increase the number of M.Ps from 350 as will be the case to say 500 if 150 is the number of additional women M.Ps needed to fullfil the 2/3 gender requirement? I do not think sitting male M.Ps can be asked to vacate their seats for women M.Ps to achieve gender balance. If parliament is allowed to expand the National Assembly to say 500 M.Ps (a horror show for Kenyans), will parliament has the mandate to have all such M.Ps nominated hovyo hovyo(by political parties) or will there be a mini General Election?

        Now, what we now is this:

        This was a massive srew up by the majority members of the SC. They decided to rationalize and legalize the laziness and stubbornness of M.Ps which led to their failure to create the legislative framework to achieve the 2/3 gender requirement by the next General Election.

        The argument that the Fifth Schedule provides for a five year window for progressive implementation of the 2/3 gender requirement is bogus in law.

        The two third window in the Fifth Schedule is for the state to achieve affirmative action for other marginalised groups in the state governance. In the case of women reprersentation in parliament the constitution expressly provides for the two third gender limitation in section 81 and if the drafters of the constitution wanted it to be done in a progressive manner, the constitution should have said so expressly like it is provided for in the involvement of Diaspora voters where the constitution states very clearly that there will the process will be implemented in a progressive maner.

        The SC lazily refused even to provide any framework for the legislative way forward. I know they will argue that is not their work but this matter was taken to them because the constitution itself did not provide the framework for implementation and left it to parliament to figure it out which itself was a mistake. Now the SC has doubles that mistake and gave a date for implementation in the middle of the electoral cycle.

        By their action the SC has created a situation where the only method available will require an addittional 150 or so seats in the National Assembly through a method we still don’t know. That is lunacy. It means when these seats are created they will rightfully incur the wrath and loathing of every Kenyan who will see that our parliament will be bigger than any other in the world and adding the fact that our M.Ps are the best paid we are courting a public disaster. Is that really the best way the SC of Kenya can serve the women of our country?

        In my view, since the SC seems to agree that the 2/3 gender requirement must be implemented within the term of the next parliament it would have made sense to have it implemented as part next General Election instead of hoping it will be resolved by some magic in the middle of the term.

        In any event it is still in the best interest of the current parliament to resolve the matter now instead of having a new parliament whose life time is technically 2.5 years. But I don’t expect our M.Ps to see that far. They will wait until August 26, 2015 to try figuring out what to do. What else is new?

  7. Great effort @tnk, and very apt. Much appreciated.

    I am not sure what the drafters of this constitution were thinking when they created this provision and I wonder what the committee of experts’ opinion is on this matter. It has been a global challenge.

    When it comes to elections, with current laws, it is near impossible to actualise this one third provision especially given that the same constitution advocates equality.

    In the spirit of being reformist, the ODM fought for inclusion of this provision in the kaitba and so far supports the bills as currently tabled in parliament. I am not sure what solutions they provide for the public wage bill. It is a challenge. ODM remains the party with the most women mps and councillors. The party NEC, NEB and county reps are well laid out and are in comformity with the one third gender requirement. So why not government or parliament?

    It is sad some leaders want to milk political capital out of this.

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