It is no mystery that women have traditionally been marginalised in Kenya. It, consequently, comes as no surprise that the two-thirds gender rule has been continuing for a while now. To understand this notion better, we have to ask ourselves some questions. First, what is the two-thirds gender rule? Next, what is the purpose of the two-thirds gender rule? In this comprehensive article, we will be answering these questions, therefore, ensuring readers access everything they should know.
The opinion of the two-thirds gender rule Kenya came to life with the new constitution of 2010. The heads behind this constitution foresaw that if one gender was overly expressed in parliament, it could result in the marginalisation of the other gender. Since the country’s independence, the Kenya parliament has been overshadowed by male parliamentarians. In as much the significant population of women is roughly the same or slightly more than that of men, women have undergone historical injustices that stopped them from competing for leadership positions. Below are the fundamental things you ought to know about the 2/3 gender rule in Kenya:
What does two-thirds gender rule mean?
As per to the two-thirds gender rule, both the national assembly and senate should not have a balance of more than two-thirds of their members from one gender. This rule implements to all elective bodies as stipulated by the Kenyan constitution.
The two-thirds gender bill
The Constitution of Kenya (the Amendment) Bill 2018 which is presently on its second reading is designed to raise women representation in parliament. The bill was sponsored by the majority leader in parliament Hon Aden Duale and has gained support from topmost politicians including the president and opposition leader.
Why has this rule not taken force eight years after the passing of the new constitution?
The rule was greatly welcomed but failed to take effect because the constitution did not offer a clear guideline on how to implement it. After the legal dilemma, the office of the attorney general inquired from the advice of the Supreme Court on the same. According to the tribunal, the gender principle is not a full right yet. As such, it can’t be subjected to direct enforcement. This indicated that the rule could only be implemented progressively and slow.
In 2015, the then Justice Mumbi Ngugi of the Kenyan high court directed the attorney general and the commission responsible for implementation of the constitution to act on their order and ensure that the law was tabled for enactment. This did not bear any fruits.
In March of 2017, a high court judge by the name of Justice John Mativo suggested that if the end of that year did not implement the gender base rule anyone was at freedom to write to the president of the supreme court who would, in the cycle, advise the country’s president to suspend parliament. One year later on yet neither the rule has remained implemented nor has parliament been dissolved.
In parliament, the proposal has failed to see the light of day on various occasions. The bill has been proposed a couple of times, but it fails to advance due to a lack of quorum. In February 2017 for example, nominated senator Judith Sijeny sponsored a bill on the same, but it needed 45 members for the vote to pass. This never occurred just as had been in the national assembly a year beforehand.
What does Duale’s bill offer?
Whereas the purpose of the two-thirds rule has always been the same, it has declined every time because there is no guideline on how to implement it. Duale’s bill endeavours to offer a criterion based on the nomination to ensure that the number of women should not be below two-thirds of the whole. Appointments will, hence, have to be conducted after an election and gender equality has been determined which is a new concept in Kenya law. Every political party will be expected to nominate female members based upon its strength in parliament.
Now you understand why the two-thirds gender rule Kenya has not been affected nearly a decade after the passing of the new constitution many years ago. Efforts have been made to alter the status quo but it seems not enough has been done so far. All eyes are on the Kenyan parliament to discuss whether it will come up with the right affirmative action to deal with the gender concerns in Kenya once and for all.