The Gender Rule Crisis

Article 27(8) of the Constitution stipulates that the state shall take legislative measures to implement the principle that no more than two-thirds of the members of the elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender. 81(b) further states that not more than two-thirds of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender.

These provisions among others are for the purpose of achieving gender parity in all elective or appointive posts of the state.

A racket has already began brewing concerning the two-thirds gender rule as the possibility of an impossibility arises in striking or arriving at this balance.

If more men are elected, which is the most likely case, each county will be required to bring in nominated women members to ensure that the one-third gender rule is attained as provided for in the Constitution. Additional multitudes of house members means that additional costs will be inevitable; costs which the taxpayer has to meet- as stated by the Commission on Revenue Allocation. The commission has estimated that Kenyans will have to pay Sh4billion as the gender rule crisis looms.

Below is a summary of what the National and County the governments will comprise of:

The National Government

The National Government comprises of a parliament which shall consist of the National Assembly and the Senate.

The National Assembly consists of:

  • 290 elected members to represent constituencies.
  • 47 women elected by voters to represent each county
  • 12 members nominated by parliamentary political parties.
  • A speaker, who is an ex officio member.

The Senate consists of :

  • 47 members elected from each county
  • 16 women nominated by parliamentary political parties.
  • 2 youth representatives.
  • 2 persons representing the persons with disabilities
  • A speaker, who is an ex officio member.

The County Government

It is comprised of the County Assembly and the County Executive Committee.

The County Assembly consists of:

  • The 47 counties will elect 1,450 lawmakers countrywide, according to wards demarcated by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
  • Each County shall have the number of special seat members necessary to ensure that no more than two-thirds of the membership of the assembly are of the same gender.
  • Members from marginalized groups including persons with disabilities and youth as described by an Act of Parliament.
  • A speaker, who is an ex officio member.

The County Executive Committee consists of:

  • County Governor
  • Deputy County Governor
  • Members appointed by the county governor whose number will be one-third of the members of the county assembly if the assembly has less than 30 members or ten, if the assembly has more members.

 

Although the 10th parliament was so keen on consolidating its position by providing for a mechanism to ensure this is achieved in the Senate and in the County Assemblies, it left the National Assembly open.

A Bill to amend the Constitution to provide for top-up nominations in case elections fail to provide the one-third gender rule will be tabled in Parliament. The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution to effect Article 27 (8) and 81(b). As of now, the Parliament is under the pressure of various stakeholders to implement the gender rule as failure to do so will cause a constitutional crisis.

It is critical to have a legislation that will ensure that there is gender equity and fair representation in the National Assembly and the Senate as well as the County Government.

Various suggestions have been deliberated to help solve this crisis and beat the one-third-gender rule. One includes the scrapping of all Constituencies to remain with the Counties as the only elective units. Another proposal is that each county elects two women representatives instead of one. This would bring the number of elected women to 94 and the rest would be met through other means.

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