The notion Kenyan women are marginalised is slowly changing going by the numbers of women in leadership positions. Today, more women are winning elective posts and even those who lose, usually put up a good fight. With the re-introduction of the two-thirds bill in parliament, it is time for us as a country to have a lasting solution to this gender parity paradox.
Since the Constitution is clear on the number of seats for both houses, I feel it would be prudent to front legislation on Political Parties Act, 2011 and the Elections Act, 2011. The 2010 constitution gave life to the two-thirds gender rule. In fact, the drafters of the constitution believed that no gender should be overly expressed in parliament. The understanding was that many women have undergone historical injustices that have hindered them from competing effectively for leadership positions.
It is the role of the government in ensuring that the two-thirds gender rule is met in all arms of government. In parliament, for instance, Article 27(6) of the Constitution requires that legislative and other measures including affirmative action programmes and policies be taken by the State to redress historical and other disadvantages suffered by individuals and groups. This is what informs the introduction of the two-thirds gender rule bill which is due for the second reading.
However, the constitution did not offer a clear guideline on how to implement it. I remember that, after the legal dilemma, the office of the Attorney General asked for advice from the Supreme Court. According to the tribunal, the gender principle is not a full right yet. As such, it can’t be subjected to direct enforcement. This poses a challenge in legislating on this matter.
In view of the above facts, the enactment of two-thirds gender rule is overdue and its about time we have a lasting solution. In the same breath, I urge more women to run for positions and those who would challenge men but fail to make it should get the nomination slots to empower them for the subsequent elections. Women should not just wait to be nominated from nowhere. They should vie and challenge men.
Fundamentally, the issue of two-thirds gender rule could well be sorted out during political parties primaries. During nominations, a political party is in a better position to ensure that the two-thirds gender rule in the meeting. This will make it easier to ultimately meet the constitutional threshold for two-thirds gender rule. Political parties should also present a list of candidates to IEBC that adhere to the two-thirds gender rule for every County for the General elections
Nyamunga is ODM nominated Senator she spoke to our correspondent