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Enact 2/3 rule, Parliament illegal, say women lawyers

The Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya yesterday renewed it push to force Parliament to implement the two–thirds gender rule.

Fida sued the Attorney-General, the IEBC and the National Assembly. It said the deadline to enact legislation required to implement the gender principle has lapsed.

The incoming 12th Parliament should be forced to comply with the law, Fida says. It is illegally constituted, it argues.

Under the two-thirds principle, no more than two-thirds of elected or appointed bodies should be of one gender. In other words, at least one-third should be women.

The women lawyers’ organisation, in an urgent High Court application, said the number of elected MPs and MCAs contain less than a third women and more than two-thirds men.

“Such Parliament as proposed to be constituted would be manifestly unconstitutional,” Fida executive director Teresa Carlo Omondi said.

The lawyers want a declaration that women’s rights and the Constitution are violated by Parliament’s failure to enact legislation to implement the gender rule.

They argue the 12th Parliament as proposed to be constituted would be unconstitutional.

In 2012, the Supreme Court directed the state to take legislative and other measures, including affirmative action, to redress any disadvantage suffered by individual groups.

The judges said the gender principle should be in place on or before August 27, 2015.

Parliament, however, extended the period for enactment of the legislation by one year. That period lapsed on August 27, 2016.

Fida, through Lumallas Achieng Kavere Advocates, faults Parliament for failing to enact the legislation.

It said failure to meet the constitutional threshold may trigger a constitutional crisis.

A similar suit was filed on Monday by The Centre for Rights Education and Awareness, pushing for the same orders.

Fida wants the IEBC forced to only present to Parliament a list of nominees in numbers sufficient to bring the house into conformity with the law.

It also seeks a declaration that Parliament’s failure to constitute at least a third of female representatives amounts to establishment of unconstitutional Parliament and is in breach of fundamental rights of women.

It cites Article 27 ( 6 ) and ( 8 ) 81 (b). of the Constitution.

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