Judiciary urged to speed up gender rule cases

The Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) on Friday asked the Judiciary to hasten cases on the constitutional two-thirds gender rule, saying elections were drawing closer.

In a statement read by Omweri Angima, the organisation said a lot still needed to be done before the August 8 General Election.

“We call upon the justice system to expedite the matters before it and to provide an advisory way forward that will take into consideration the pending election and the current limitations in time to avert a constitutional crisis,” said Mr Angima at a Nairobi hotel.

They mentioned petition 371 of 2016 filed by two organisations, Centre for Rights Education and Awareness and Crawn Trust.

A bid to pass the Bill—to entrench the constitutional requirement that not more than two thirds of all elective and appointed positions are from the same gender—has failed five times in Parliament.

It failed twice in the National Assembly where a Bill by the House Majority Leader Aden Duale failed to get the required 233 members to back it.

In the Senate, a similar Bill by nominated senator Judith Sijeny has failed thrice due to lack of quorum.

In the two cases, the Bills failed despite spirited lobbying by the government and other groups.

The organisation also asked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to reconsider its campaign financial regulations which they said were not fair to women.

“Women candidates traditionally are required to spend more resources than their male counterparts in order to overcome the prejudices against them as the perceived ‘weaker’ candidate,” the CMD said.

It added: “We propose further consultations, to increase the spending limit for women until such a time that affirmative action will no longer be required to ensure gender equity; the same will apply for either gender.”

The organisation that the IEBC should also finetune the campaign regulations “as it does not clearly define when a campaign period starts.”

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