Two-Thirds Bill Moves Closer to Becoming Law

Kenya will have more women in the next Parliament in a move that will increase the MPs to an unknown number.

This follows the publication of a bill to amend the constitution to help the country achieve the two-thirds gender rule.

According to the bill whose publication period was reduced to six days from 14 yesterday, lrm;the constitution will be amended to provide for a number of nominated seats necessary to ensure no gender occupies more than two-thirds of Parliament.

The bill tabled yesterday also stipulates that one cannot be nominated for the special seats for more than two terms.

It says the provision for the special seats will lapse 20 years after the 2017 elections.

“It is hoped by that time, both genders will have been given a level playing field and will be able to compete on an equal plane,” the memorandum of objects and reasons reads.

The constitution does not stipulate the formula through which the two-thirds principle should be achieved.

It leaves it to the state to put in place a law for the purpose.

The bill introduces new clauses to Articles 97 and 98 to alter the composition of the National Assembly and the Senate.

“The composition of the National Assembly (Senate) comprises of the number of special seat members necessary to lrm;ensure no more than two-thirds of the membership of the National Assembly (Senate) is of the same gender,” the new clause says.

The bill also introduces new clauses to Articles 97 and 98 to ensure the special seats are allocated proportionate to the number of seats won by a political party, determined after a general election.

Moving a motion to reduce the bill’s publication period, majority leader Aden Duale said the National Assembly will seek the extension of the August 27 deadline for the bill’s enactment.

The law requires that a bill for amending the constitution awaits 90 days before it can come up for debate after the first reading.

This means the bill can only be debated after October 30, which is past the August 27 deadline.

To extend the deadline, the National Assembly will require two-thirds of the MPs, the same number required to pass the bill.

Women leaders have been urging for the bill’s enactment.

The bill was committed to the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, which will invite public participation before it is brought to the House for debate.