Finally, political parties will be forced to respect the two-thirds rule of the sexes in the 2022 elections ”Capital News


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By Liz Mbula

The assurance on Monday by Election Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati of strict adherence to the two-thirds rule by political parties is a clear indication that we will have well-represented candidates of both sexes in next year’s elections.

This has been the main challenge Kenya has faced for decades, when parties choose to nominate only men to run for elected office, thereby depriving women of their right to participate in elections as well.

This is the reason why we have a predominantly male National Assembly, Senate and even County Assemblies.

But now the chairman of the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission, Chebukati, has made it clear that the commission will not approve nomination lists of parties that choose not to comply with the two-thirds rule.

This is a huge reprieve for the country’s women who have been marginalized for decades, often reduced to a few nominating positions by party leaders, which clearly brings the country back to the days when women simply had to to be seen and not heard.

I am glad that someone has finally woken up and seen where the problem lies, as Parliament has failed to update the many attempts to push through the two-thirds gender rule.

Chebukati has made it clear that he will comply with a court order that ordered the commission to reject any nomination list from a political party for its candidates for the 290 constituency elective positions for members of the National Assembly and 47 county positions for the Member of the Senate who does not respect the two-thirds rule of the sexes.

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In Katiba Institute v. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission {2017}, the High Court issued, among other things, orders directing political parties to take steps to formulate rules and regulations with the aim of updating the two-thirds principle when appointing the 290 constituency elective positions for members of the National Assembly and 47 county elective positions for members of the Senate within six months from the date of judgment (20e April 2017).

Failing that, the Respondent (IEBC) was tasked with devising administrative mechanisms to ensure that the two-thirds gender principle is achieved among political parties during nomination exercises for legislative elections.

The assurance given by Chebukati that the Commission will therefore comply with the orders of the Court by ensuring that the nomination lists of political parties for elective positions in the Senate and the National Assembly respect the rule of two-thirds of the sexes before that they are accepted by the Commission for applicants for registration.

Achieving the two-thirds gender rule has remained elusive in parliament with several unsuccessful attempts to provide legislation to operationalize the principle.

Even after former Chief Justice David Maraga recommended President Uhuru Kenyatta dissolve Parliament for failing to fulfill his task of providing the legislation, nothing has changed and the President has ignored l ‘notice, leaving the question; when will Kenya ever achieve two-thirds rule of the sexes?

Winnie Syombua, gender officer at Journalists for Human Rights, urged women to come forward and run for elected office in next year’s general election to bridge the gap.

Winnie said it would help propel women into leadership positions, given the very small number of such positions due to the lack of

The gender imbalance situation in Kenya is so severe that we only have two female governors, Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga) in a country of 47 counties.

But with the announcement on Monday by IEBC Chairman Chebukati demanding that political parties adhere strictly to the two-thirds rule of the sexes, we expect more women to be allowed to run for elected office.

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The author comments on issues related to gender and human rights.

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