Analyst: No political will to pass Gender Bill

By KBC Kennedy Epalat

The Senate Thursday failed to take a vote on the gender bill rejected by the National Assembly in May due to lack of quorum.

The Bill by nominated Senator Judith Sijeny required the backing of 45 out of 67 senators to pass. The Bill failed to get the required support in the National Assembly last May.

It seeks to allow nomination of more women to the Senate and National Assembly to meet the constitutional two-thirds gender representation threshold.

The Senate has 67 members and requires an additional seven women to the current 18 nominated ones, while the National Assembly has 349 MPs out of which 68 are women. An additional 73 women are required to meet the one-third threshold.

A political analyst Job Ndege who spoke to KBC on phone said there is no political will to pass the gender Bill, adding that even male members of parliament and majority of Kenyans prefer elected parliamentarians as opposed to those nominated.

Ndege however warns that failure to pass the Bill whose constitutional deadline id 27th August 2016, will lead to a constitutional crisis.

Efforts to seek comment from the women parliamentarians were futile. Male parliamentarians opposed to the bill say it will give women free seats in Parliament which will affect the national economy.

On Thursday, Gender affairs cabinet secretary Sicily Kariuki lobbed the senate for the adoption of a new gender bill.

Speaking as she drummed up support for the bill to be tabled at the senate by Senator Judith Sijeny, the cabinet secretary maintained that the gender principle is not about women but all gender.

Sicily had expressed confidence that senators would pass the bill even as nominated senator Zipporah Kittony charged that women must rise up against their male colleagues in next year’s elections if the bill flops again.