In Summary
  • For the bill to sail through, it requires two-thirds majority or at least 233 of the 349 MPs in the National Assembly.

Failure by women MPs to lobby their male colleagues saw the elusive two-thirds gender rule bill flop for a record fourth time yesterday, with the National Assembly failing to marshal enough numbers to vote on it.

The bill seeks to bridge the gender disparity in the House by amending the Constitution to allow for extra nomination slots for women.

When Majority Leader Aden Duale responded to a motion to pave the way for voting, there were only 174 members in the House after a manual headcount in the chamber, meaning that the bill could not proceed to the next level.

KEWOPA

Out of the 75 women lawmakers in the National Assembly, only about 20 were in the House, raising questions about the commitment of the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (Kewopa), chaired by Kirinyaga Woman Representative Purity Ngirici, to the rule.

“The presence of Kewopa exists in boardrooms and press conferences. Just like in December last year, it was not felt, as it was nowhere … … there was no lobbying in and out of Parliament,” said a member of the association who did not want to be named.

The Constitution provides that at least 233 of the 349 MPs, two-thirds of the members, must be in the House before the Speaker puts the question on the motion. Consequently, the 233 members must proceed to vote on the bill to allow it proceed to the next stage.

The bill can now only be reintroduced after six months, according to House standing orders. “I cannot put the question because of the numbers in the House. The motion is therefore lost,” Speaker Justin Muturi said.

The development puts Parliament in a precarious position as anyone can petition a court to have it dissolved for failing to enact the legislation.

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