Kenya: Women Dealt Body Blow As Gender Bill Flops In Senate

By Dennis Odunga

An attempt by the Senate to increase the number of women in Parliament suffered a blow when Senators opposed to the bill skipped voting.

kenyan senate

Opposition lawmakers were attending the National Super Alliance (Nasa) rally at Jevanjee gardens, Nairobi and failed to turn out for the crucial vote that would have increased the number of nominated women.

Women seemed to confirm the adage that they are their own worst enemies as they were absent despite having known that voting was on Wednesday.

The proposed law failed to get the numbers to move to the next stage. It was supported by 23 out of the 67 Senators present during voting time.

The Bill needed support from at least 45 senators to sail through. Bills seeking to amend the Constitution, must have two thirds majority.

The Bill was sponsored by nominated Senator Judith Sijeny and wanted to have more women nominated to Parliament and be reviewed after 20 years, to meet the gender rule.


Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Makueni) and Kennedy Mong’are (Nyamira) pleaded with Speaker Ekwee Ethuro to use his powers, to save the Bill. It can only be re-introduced in the House after six months.

“Mr Speaker, defer this important Bill. Women of Kenya have been waiting for this House to salvage this Bill,” Mr Mong’are said. Mr Ethuro turned down requests to defer voting on the Bill.

“Some of us should be bold enough to say Yes or No. After the Bill was defeated, I brought it back, unsolicited and not under anybody’s influence,” Mr Ethuro said.Last week, Deputy Senate Speaker Kembi Gitura used his discretion to defer voting on the

“They walked out to evade voting. There are people who want this Bill to fail but don’t want to be here to take a stand. They fear public scrutiny,” Deputy Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo-Marakwet) said.


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