Kenya: House To Defy Judge On Gender Balance Laws

By John Ngirachu

Parliament will defy a judge and will not pass laws to create gender balance, MPs have said.

kenyan senate

Justice John Mativo’s orders were described as worthless.

Majority Leader Aden Duale touched off debate by declaring that: “The courts cannot direct and neither can they dictate or blackmail MPs on how we legislate.”

Mr Duale’s government-backed Bill on the matter twice failed to get enough votes. He said a third attempt would be disastrous to political careers in the House.

“We are telling the great women of Kenya to vote for them on August 8. It’s not the courts to fill this House. We’ve done our bit, we’ve passed the constitutional Bills and for those of us who will come back to the 12th Parliament, we’ll try again,” said Mr Duale.

Speaker Justin Muturi said it was up to the MPs and the Attorney-General to sponsor a Bill to implement the rule on gender.

Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch said; “The judgement, without disparaging the judge, is worthless. It can’t be enforced,” said Mr Aluoch, who is also a Senior Counsel.

But Ugenya MP David Ochieng was more charitable. “The judge was simply doing his job. Let’s not bring him into this,” said Mr Ochieng.

The judge declared the National Assembly and the Senate have failed to enact legislation on the principle that not more than two thirds of members of both houses shall be of the same gender.

If Parliament fails to have the laws passed, anybody can ask the Chief Justice to have the President dissolve both Houses.


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