Kenya: Senate To Appeal Gender Rule Verdict
By Maureen Kakah
The Senate will appeal against a recent verdict in which the High Court said Parliament risks being dissolved by June if it fails yet again to legislate the gender rule principle.
In a notice of appeal filed on April 6, the Senate said it will move to the Court of Appeal to challenge the verdict issued by Justice John Mativo who had ruled that both Houses had failed to legislate the gender rule even after an over one year deadline.
“The Speaker of the Senate herein being dissatisfied with the decision issued on March 29, intends to appeal against the whole of the said judgment,” said lawyer Sherrifsam Mwendwa for the Senate.
In the ruling, the judge had asked Parliament to legislate the two-thirds gender principle within the next 60 days.
At the end of the said period if the legislation would not have been effected as ordered, Justice Mativo had directed that anyone is free to write to the Chief Justice to move with speed and advise President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament.
Justice Mativo also declared that the National Assembly and the Senate had jointly failed in their separate constitutional obligations to enact the legislation necessary to give effect to the principle that not more than two thirds of members of both houses shall be of the same gender.
He further ruled that the failure by Parliament to enact the legislation required by the Constitution is a notable violation of the rights of women to equality and freedom from discrimination.
Three lobbies — Centre for Rights Education and Awareness, Community Advocacy and Awareness Trust and the Kenya National Human Rights Commission — sued speakers of both Houses and the Attorney-General in September last year.
They sued to protest against the failure to enact the disputed legislation necessary for the implementation of the gender rule even after the deadline elapsed on August 27, last year.
In 2015, High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi ordered the Attorney-General and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution to prepare and table the law for legislation.