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Political Parties Will Be Compelled to Meet Two-Thirds Gender Rule in 2022 Elections

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Tuesday, August 10th, 2021
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The assurance on Monday by the Electoral Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati on strict adherence to the Two-Third Gender Rule by political parties is a clear indication that we will have candidates from both genders well represented in the elections next year.

This is the main challenge Kenya has faced for decades, when parties choose to only nominate men to vie for elective posts, thus depriving women of their rights to also take part in elections.

It is the reason we have a male-dominated National Assembly, Senate and even the County Assemblies.

But now the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chebukati has made it clear that the commission will not approve nomination lists from parties that choose not to comply with the Two-Thirds Gender Rule.

This is a huge reprieve for women in the country who have been marginalised for decades, often reduced to a few nomination posts by party leaders, in what clearly sets the country back to the old days when women were to just be seen and not heard.

I am happy someone has finally woken up and seen where the problem is, because Parliament has failed the numerous attempts to pass the Two-Thirds Gender rule to be actualised.

Chebukati has made it clear that he will be complying with a court order that directed the Commission to reject any nomination list of a political party for its candidates for the 290 constituency-based elective positions for Members of the National Assembly and 47 County-based positions for the Member of Senate that do not comply with the two-third gender rule.

In the Katiba Institute vs. the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission {2017} case, the High Court issued among others, orders directing political parties to make measures to formulate rules and regulations for purposes of actualising the two-third gender principle during nominations of the 290 Constituency based elective positions for members of the National Assembly and 47 County-based elective positions for Members of the Senate within six months from the date of the judgement (20th April 2017).

In default, the Respondent (IEBC) was directed to devise administrative mechanisms to ensure that the two-third gender principle was realised among political parties during nomination exercises for parliamentary elections.

The assurance by Chebukati that the Commission shall therefore comply with the orders of the court by ensuring that political parties’ nomination lists for elective positions in the Senate and National Assembly comply with the two-third gender rule before they are accepted by the Commission for candidates’ registration.

The realization of the two-third gender rule has remained elusive in Parliament with several unsuccessful attempts at providing legislation to operationalize the principle.

Even after former Chief Justice David Maraga recommended to President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament for failing to perform its task on providing the legislation, nothing changed and the president did not heed the advice, leaving the question; when will Kenya ever achieve the Two-Thirds Gender Rule.

Winnie Syombua, a Gender Lead at the Journalists for Human Rights has urged women to come forward and seek elective posts in next year’s General Election so as to bridge the gap.

Winnie said this will help propel women to leadership positions, given the very few in such posts due to lack of

So serious is the situation of gender imbalance in Kenya that we only have two female Governors, Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga) in a country that has 47 counties.

But with the announcement Monday by IEBC Chairman Chebukati requiring political parties to strictly adhere to the Two-Thirds Gender Rule, we expect to have more women cleared to seek elective positions.

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