The quest for gender parity in employment opportunities gained momentum with stakeholders expressing optimism that the two third gender principle envisaged in the constitution will be tackled once and for all.
Speaking in Kakamega during a public participation organized by the multi-Sectoral Working Group (MSWG) formed to bring into effect the provision article 227 (8) of the constitution, a member of the task force Ann Nderitu said a Bill will be formulated for Parliament requiring that elective posts must adhere to the quota rule.
Nderitu, who is the registrar of Political parties said the rule will require that political seats are shared on a 50-50 basis.
“A male governor must have a female deputy as a running mate and vice-versa, saying this will help bridge the gender parity” she added.
Article 227 (8) of the constitution requires that the State shall take legislative and other measures to implement the principle that not more than two-thirds of the members of electoral or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender”.
“We are about 15 years post the promulgation of the constitution, but still Parliament and other institutions are yet to comply”. “Gender issues are not about women alone, men must support this move by giving their views so that we can have a more inclusive representation” she added.
“We now have goodwill at both the executive arm of government and Parliament. We feel the time is now ripe for the implementation of the provision of the constitution that is the only one yet to be implemented, added Ruth Makusu, a member of the task force.
Data on the number of elected parliamentarians (Governors, Senators, MPs, and Members of the County Assembly in Kakamega show gender parity is yet to be accomplished, with the county yet to produce a female governor, senator or member of parliament.
Out of 60 wards in the county, there are only three elected Members of the County Assembly (MCAs)
At the forum, People Living with Disability (PLWD) complained that they have been left out of the political mainstream and in decision-making.
Susan Mutoka from the Kakamega Disability Forum and Pauline Ayondi said PLWD have been left out of many decision-making organs and acquired that what they need is opportunity and not sympathy.
A nominated Member of the Kakamega County Assembly Jael Omunami suggested that those nominated on affirmative seats should run once to allow others to get the same experience
Others called on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to compel political parties to adhere to the two-third gender rule in all elective posts.
Participants cited cultural impediments and lack of political goodwill as hindrances to implementing the one-third gender rule.
In 2020, the then Chief Justice David Maraga advised that Parliament should dissolve for not adhering to the quota rule, (but was suspended) after the IEBC pushed political parties to comply.
Sarah Mukoya, a member of the taskforce said they intend to compile and submit their report to the CS in charge of gender, Asha Jumwa, who will then submit it to the cabinet for approval and processing of a Bill to Parliament.
By George Kaiga