Wiper Democratic Movement-Kenya (WDM-K) Leader, Kalonzo Musyoka has assured the Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association (KEWOPA) that his party will support the Two-Thirds Gender Bill in Parliament.
“I urge all WDM-K legislators to join their colleagues from other political parties and fully support and vote for the passage of this Bill.
All our Party members should stand guided accordingly,” said Kalonzo.
He also urged the entire House to turn up in large numbers tomorrow and vote for the Bill, noting that the passing of the Bill has failed to sail through in the past due to mistrust emanating from misunderstanding and a wrong notion that it seeks to give favors to womenfolk.
The former Vice President said the Bill is good as it will free up the field for previously marginalized constituencies including the minority communities, women, youth and persons living with disabilities to meaningfully participate in the nation’s political life.
“I am aware that some of your male colleagues have in the past vowed to frustrate the passing of the Bill, through outright refusal to support it, or by simply walking out during voting so as to deprive the House of the requisite numbers required for it to pass,” he said.
Speaking to KEWOPA members who had paid him a visit at Wiper House Offices in Nairobi, Kalonzo dismissed claims that the passing of the Bill will result in a grossly inflated wage bill, noting that its advantages will outweigh the costs.
He said it is disheartening to see Kenya, the economic powerhouse of the region, continue to lag behind its East African neighbors’ Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda in terms of gender representation, a situation he said makes our women to continue to be marginalized.
Kalonzo said “This is the time to stand up to be counted. We cannot continue to deny our women their rights to political participation any longer” and added “I believe the passage of this Bill will mark a great leap for this country, which will put Kenya strongly among the League of Nations”.
He at the same time noted besides making amends for gender parity in Parliament, Kenyans must also replicate the same in all echelons of Public Service so as to ensure full compliance with both the letter and the spirit of our Constitution.
The WDM-K leader said President Uhuru Kenyatta’s fight against corruption will enable the country to have adequate resources to cater for the 21 extra members required to comply with the Constitution.
The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2018 seeks to ensure Parliament complies with the crucial two-thirds gender principle as provided for in the constitution. It also states that not more than two-thirds of the Members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender.
By Bernadette Khaduli