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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Parties have six months to enforce gender rule

Executive director of Crawn Trust Daisy Amdany (C) and stakeholders address the press outside the Milimani law courts on Wednesday / COLLINS KWEYU
Executive director of Crawn Trust Daisy Amdany (C) and stakeholders address the press outside the Milimani law courts on Wednesday / COLLINS KWEYU

The High Court yesterday ordered all political parties to enforce the two-thirds rule in six months.

Justice Chacha Mwita said political parties must formulate rules and regulations governing nomination for candidates aspiring for MP and senator seats.

He made the ruling in a case filed by the Katiba Institute against the IEBC. Mwita said in case the political parties fail to comply with the requirement in the given time, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission should then put in place mechanisms to enforce the requirement. The judge said the electoral agency must, in future polls, reject any list of nomination presented by political parties that will not adhere to the policy. “The women of Kenya are not lesser beings. Their rights must be respected. The two-thirds gender rule is about human dignity and securing equal rights for women,” the judge said.

Mwita said directing the gender rule to be enforced during the August 8 polls would create more confusion. It is inconceivable for political parties to restructure nomination lists in the face of the strict deadlines ahead of the elections.

The lobby asked the court to compel the IEBC to ensure all lists from political parties meet the gender rule requirements. Through lawyer Waikwa Wanyoike, the organisation said in 2013, no obligation was imposed on political parties to ensure the nominees they presented to the IEBC met the minimum gender requirement, and it was necessary they be ordered to do so.

The lobby said nominations for constituency and county-based elective positions by political parties must adhere to the requirement of the Constitution. Each party should not be allowed to nominate more than two thirds of its candidates from one gender. Mwita said the controversy surrounding the two-thirds gender rule is unjustifiable. The judge noted that Parliament had not enacted the necessary legislation but there was no other way out since “the Constitution has spoken and we must listen”.

He said political parties are funded by the public resources and are expected to be transparent and accountable.

He also said the IEBC must take a pro-active role in the promotion of affirmative action to ensure women participation in nominations for elective positions.

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