1/3 of candidates should be women

Political parties must have women as at least one-third of their candidates at every election.

In Summary

• A task force is proposing that government tops up women in Parliament after elections

• The gender rule in the 2010 Constitution specifies that at least one-third of elected officials should be women 

A task force appointed by Gender CS Aisha Jumwa has recommended that numbers of MPs be topped  up after every election to ensure that at least one-third of politicians are women.

This noble idea is not a good one for multiple reasons.

Firstly, it is not affordable. Already the average MP gets Sh2 million per month. This proposed arrangement would add 133 women to the National Assembly and 23 to the Senate for today's Parliament.

More importantly, this proposed arrangement is anti-democratic because electors will not be choosing individuals through the vote. Parties will merely appoint loyalists to fill the top-up positions.

Moreover political parties can cheat and elect only men, safe in the knowledge that the constitutional gender rule will be observed through the top-up after the election.

One simple way to move forward is to legally oblige every political party to follow the one-third gender rule on their lists of candidates. Therefore at least one-third of candidates standing for election will be women.

This will not result in instant gender balance in Parliament but it will demonstrate steady progress in line with the 2010 Constitution.

Quote of the day: "The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do."

Joseph Stalin 
The Soviet Premier suffered a stroke on March 1, 1953

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