Katiba Institute wants political parties to adhere to gender rule

By CAROLE MAINA, @mainacarole The Star Newspaper www.the-star.co.ke Jan. 26, 2017

Katiba Institute has launched a fresh legal bid to ensure political parties adhere to the two-thirds gender rule while picking nominees for the next election.

Chairperson Yash Pal Ghai, in an urgent petition filed at the High Court, wants the IEBC prohibited from accepting any list from political parties that fails to meet requirements of the gender rule.

Ghai also want the court to compel the electoral agency to reject all nominees of such a party for clearance to compete in the general elections.

“Nominations for constituency and county-based elective positions by political parties must adhere to the requirement of the constitution such that each party shall not be allowed to nominate more than two thirds of its candidates from one gender,” says Ghai.

He also wants the file referred to Chief Justice David Maraga for appointment of a bench of an even number of judges, as substantial questions of law are raised.

The Supreme Court, on December 11, 2012, gave Parliament up to August 27, 2015 to come up with legislation on how the gender principle would be met in this year’s election.

The lobby, through lawyer Waikwa Wanyoike, says that in 2013, no obligation was imposed on political parties to ensure that the nominees list they presented to the IEBC met the one-third minimum gender requirement.

Waikwa said women have had limited opportunities for political participation and that the court should intervene to ensure this is not repeated.

“No obligation was imposed on political parties to show that their nominations process met the requirement of gender equality and equity, nondiscrimination or protection of marginalized group,” he said.

The lawyer further argued that despite the creation of the 47 elective positions exclusively for women, only 19 per cent of members of the National Assembly are women.

“The percentage falls short of the bare minimum 33 per cent or one third minimum composition required by the constitution,” he said.

The group says it wrote to the commission on December 15, 2016 requesting to know whether it intends to enforce the rule but is yet to receive feedback.

The lobby is seeking several orders among them one that states that the IEBC is constitutionally duty-bound to reject any list that does not meet the gender rule requirement.

This is for the 290 constituent-based elective positions of MPS and the 47 county-based elective positions for the senate.



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