“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” Roseanne Barr. Is a quote that reflects the current dilemma facing the Chief Justice David Maraga.
Article 27(8) of the Constitution provides thus: “The State shall take legislative and other measures to implement the principle that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender.”
There have been four attempts by the National Assembly to enact the Gender Bill with the immediate one being on February 27, last year.
In a petition filed by Law society of Kenya President Nelson Havi,
“Article 261(7) provides that if parliament fails to enact any court-ordered legislation to implement the Constitution, the Chief Justice shall advise the President to dissolve Parliament and the President shall dissolve Parliament,” says Havi.
Others who have filed similar petitions are former Marakwet West MP David Sudi, Bernhard Aok, Stephen Owok, Margaret Toili and Fredrick Mbugua. The Senate also faces the noose for failing to implement the rule.
The speakers of the two Houses have 14 days to file responses and thereafter, the CJ will be expected to advise the President to dissolve Parliament, a move that would render the 418 lawmakers including 349 at the National Assembly and 67 in the Senate, out of work.
In the last attempt, the National Assembly lacked the quorum of 233 MPs to vote for the Bill given it requires two-thirds to pass the it.
Havi, who spoke after a mention on the petition, confirmed Parliament had declined to enact the legislation despite the High Court in March 2017, once again finding that MPs had refused in their constitutional obligations to ensure the gender principle is enforced. Then, the court gave the MPs 60 days to do so, but still failed.
Havi, who was flanked by the LSK Council, said the failure had persisted not withstanding two decisions of the Judiciary on the matter. In 2012, the Supreme Court saved came to the rescue of parliament, giving them until August 27, 2015, to enact needed legislation.
The court ordered that should parliament fail to enact the law within the 60-day period, Article 261 of the Constitution would apply, where anyone could petition Justice Maraga to advise the President to dissolve parliament.
Currently, 78 per cent of the MPs are male against the constitutional maximum of two-thirds or 67 percent.
If Maraga rules in favour of the petitioners and goes ahead to ask President Kenyatta to dissolve the both Parliament and Senate. This means, the senators and Mps will be at the mercy of Uhuru Kenyatta.
With the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum in mind, and rebellion in Parliament and Senate growing, political analysts say the dissolution card will play a major role in facilitating government business.
Although not a political machination,as some critics retorted “Who is Havi’s client? Do Kenyans want to go into an election now? The country cannot be held captive by legalism. We must be progressive we are busy fighting Covid-19 and the petitions are just a distraction,” said National Assembly chairman of Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Muturi Kigano.
its time we gave our mothers, sisters and daughters a chance in real leadership.Its time the majority population in Kenya felt equally represented in the day to day running of the country.
” How absurd it was that in all the seven kingdoms, the weakest and most vulnerable of people – girls, women – went unarmed and were taught nothing of fighting, while the strong were trained to the highest reaches of their skill”.
Kristin Cashore, Graceling (Graceling Realm)