Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga has advised President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament pursuant to Article 261(7) for failing to enact the Two-Thirds gender rule.
The CJ’s advisory is based on 6 petitions from the Law Society of Kenya, former Marakwet West Member of Parliament David Sudi, Margaret Toili, Fredrick Mbugua, Bernhard Aoko, and Stephen Owoko.
“…for over 9 years and despite 4 court orders, (Parliament) failed, refused and /or neglected to enact the requisite legislation,” said Maraga,
“I should, pursuant to the provisions of Article 261(7) of the Constitution, advise you to dissolve Parliament.”
Kenya’s constitution maintains that women occupy a third of parliament seats but the government has been slow to enact the rule.
The 2010 Constitution provides that ‘not more than two-thirds of the members of elective bodies shall be of the same gender.
Article 177(1)(b) and (c) of the 2010 Constitution, which included in the composition of the county
assemblies ‘the number of special seat members necessary to ensure that no more than two-thirds of the membership of the assembly is of the same gender.
However, no similar provision was included for Parliament (National Assembly and Senate).
Article 90 (1) provides that ‘elections for the seats in Parliament provided for under Articles 97 (1) (c) and 98 (1) (b), (c) and (d), and for the members, of county assemblies under 177 (1) (b) and (c), shall be on the basis of proportional representation by use of party lists.
According to Maraga:
“In the circumstance, let us endure pain, if we must if only to remind ourselves, as a country, that choices and particularly choices on constitutional obligations have consequences. Let us endure pain if only to remind the electorate to hold their Parliamentary representatives accountable. Let us endure pain if only to remind ourselves that, as a country, being a democracy that has chosen to be governed by the rule of law, we must say no to impunity and hold everyone accountable for their actions or omissions.”