Executive Director FIDA Kenya Christine Ochieng. According to Christine, Kenya should enforce one-third gender rule in next elections. (PHOTO: COURTESY)
Kenya should enforce one-third gender rule in next elections
In democratic societies, the political leadership should mirror the population from which it is drawn.
According to the 2009 national population census, women constitute 51.4 per cent of the population and 47 per cent of registered voters. This numerical strength is, however, not reflected in the representation of women in political leadership. The Constitution contains several gains for women with respect to access to political rights and participation in political leadership. The preamble envisages a government based on “the essential values of human rights, equality, freedom, democracy, social justice and the rule of law”. Article 81 (b) of the Constitution provides that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender. This means women, who had been historically underrepresented, have to constitute at least one-third of all elective and appointive positions in public agencies. Further, article 100 provides that Parliament shall enact legislation to promote the representation in Parliament of women, persons with disabilities, youth, ethnic and other minorities and marginalised communities. Despite this legislative progress, the gender balance in political leadership was not achieved in the 2013 general election. According to the Gender Audit of Kenya 2013 Elections Process conducted by Fida Kenya, despite a very progressive Constitution, most institutions took on a very passive and minimalistic approach in putting in place measures that would have enhanced the space for women as they pursued their civic and political rights.
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