EXPERT COMMENT: Gender Bill a lazy legislation for a complex issue

The route we are following as Parliament is not a total solution to the gender parity issue in this country. I think it is just a partial solution. There are loopholes in

The route we are following as Parliament is not a total solution to thegender parity issue in this country. I think it is just a partial solution. Thereare loopholes in the Bill. It is an attempt at solving a very complex problemusing a very lazy legislation.

The defect in the Bill is that its supporters seem to assume thetwo-third-gender rule is based on the 290 constituencies. That is not true. Itis based on the total number of members in the House, that is 349. The Housedoes not require 22 members to bridge the gap as others have suggested but 43members.

The problem lies in our electoral process. For example, our elections are soviciously fought that women cannot cope. As Parliament, I think we should gofurther and start the process of addressing the underlying issues throughsweeping amendments to the existing electoral laws to bring about proportionalrepresentation.

We should change the electoral system to bring about proportionalrepresentation. In my view, that way the gender issue will be resolved and theviciousness of elections will be a thing of the past.

However, as Parliament races against time to enact this gender-parityenabling legislation, there is a big problem if MPs fail to pass the Bill.

Ofcourse most MPs have spoken openly in support of the Bill and I hope they willwalk the talk during voting. There is a danger that Parliament would bedissolved if the law is defeated.

If the Bill fails to sail through and the House is dissolved, MPs will haveto start the process afresh. In the fresh Bill, the House can considerproportional representation to solve the gender problem once and for all.

Gender parity in representation should be progressive. Over the yearswe have seen the number of women in elective positions increasing graduallyfrom two or three at Independence to the current 23 in the National Assembly.

They are trying to push something which is unnatural. If we want thetwo-thirds gender rule to work, we must change electoral laws.

The Ford Kenya secretary general and Tongaren MP spoke to the Star

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