Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Group scores big in war for third gender

Audrey Mbugua sued the Kenya National Examinations Council for refusing to effect the changes and remove the male gender mark on her examination result certificates on grounds that it was rendering her unemployable. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | FILE

Audrey Mbugua sued the Kenya National Examinations Council for refusing to effect the changes and remove the male gender mark on her examination result certificates on grounds that it was rendering her unemployable. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | FILE  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By VINCENT AGOYA
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A group seeking to have a third gender, Transgender, recognised in Kenya has won a major legal battle.

The Non-Governmental Organisations Coordination Board was on Wednesday ordered to register an advocacy group for transsexuals in a landmark ruling likely to open a Pandora’s Box over gender discrimination.

A judge on Wednesday criticised the board for having declined to recognise the Transgender Education and Advocacy whose members had sued for discrimination and violation of fundamental human rights.

Mr Justice George Odunga said the board’s refusal to register the group amounted to a failure in discharging statutory functions and mandate and “was unfair and in breach of rules of natural justice.”

He also ordered the board to compensate Ms Audrey Mbugua, Ms Maureen Muia and Ms Annet Jennifer the cost of the three year-old litigation. (READ: Andrew to Audrey: A case of genes, wiring and choice)

The judge said the Constitution upheld the individuals’ rights to assembly and this could not be denied on the basis of gender.

Ms Mbugua, formerly Andrew Ithibu Mbugua, has been battling for recognition as a transsexual.

In a separate case pending in court, Ms Mbugua wants the Kenya National Examinations Council to change the gender mark in her certificates on the ground that the male identity has rendered her unemployable. (READ: Why examiner won’t open Pandora’s box)

The NGO board had argued that it could not recognise the group members since the names they had submitted for registration were not the ones reflecting their gender.

However, the judge said there was evidence that Ms Mbugua and her colleagues had changed their names.

He said the reasons advanced for denial of registration had no legal basis and were unreasonable.

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