Court grants parties temporary reprieve over gender rule

Thursday April 20 2017

National Gender and Equality Commission chairperson Winfred Lichuma

National Gender and Equality Commission chairperson Winfred Lichuma (second right) addresses the media on April 19, 2017 at Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi. She urged MPs to pass the gender bill. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MAUREEN KAKAH
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Political parties have been spared from ensuring that their nominations comply with the two thirds gender rule.

This follows High Court judge Enoch Chacha Mwita’s ruling that the electoral commission should reject party lists that do not comply with the two thirds gender rule for elective posts during 2022 General Election.

However, Justice Mwita ordered political parties to consider formulating rules and regulations that will ensure compliance in the next six months.

OBSERVE GENDER PARITY
Should the parties fail to do so, the electoral commission should devise an administrative mechanism to ensure the gender principle is realised.

“I do not see how political parties can be made to rework their nominations to comply with the two thirds gender principle. But for avoidance of doubt, this order shall not apply to the General Election of August 8,” ruled Justice Mwita.

Katiba Institute had sued the electoral commission and wanted to have parties compelled to enforce the gender principle in the oncoming polls.

IEBC'S CHALLENGE
Before going to court on January 25, the institute had written to the commission on December 15 last year seeking to know whether it would ensure all political parties will comply.

But the commission had told the court that political parties had been urged to consider the two thirds gender rule, consider applying reasonable nomination fees for special interest groups and prioritising a woman as a top candidate on party lists.

The commission also pointed out that it’s indeed a challenge to implement the two thirds gender principle in elective posts and also impose sanctions to political parties for being non-compliant.