Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony has called on the National Assembly to speed up the passage of the Two-thirds Gender Rule Bill.
The Bill has been shot down three times. It seeks to achieve the constitutional requirement that not more than two-thirds of all appointive and elected positions in public service do not go to one gender.
Speaking when he opened a two-day induction workshop for County Executive Committee Members responsible for the Gender dockets in counties, Prof Chepkwony expressed concern that the debate on the bill had dragged on for too long.
The county chief, who chairs the Gender Committee in the Council of Governors, added that the failure by MPs to was putting the fight against gender inequality in jeopardy.
“I urge Members of Parliament to lead by example, and move fast and pass that bill because it will play a major role in ensuring that is equal representation in leadership for both men and women,” said Prof Chepkwony in Nairobi.
Including the 47 woman representatives, there are a total of 76 women in the National Assembly with 23 of them elected, and six nominated, out of the 349 members of the House. There needs to be 41 more to meet the constitutional threshold.
In the Senate, there are 21 women, three elected, and 19 nominated, bringing the deficit to 12 to achieve the rule.
At the county ministers meeting, Prof Chepkwony noted that devolution had done a lot in promoting gender equality and women empowerment, with most county government now bridging the gender gap by appointing more women to government.
Prof Chepkwony added that county governments were also taking steps towards ensuring that women have equal access to government contracts unlike the past when men took up most of the work.
“Devolution has done a lot to promote gender equality. In Kericho for instance, 60 per cent of my staff are women. I am glad that county governments are doing their best to ensure equal representation for both genders,” he added.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale tabled the Two-thirds gender rule Bill three years ago but Members of Parliament have failed to pass the legislation on several occasions and remains stalled in the legislative process.
Chairperson of the Association of Kenyan Women in Senate Abshiro Soka Halake said it was of paramount importance that the Gender Bill be passed as soon as possible.
“We have studied the two-thirds gender bill and we find it to be fine and in order. I am hopeful that it will be passed. No single gender should be taking the lion’s share in terms of representation and oversight,” said Ms Halake.
The senator also called on governors to give prominence to gender issues and support national government initiatives that seek to enhance gender mainstreaming at the county level.