The number of National Assembly legislators could increase to 391 from the current 349 if the proposed amendment to the Constitution to have more women nominated is enacted.
Those in the Senate could also increase but marginally to about 71 from the current 67 members that has 47 elected out of which three are women and 20 nominated- 16 women and four men.
The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill by National Assembly Majority Leader, Aden Duale, is set for debate Tuesday. The bill proposes special nomination seats for women to be shared among political parties depending on the strength in Parliament.
The passage of the bill could see the country pay about Sh60 million in monthly salaries and other allowances to the nominated women Members of Parliament.
Mr Duale’s proposal is bound to raise opposition within Parliament and outside, in terms of the increasing public wage bill. But yesterday, Mr Duale was adamant that the law is a requirement in the Constitution.
“We need this law in place not because Mr Duale or whoever wants it, but because the Constitution demands that Parliament enacts it within a time-frame, which has lapsed. So we have no otherwise but to abide,” Mr Duale said.
Article 81 (b) provides that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies- among them parliament, shall be of the same gender.
Currently, the National Assembly has 75 women MPs- 22 elected from the 290 constituencies in the last election, six nominated in the 12 nomination slots while 47 were elected from the counties in the spirit of affirmative action.
The affirmative action is required to bridge the gender disparity between women and men in both appointive and elective public bodies.
Already a section of the civil society has moved to court to seek the dissolution of Parliament for failing to enact the elusive gender representation as required by the Constitution.