A fresh attempt to achieve gender-parity in elective positions was made last week when a motion to table a bill on the two-thirds gender rule, was presented before the Kenyan Senate by nominated Senator Judith Sijeny.
A previous government sponsored bill, seeking to entrench the two-thirds gender rule, failed to sail through the National Assembly three months ago. Proponents of the bill attributed the failure to intense lobbying by opposing members and lack of proper information to the public.
That defeat resulted in a missed opportunity to comply with constitutionally specified timeline of 27 August. The new bill now before Senate presents a renewed opportunity to realize the rule.
To make it more palatable to the opposition, the Sijeny Bill has provided a sunset clause and also limited the number of times that a woman could benefit from being nominated under this mechanism.
For its part the government said it was committed to implementation of the principle, not only in the pursuit of constitutional compliance, but in the genuine conviction that empowering women was crucial to the development of the nation.
The law is meant to balance the composition of elective offices in Kenya to ensure there is equity in the government by not allowing one gender to hold more than two-thirds of elective positions.