The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Ministers' Travel Called Off for Gender Debate

Cabinet ministers and their assistants will not be allowed to travel out of the country tomorrow and Wednesday.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka yesterday said President Kibaki will not clear any minister to travel out as government seeks to address the gender rule in the constitution.

"The government is committed to ensure that MPs raise the required two thirds majority to pass the amendment and I am happy President Kibaki has accepted our request for ministers and assistants not to travel on Tuesday and Wednesday," Kalonzo said. Cabinet has proposed that, an amendment is effected in the law to have parties nominate more women to fill any gaps should a verdict of the general fail to realize a one-third majority rule.

Yesterday, the proposal got a boss after Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and his TNA allies resolved to support the Cabinet bill. TNA allied MP's will hold a parliamentary group meeting tomorrow on the same. Uhuru who was meeting 35 MPs in Naivasha told them that Kenyans passed a constitution that requires that no more that two thirds of any elective or appointive body should be from the same gender.

"We will hold a meeting of over 50 TNA allied MPs in Nairobi on Tuesday but as a party we have resolved to support the motion," Assistant Minister Cecily Mbarire said. On his side Agriculture assistant minister Kareke Mbiuki said MPs have no option other than to support the amendment because; 'Kenyans and especially women passed the new constitution because of such provisions'.

Ministry of justice, the AG's office, IEBC, CIC, CIOC, and the gender commission agreed last week the gender quota as provided for in the constitution should be filled after the general election They argue that the quota will only be known after the general election. After establishing the quota political parties will conduct elections to fill the quota through party lists. The election will be supervised by IEBC.The parties will be expected to submit the lists to the IEBC beforehand.

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