17 August 2017

Kenya: Fida Moves to Court Over Implementation of Gender Rule

The Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida) has moved to court seeking to have the electoral agency compelled to present to Parliament a list of nominees that conforms to the gender principle.

Fida has sued speakers of National Assembly and Senate as well as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the Attorney-General while protesting lack of legislation on the gender principle.

Through lawyer Eunice Lumallas, Fida argues that Kenya lacks legislation to implement the gender rule which stipulates that any elective or appointive body should not have more than two thirds of its members from one gender.

"It is necessary that this matter is heard and determined quickly as court remedies can be implemented to solve the unconstitutionality of the composition of the 12th Parliament," she said.

Fida claims the gender rule applies to representation in the National Assembly and Senate yet timelines for enacting necessary legislation had been largely ignored.

The federation has faulted the 11th Parliament for not enacting the disputed legislation or reporting any progress on the matter despite the elapse of the extended deadline.


Following the successful conclusion of the General Election, elected Members of the National Assembly and the Senate will soon be sworn in while IEBC will publish a list of nominated ones.

However, Fida wants the swearing in and resumption of business by the 12th parliament declared unlawful, considering the composition of both houses, adding that the gender rule was to be implemented before polls were held.

"The number of women in the list of elected MPs as published by IEBC is less than a third of the total number of legislators contrary to the mandatory provisions of the Constitution," said Ms Lumallas.

The federation also wants failure to legislate on the gender rule be declared unconstitutional, while the IEBC be compelled to present to Parliament a list of nominees that will conform to the disputed law.

Fida further wants the sued parties compelled to remedy the constitutional breach by taking steps to ensure the gender principle is complied with to the latter.

This is not the first time protests against lack of legislation on the gender principle is being dragged to court.


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