In a press conference on November 25 marking the kick-off for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, women leaders drawn from different walks of life showered praises on Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr for his role in advocating for women’s representation through the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
The bill sponsored by Senator Mutula and nominated senator Farhiya Ali proposed an amendment to the Constitution to give effect to the two-thirds gender principle through the creation of what they termed as ‘special seats’.
Led by former Nyeri Women Rep, Priscilla Nyokabi, the leaders hailed the senator for the bill that was unfortunately brought down by the Senate justice and legal affairs committee stating that additional female MPs would not have any impact to the nation.
“We want to thank Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr for staying true to his mandate as an elected senator. He put his real effort in coming up with this bill,” remarked Nyokabi.
“I thank the senator for being a people’s representative and for showing his ardent support and respect for the Constitution of Kenya,” added Nyokabi.
Nominated senator Mary Yiane Seneta also heaped praises on Senator Mutula terming his efforts as a clear indication of ensuring constitutional women representation in the Senate and the National Assembly.
“I laud Senator Mutula for the bill and also appreciate the efforts of Senator Farhiya Ali who also joined hands with Mutula to see to it that women are fully represented,” she stated.
According to The Standard on November 22, the Senate legal affairs and justice committee, in a report tabled in the house, termed the impact of nominated women in the National Assembly and Senate was yet to be felt jeopardising efforts to accomplish the constitutional requirement for gender representation in Parliament.
“The bill infringes on the political rights of the public by imposing that women be voted for,” reads part of the report as quoted by The Standard.
However, the female leaders have vowed to fight for the nomination positions in and out of Parliament calling upon the president to see to it that the constitution was followed promptly.
In February 2019, the bill tabled by National Assembly majority leader Adan Duale, that sought to amend the Constitution to provide for special nomination seats for women to bridge the gender gap in Parliament flopped for the fourth time, with only 174 members present.
The bill sought to create special nomination posts for women in the National Assembly and Senate ensuring not more than two-thirds of seats in appointive and elective bodies would be of the same gender.