Wednesday, 6 September 2017

HOW TO IMPLEMENT THE TWO THIRDS GENDER RULE IN THE KENYAN PARLIAMENT - A LAYMAN'S PERSPECTIVE

EDWIN KIPTANUI CHIRCHIR edchirchir@yahoo.com edchirchir85@gmail.com


Gender Equality, Man, Woman, Female


IMAGE CREDIT: PIXABAY

Article 81 (b) of the Constitution of Kenya states that 'Not more than two - thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender.'

The problem is, how do you conduct elections in such a manner that you are in line with the gender rule, without infringing on the citizens' democratic rights? Do you set aside some counties or constituencies purely for women? No. It will still amount to infringement of the rights of the people to elect the leaders they desire.

So, what do we do? The most reasonable way would be to nominate more women where there is a shortage but then, it resurrects that ugly ogre called the Wage Bill.

Assuming for example that we have 300 members of the National Assembly, with women being a minority then, in order to be in line with the Two Thirds Gender Rule, we should have at least 100 women out of the 300. Anything less than that and the Institution (Parliament) becomes unconstitutional meaning we have to nominate more women and incur more costs.

Another scenario: assuming we elect 250 men out of the 300 members of the National  Assembly, it will mean that we have violated the constitution because we now have 83% of the members of parliament being men instead of the required 67% (2/3 or less). This means we will have to nominate approximately 73 more women to sort out the constitutional mess and by doing that, the tax payer suffers.

But then, the main reason why we need more women in parliament is so that their voices can be heard and issues attended to. How can their voices be heard? Their voices can be heard through their votes for or against bills in parliament. Can their voices be heard without nominating more women? Yes. In a situation where women are less than 1/3 of the members of parliament, we should double or triple the votes held by each woman, in order to match the single vote held by each man.

Back to the scenario above, in the case where you have 250 men out of 300 parliamentarians. Instead of nominating 73 more women, we should just triple the votes held by each woman so that now we have 100 more 'ghost' female parliamentarians, who are not being paid by the tax payer. That way, their voices can be heard without a huge pay bill. So, how will they vote for or against a bill? Each woman gets 3 ballot papers and each man gets 1 ballot paper, which means parliament needs to drop that style of voting by shouting 'I' or 'Neigh' because it cannot work in this case.

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