'Give women poll losers special seats' Speakers Justin Muturi and Ekwee Ethuro propose

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro

NAIROBI: The two Speakers of Parliament have concurred that only women who contest the elections and lose should be considered for nomination, in an effort to address the gender rule.

Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro and his National Assembly counterpart Justin Muturi were in agreement in their separate address to the media that nominations should not be granted to women who have not participated in the political processes for their parties.

The two also lobbied for the extension of the August 27 deadline for the implementation of the two-thirds gender rule by one year in order to allow for further consultations on the bill.

Speaking in his office, Muturi called for amendments to the Political Parties Act and the Elections Act in order to compel political parties to make sure they nominate women who participate in elections.

He said this will guarantee the participation of women in elective positions of MPs as well as members of county assemblies.

According to him, women who will have performed well and demonstrated the capacity to lead should be the ones given the priority in nominations in order to eliminate the accusations that those nominated are individuals perceived to be close to party leaders.

"The top-ups to fulfil the gender rule should come from the losers of elections, unlike before where you only nominate individuals yet you do not know where they come from, whether they were taken through a competitive process and whether they have interest in politics," he said.

Ethuro maintained there should be no free seats in the next elections as political parties will be required to nominate candidates who lose in primaries. He also noted that the task squarely lies with the Parliament as the Executive has played its part in Cabinet appointments and county assemblies.

"State and assemblies have embraced the rule. The challenge now remains with the Parliament," said Ethuro.

Ethuro said the nominations will be made from the list of those who contested in elections.

"There will be no poll losers but best losers who will be considered for the available slots. We are not going to have free seats. To be considered, one will be required to participate in the elective process," he said.