Kenya has been ranked as one of the countries with the lowest number of women legislators in the region despite the Two Thirds gender rule. Elected women leaders have expressed concern over the slow implementation of the Two Thirds gender rule. The case on the Two Thirds gender rule is in High Court after its implementation faced several setbacks in Parliament.
According to the latest statistics, Kenya stands at position six, with 22 per cent of women in the National Assembly and 31 per cent in Senate. Rwanda is leading the pack with 61 per cent followed by Tanzania (36), Burundi (36), Uganda (34) and South Sudan at 28.5 per cent.
This emerged during the opening ceremony of the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA) three-day retreat in Naivasha. Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said the number of women in Parliament was rising gradually in both Houses.
In a speech read on his behalf by Uasin Gishu Senator Prof Margaret Kamar, the Speaker said after the promulgation of the Constitution, the number of women in Parliament had risen from 20.6 to more than 23 per cent. Kamar pointed out that women in politics continued to face several challenges in their line of duty. “In confronting these challenges, you must enlist the support of your male counterparts through persuasive dialogue and articulation of key issue facing women,” she said.
National Assembly Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi said the recent election of three women governors, was a positive indicator of good things to come.
Cheboi celebrated women from pastoral areas who made it to the National Assembly, saying they overcame several odds to clinch the positions.
“Kenya has had few elected women in Parliament for long but we are grateful that under the new Constitution things have changed,” he said.
NARC-Kenya chair Martha Karua noted that the Two Thirds rule could only be realised if women parliamentarians set aside their differences.