Vote on two-thirds gender House representation rule deferred

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi. [Photo, File]

Supporters of the Gender Bill will have to wait until Tuesday next week when a date will be set to vote.

Voting was today shelved for lack of quorum.

Women Parliamentarians had lobbied leaders to show up and take a vote. Party leaders Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka turned up at Parliament to rally their support for the bill, however, it was not to be.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 is sponsored by Majority leader Aden Duale who called for its deferment when it became clear its sailing through was not guaranteed.

Speaker after speaker supported Duale, stating that it was better to shelve the bill than to have it fail.

At one stage, the House looked full but National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi cautioned the MPs, who insisted on having the vote carried on that the required 233 MPs might have been in the house but that did not mean all of them were in favour of the bill.

To assure the members, Muturi kept tabs, calling out the numbers, which oscillated between 212 and 207.

Samburu Woman Rep Maison Leshomo said some members are not genuine in their push for the Gender Bill.

Her sentiments were supported by Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga (ODM), who asked Muturi to determine how many members are present and whether the vote can continue.

Suna East's Junet Mohammed (ODM) seemed irked by deferment calls, saying he lobbied over 100 NASA legislators to show up to take the vote.

"The bill has held Parliament hostage for one month. We need to dispense with it," he said.

Duale dismissed claims that if the bill is not voted on today it will flop.

"We can push it until February. It will only die a natural death in December 2019," he said.

His February date was a suggestion. The exact date on the vote will be discussed on Tuesday.

Duale said more time was needed to lobby, consult and have more on board to bridge the gender gap.

Among those who supported calls to shelve the bill were Murang'a's Sabina Chege Jubilee) and ODM national chairman John Mbadi.

Mbadi earlier urged ODM lawmakers to show up in the afternoon session and vote for the bill.

He seemed to sing a different tune when he supported Duale's request to push the debate to a later date.

Kisumu West's Olago Aluoch (ODM) urged the House not to downplay the issue.

"Duale should know his request could lead to the death of the bill," he said.

According to Standing Orders, the bill cannot die at this stage. It has the life of two sessions. Standing it down will not kill it.