Implement two-thirds Gender rule, ICJ tells National Dialogue Committee

ICJ Kenya Deputy Executive Director Demas Kiprono during the submissions to the National Dialogue Committee at the Bomas of Kenya on Wednesday, September 27, 2023. [Courtesy, ICJ]

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Kenya) want Article 43 of the constitution to be implemented and the government to address the high cost of living.

They also want President William Ruto's Kenya Kwanza administration to fight corruption, and stop irresponsible borrowing and as well as government wastage.

These were submissions made by the lobby group's commissioner led by Deputy Executive Director Demas Kiprono to the National Dialogue Committee at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi on Wednesday, September 27.

The committee was co-chaired by Azimio co-principal Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka and EALA MP Hassan Omar, who was sitting in for the National Assembly Majority leader and Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wah.

Kiprono further noted that social and economic rights are a cornerstone of human rights, aiming to create a more just and equitable society where all individuals can live in dignity and reach their full potential.

He said that protecting and promoting these rights were essential for building a more inclusive and prosperous world for everyone.

"Government wastage is often associated with inefficiency and mismanagement. It siphons resources away from essential services. This includes misallocating funds, overpriced contracts, and ghosting workers on payrolls. Such wastage hampers development and contributes to budget deficits, prompting more borrowing," said Kiprono.

He added: "Kenya should prioritize transparency, effective oversight, and accountability mechanisms to combat government wastage and corruption."

By combating corruption, implementing responsible borrowing practices, and improving fiscal management, Kenya can allocate resources more efficiently, reduce inequality, and create an environment conducive to economic growth and social progress.

ICJ Kenya has also called for the implementation of the two-thirds gender rule, citing that it cannot be ignored since the Supreme Court has already pronounced that parliament failed to honour the constitutional edict.

As such, parliament has been urged to enact a clear and precise law on the two-thirds gender rule and have the political will to fully implement it to avoid situations where it and other Institutions will be found to breach this Constitutional provision.

On governance issues including promoting national unity and inclusivity in public appointments, ICJ Kenya posits that deliberate steps must be made to ensure that all facets of Kenyan society are represented in appointive leadership at all levels of government.

"Political patronage, nepotism, and tribalism still influence political party structures and public appointments at the national and county levels, thus undermining the principles of inclusivity and meritocracy," noted the deputy executive director.

Others issues that dominated the petition included the need for adequate cheques and balance and separation of power in order to inculcate constitutionalism, the rule of law, democracy and human rights, the entrenchment of funds into the constitution and constitutionality of the office of the leader of official opposition and office of the prime cabinet secretary.

Julie Wayua Matheka, program manager ICJ Kenya, further noted that it is important to resource and strengthen independent institutions as well as the Judiciary to be able to fulfil their mandate.

She also called for openness and transparency in the recruitment of the select panel for IEBC and its commissioners.

"There is a significant lack of public trust and confidence in the current structure and functioning of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). This lack of trust is a critical concern and must be addressed," she said.

"Additionally, there is a perceived need for increased accountability and transparency in the activities of the IEBC, particularly concerning electoral processes and decision-making," she added.

Wayua called for meaningful engagement with various stakeholders, including political parties, civil society organisations, and citizens, in order to ensure that the IEBC is inclusive and representative of diverse interests.