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Lobby groups sue AG, House speakers over two-thirds gender rule

COUNTIES
By Kamau Muthoni | September 6th 2016

Two lobby groups have sued the AG, National Assembly and the Senate for failing to enact the two-thirds gender rule.

Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (Creaw), Community Advocacy and Awareness Trust (CRAWN TRUST) have for the second time moved to the High Court to force the two houses to pass the law before the next elections.

The lobbies moved to court after the legislators failed to pass the bill into law despite extending the deadline from August last year to this year.

“The extended constitutional deadline for the enactment of the legislation necessary for the implementation of the not more than two thirds gender principle lapsed on August 27, 2016. Following the above time lapse parliament no longer has powers to make a further extension,” the court papers filed by lawyer Dismas Wambola yesterday read.

“That time having lapsed, the petitioners have a reason to complain that the first and second respondents have neglected their constitutional obligations to pass the legislation.”

The lobby groups in court papers filed yesterday complained that there will be unfair representation in both houses come 2017 if the impasse is allowed to stand.

The papers filed against speakers Ekwe Ethuro, Justin Muturi and Attorney General Githu Muigai read that women have suffered political exclusion and have been denied their right to participate in public appointments in the previous years.

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“The more than two-thirds gender rule principle in relation to membership of the National Assembly and the Senate has to be implemented before the next General Election,” the court papers continued.

The High Court last year gave the Attorney General and the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) 40 days to prepare and table the two-thirds gender rule bill before Parliament.

Justice Mumbi Ngugi in her ruling said the two institutions had put brakes on the directive issued by the Supreme Court in 2012, that the bill be tabled within five years after promulgation of the Constitution. Lady Justice Ngugi said Prof Githu and the then Charles Nyachae-led CIC must ensure the Supreme Court directive is followed.

The AG had cautioned Parliament of a possible dissolution over their continued failure to pass the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill of 2015 on the two thirds gender principle.

The new case will be heard today.

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