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Why vote on gender bill may be delayed

By Moses Nyamori | November 27th 2018

The National Assembly leadership is considering delaying a vote on the gender Bill scheduled for Wednesday, tomorrow.

The delay is meant to create time for further lobbying amid reports that a majority of MPs are plotting to reject it. 

Both the ruling Jubilee Party and opposition's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) had planned separate parliamentary group (PG) meetings to lobby MPs to support the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

But the meetings were cancelled last minute, with the parties citing the blue economy conference taking place at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

ODM Political Affairs Secretary Opiyo Wandayi said the PG was postponed indefinitely.

Crisis meeting

The House Business Committee was in the evening scheduled to hold a crisis meeting over the vote. The Standard has learnt that the committee was toying with the idea of suspending it until next year.

 “We will this evening  have a meeting of the House Business Committee to decide whether to vote on Wednesday (today) or suspend it. We may consider moving it beyond next week,” an MP sitting in the committee said.

The National Assembly is set to proceed for Christmas Holiday on December 6, meaning should the vote be pushed beyond next week the earliest it can come up for a vote is February.

MPs opposed to the 'gender top-up' have cited abuse of the slots by party leaders, and are demanding a clear framework for nominations before they can back the Bill.

They claimed nomination slots have previously been used to reward relatives, cronies and girlfriends of top party officials.

Proposed law requires a two-thirds majority (233 MPs) backing to pass.


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