Kenya’s parliament has a gender-parity problem

A bill to amend the Kenyan constitution and increase by one-third women’s representation in parliament was again postponed, and won’t resurface until 2019.

This follows a Kenyan Higher Court order to parliamentarians to create gender quotas in the nation’s newly adopted 2010 constitution.

Kenya has an unusual parliamentary structure. The National Assembly and Senate have a majority of members elected from different types of geographical regions, and other members are nominated.

In the Assembly, an estimated 42 new seats are required to reach 117 female members, or one-third. The Senate needs an additional five female members.

To pass, the bill must receive two-thirds of the vote.

Opponents of the bill have cited prior abuses by party leaders in making nominations. Currently, many nominated MPs are family members of party officials or their close associates.

MP Didmus Barasa said that there must be a specified nomination procedure to avoid undue influence.

Sources: The Nation (Kenya), All Africa, The Standard (Kenya)

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