Chief Justice David Maraga has advised President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve parliament for failing to comply with the constitutional requirement of the two third gender rule.
In an advisory, Maraga acknowledged that the dissolution of Parliament will cause economic hardship and the fact that Kenya is in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic only worsens the potential impact of the decision.
“But that is the clear result Kenyans desired for parliaments failure to enact legislation they deemed necessary. We must never forget that more often than not, there is no gain without pain,” he says.
Since the promulgation of the current constitution in 2010, the matter has been in and out of court with no end in sight.
Maraga in his advice says he has six petitions seeking parliament to be dissolved. The petitions are based on the ground that, despite four court orders compelling parliament to enact the legislation required to implement the rule, parliament has failed to do so.
He adds that after receiving the first two petitions lodged by Margaret Toili and Fredrick Mbuguah on June 26 2019, he wrote to the speakers of both two houses of parliament as well as the Attorney General and requested for a report on their compliance with court orders.
Both speakers he says wrote back and recounted the efforts parliament had unsuccessfully made to comply with its obligation and the said court orders.
“They said they had at that time two other bills pending before parliament and requested for time to enact them. They did not revert to me on the matter,” reads the advisory.
In December 2012, the apex court directed that the government implements a progressive approach in filling the gender gap within five years after the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution.
The Supreme Court further advised that a framework giving effect to the two-thirds gender principle should be in place by 27th August 2015 but the rule remains elusive to-date.
Just two months ago, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) commenced a fresh process that seeks to compel President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament for failing to initiate implementation of constitutional provisions that would ensure gender balance in both levels of government.
In its petition, LSK, asked Chief Justice David Maraga to write to the President to advise him on dissolving Parliament.
Out of the 349 seats in Parliament, only 76 members are female representing 1/5 of the total. Senate has only 21 women owning seats instead of the 23 demanded by law.