Experience in Speaker’s Panel helped Laboso win

Ms Joyce Laboso addresses Mombasa County women at the Khadija Primary School grounds during a past Sauti ya Wanawake (Voice of women) forum to fight for the two thirds gender rule representation. Photo/GIDEON MAUNDU

Kenya’s first female Deputy Speaker, Dr Joyce Cherono Laboso, was the only candidate among those who vied for the top two seats in the two chambers to garner more than two thirds majority votes.

Her landslide victory, with 254 votes against her competitor’s 90 in the first round of voting, was a clear indication that she had received support from across the political divide in the 349-member National Assembly.

Dr Laboso’s outstanding performance as a member of the Speaker’s Panel in the 10th Parliament was one of her main strong points when the time came for the race for the second top seat in the 11th Parliament. The stint gave her the experience to chair House sessions as a temporary Speaker.

January 9, 2013, was the last time she chaired a parliamentary session.

Little did the 53-year-old holder of a PhD in Gender and Language Education from the University of Hull, UK, know that she would wake up 78 days later to become the first woman Deputy Speaker in the country.

Dr Laboso is in her second term in Parliament.

Acrimonious sessions

Another member of the Speaker’s Panel, Mr Ekwee Ethuro, was picked Senate Speaker in a similar election at the inaugural House sitting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre on Thursday.

Dr Laboso, a Kenya High School and Egerton University alumnus, is remembered for chairing acrimonious sessions.

They include one on controversial amendments to the Constitution in the 10th Parliament, which she did well.

Her last item to preside upon in the last Parliament as temporary Speaker was when the Finance minister reported back to the House on the conclusion of discussions with members of the Budget Committee on the Division of Revenue Bill and the County Allocation of Revenue Bill.

The former high school teacher and university lecturer also served in the last Parliament as the chairperson of the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee.

She was also a member of the House Business Committee that draws Parliament’s timetable.