Ruto, Raila Bomas talks team wants Woman Rep seats doubled to 94

National Assembly, MPs, BBI

The National Assembly during a past session. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The National Dialogue Committee, comprising representatives of President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga, wants the number of Woman Representatives doubled to 94 - two from each of the 47 counties - to meet the constitutional requirement for gender equality.

Alternatively, the team wants Kenyans to nominate as many women as required to ensure that no gender has more than two-thirds of elective positions at the national level.

County assemblies have already met this requirement through a similar provision.

In the report submitted by the team, co-chaired by Wiper Democratic Movement party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wah, the Bomas talks team says the proposals should help in the never-ending search for a correct formula to meet the requirement.

“The Committee recommends that the Multi-Sectoral Working Group on the Realisation of the Two-Thirds Gender Principle under the Ministry of Public Service, Gender and Affirmative Action to finalise its work, and recommend a framework of implementation of two-thirds gender principle and submit its report to Parliament for consideration,” the report says.

The working group, the committee says, should consider two options.

First option? “Adopt the principle under Article 177 as follows — (a) on the basis of proportional representation by use of party lists as provided for under Article 90; and comprise candidates who stood for election with precedence being given to candidates who received the greatest number of votes,” the report says.

The second option, the team said: “Double the number of women seats from the counties to the National Assembly from forty-seven (47) to ninety-four (94) while retaining the 290 elected from the constituencies and the twelve (12) nominated from the party lists. Use the top-up list to address any shortage in the number of women in the National Assembly that may arise by application of the formula.”

Parliament has gone through 12 different bills to find a formula for the gender principle, all having failed to garner the numbers needed to pass it in Parliament.

In 2020, then Chief Justice David Maraga advised the President to dissolve Parliament in line with Article 261 (7) for failing to enact legislation required to implement the two-thirds gender rule.