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Nairobi Ordered to Form a Balanced Parliament

Kenya’s top judge has advised the president to dissolve the country’s male-dominated Parliament, saying legislators failed to meet a constitutional provision which would allow for one-third of seats to be occupied by women. Despite Kenya’s 2010 constitution stating no more than two-thirds of any elected or appointed body can be of the same gender, women hold 22 percent of seats in the country’s lower house of Parliament, and 31 percent in the upper house. Court rulings since 2012 have directed Parliament to pass legislation to enforce the gender rule or risk being dissolved – but previous attempts have failed with female members of Parliament accusing male legislators of deliberately blocking efforts. In an advisory sent to President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday, Chief Justice David Maraga said the failure to enact the legislation was clear testimony of legislators’ “lackadaisical attitude and conduct” in relation to the two-thirds gender rule. The percentage of women in Kenya’s Parliament is lower than east African neighbours such as Ethiopia, South Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda, according to Inter-Parliamentary Union.