IEBC threatens lock parties out over two-thirds gender rule

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IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Some 43 political parties risk being locked out of the August elections for failing to comply with the two-thirds gender principle.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is pushing political parties to comply with provisions of the Constitution that direct that one gender should not make up more than two-thirds of any elective office. The electoral body now says a number of the 81 political parties that submitted their nomination lists before the lapse of the April 28 deadline had not met the requirement.

These parties now risk being barred from the August 9 election. IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said 48 political parties that submitted lists of nominated candidates for the Senate and 38 others that submitted lists of nominated candidates for the National Assembly were compliant with the two-thirds gender principle.

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IEBC has told parties to comply with the order of the High Court requiring the electoral body to reject any nomination list for members of the National Assembly and Senate that did not comply with the two-third gender principle.

In the event a nomination list does not comply with the two-thirds gender requirement, the commission will provide the Political Party an opportunity to revise the list and re-submit the revised list to the Commission within 48 hours. The commission has given non-compliant parties up to midnight on Monday to meet the rule. Political parties have until May 9 to submit the lists or be disqualified.

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The subject of Parliament’s gender rule has been tricky. In September 2020, former Chief Justice David Maraga advised President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve the House for failure to pass the gender laws.

Parties such as Kanu have complied with the requirement. Edward Kivuvani, the chair of the National Elections Board, said Kanu has fielded women candidates in all elective positions, majority of whom are MCAs.

“We are happy to report that as a party, we have achieved the two-thirds gender principle in the list of aspirants submitted to the IEBC,” he said.

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Murangá Governor Mwangi wa Iria’s Usawa Kwa Wote party has also complied with the condition. Political parties have an opportunity this election year to ensure the elusive two-thirds gender principle is realised. But the circular sent out by IEBC already faces the threat of being challenged in court.

Prof Tom Ojienda said in a letter sent to his party that the IEBC circular was sub-judice and misinterprets the way the Constitution envisaged the two-thirds gender principle.  



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