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Parliament must be dissolved if MPs fail to adopt gender bill, women caucus warns

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A caucus of women who lost in previous general elections yesterday threatened to petition courts to dissolve Parliament if MPs fail to pass the gender bill.

The Untapped Women Voices Group said it will ensure the question on implementing the two-thirds gender rule is included in the anticipated referendum. The rule seeks to have more women in Parliament.

The group’s members are drawn from all the 47 counties. It is led by 2013 Siaya Senate aspirant Agnes Awour. They said the rule will end the “harsh reality” about women leadership in Kenya.

“I’m 70 per cent convinced that this bill is going to be passed this time round. If it collapses, the next strategy is to bring the matter to court as a way of countering the decision,” Awour said at a press conference in Nairobi.

They want the IEBC tasked with nominating women if it passes — not political parties. Awuor said this would overcome the problem of party leaders picking their “daughters, sisters, relatives and slay-queens”, who offer nothing in Parliament.

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And the IEBC should prioritise women who had shown interest in politics and those who have promoted development such crusaders of women’s rights, they said.

“A leader like Martha Karua who has been advocating women representation in leadership should not be left out, among other women leaders,” Awuor said.

Peace Society of Kenya ambassador Jared Onyari said, “We can’t run away from this constitutional principle. The Supreme Court has pronounced itself on it. It’s about equality and fairness. The world is talking about 50-50 representation.”

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