The Wiper Party has assured its support for the Two-thirds Gender Bill when it comes up for voting in parliament on Tuesday.
Wiper boss Kalonzo Musyoka made the announcement when he met Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association (Kewopa) in Nairobi on Monday.
“I plead with not only my party MPs, but also with the entire House to turn up in large numbers tomorrow and vote for the Bill. It is a good Bill,” he said.
This will be the second time the Bill will be coming to Parliament after MPs rejected it in May 2016 despite intense lobbying.
The Bill was supported by a paltry 178 members, far below the required 233 votes. Out of the 180 MPs present, 16 voted against the bill while five did not vote. As many as 150 MPs out of the 349 did not show up.
Kalonzo said given the government’s renewed fight against corruption, there will be adequate resources to cater for the 21 extra members required to comply with the Constitution.
“Most of you are aware that past attempts to pass this Bill have been hampered by mistrust emanating from misunderstanding and a wrong notion that the proposed law seeks to ‘give favours’ to womenfolk,” he said.
“I’m aware some of your male colleagues have in the past vowed to frustrate the passing of the Bill, through outright refusal to support it, or by simply walking out during voting.”
Kalonzo said contrary to claims that the passing of the Bill will result in a grossly inflated wage bill, the Bill’s advantages far outweigh the costs.
“Why should Kenya, the economic powerhouse of the region, continue to lag behind its East African neighbours Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda in terms of gender representation?” he asked.
“Why should we as a country waste such a golden opportunity to ‘make amends’ for our mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters, who have suffered acute marginalisation over the years? This is the time to stand up to be counted.
Kalonzo said after the Bill is passed, the same should be replicated in the Public Service so as to ensure full compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution.