United Democratic Alliance (UDA) presidential candidate William Ruto has promised that his government will deliver the elusive two-thirds gender, within a year, if elected in the August 2022 elections.
Ruto, who was speaking during the 2022 presidential debate on Tuesday, said he would within 90 days formulate a policy to oversee the implementation of the two-thirds gender rule.
According to Ruto, he has already assembled legal experts to propose policy interventions that may not necessarily require constitutional changes to implement.
“The fact that we do not have as many women leaders is a negative for us. There’s something we’re losing; the women leadership component that is not in our arithmetic is taking away from us,” he said.
“I believe that having women leaders would actually enrich our governance and leadership as a nation,” Ruto added.
The Two-Thirds Gender Rule Quagmire
The two-thirds gender rule is a provision enshrined in the 2010 constitution of Kenya, that is aimed at achieving gender equity in Kenya’s political sphere. The constitution recognizes women, youth, persons with disabilities and ethnic minorities as special groups deserving of constitutional protection with Article 81 (b) stating that “not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender”.
Article 27 goes further to obligate the government to develop and pass policies and laws, including affirmative action programs and policies to address the past discrimination that women have faced.
Implementation of the two-thirds gender rule has however remained a major hurdle, mostly due to political goodwill. The two-thirds gender rule debate has failed in Parliament five times.
In a landmark ruling made in 2017, Justice John Mativo accused the National assembly and the Senate of abdicating their constitutional mandate for failure to enact legislation to ensure gender equality. He further directed Parliament and the Attorney General to enact the two-thirds gender rule in 60 days.
“Failure to pass Two-Thirds Gender Bill is a gross violation of the Constitution,” Justice Mativo said.
Four years later, Justice Mativo’s ruling was never acted on, with
High Court Orders Parliament and AG to Enact Two-Thirds Gender Rule in 60 Days