President Uhuru, Raila Plan to Whip their MPs in Support of the Gender Bill

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM Leader Raila Odinga have summoned their MPs to urgent meetings next week to rally support for the ‘Gender Bill’.

The two lead the twain biggest parties in the House whose support is crucial.

Most male MPs have opposed the bill claiming it will open a door for “slay queens to slay or massage their way into the national assembly”.

Others have described it the epitome of laziness with the ilk of Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria saying having a vagina is not a disability. But the women lobby has put up a spirited fight in defense of the bill.

The bill is set to be put to vote on Wednesday next week. It requires a two-thirds majority or 233 of the 349 MPs in the National Assembly to amend Article 97 of the Constitution and pave way for additional nomination slots for women other than the current 12.

The Bill requires the support of 233 MPs (two thirds of all the members) to pass. If it sails through and the President assents to it, it will be effective after the 2022 General Election.

Yesterday, Raila observed that Parliament has continuously violated the rights of women by denying them more seats.

“The bill is meant to help the country realize the right to equality and freedom from discrimination for women as stipulated in the 2010 Constitution,” Raila said.

Co-principals Musyoka and Mudavadi said the bill’s benefits outweigh the costs.

“If passed into law, the bill will streamline the activities of not only women but all Kenyans in national politics and policy making,” Mudavadi said.

“I’m aware some of your male colleagues have in the past frustrated the passing of the bill through outright refusal to support it or by simply walking out during voting so as to deprive the House of the requisite numbers required for it to pass,” Kalonzo observed.

ODM chairman John Mbadi and Ford Kenya secretary general Simiyu Eseli affirmed they will hold separate Parliamentary Group meetings next week to persuade their members to vote for the bill.

The conspicuous presence of the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Rachel Shebesh, in Parliament since the introduction of the bill is seen as a sign of Uhuru’s commitment to have the bill approved.

Others have raised concerns that The Bill does not provide a formula on how the 22 slots meant for women will be filled. We have seen people nominating their girlfriends.

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