Speaker Justin Muturi on Dissolving Parliament Over Gender Rule

  • An image of protesters
    Protests outside Parliament building in Nairobi on Tuesday June 9, 2020.
  • National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi on Tuesday, September 1 addressed criticism leveled against Parliament.

    In particular, he hit back at a petition filed by the Law Society of Kenya seeking to have Parliament dissolved for failure to implement the two-thirds gender rule.

    Shifting the blame to the electorate, Muturi declared that he was willing to have Parliament dissolved but noted it would not necessarily correct the situation.

    While highlighting the lack of a clear implementation framework, Muturi noted that the two-thirds gender rule could only be implemented at the ballot.

    A sitting in session at Parliament Buildings in June 2020.
    A session in progress at Parliament Buildings in June 2020.

    "I'm willing to have Parliament dissolved and then let us see, when you dissolve Parliament there must be an election within 60 days.

    "How are you going to ensure that the resulting Parliament is two-thirds (rule compliant)," he stated.

    Muturi stated that it had been left to voters to implement the rule as parliamentary seats were not appointive but rather elective.

    The Constitution dictates that if the petition is successful, the Chief Justice will advise the President to dissolve Parliament after which the President will do so.

    Petitions can be brought against Parliament for failure to enact legislation, with elections held within 60 days of dissolution to reconstitute the August House.

    It will then be up to the new Parliament to ensure that the pending legislation is enacted.

    Alongside various women groups, LSK President Nelson Havi had placed Parliament on the spot over failure to implement the rule.

    "For the longest time, the issue around the two-thirds gender rule is that it has been seen not so much as a Constitutional issue but as a gender issue, and to that extent it has been ignored because there is a culture of ignoring women," stated policy expert Daisy Amdany at a press conference on July 30 addressing the petition.

    Watch part of Muturi's interview below: