Gender rule to cost extra Sh298m yearly – Business Daily
Members of Parliament follow proceedings as National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani unveiled the Sh3.3 trillion Budget at parliament buildings on April 7, 2022. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG
Taxpayers will have to spend an extra Sh298.2 million every year in salaries for additional MPs required to meet the controversial two-thirds gender rule if lawmakers approve proposals by President William Ruto.
To comply with the requirement, Parliament must craft a formula to accommodate an extra 34 women while the Senate needs one female to comply with the rule as enshrined in the Constitution.
Each of the 416 member-bicameral Parliament earns a monthly salary of Sh710,000.
This means that the 35 MPs needed to comply with the gender top-up rule will earn a monthly salary of Sh24.85 million or Sh298.2 million every year.
The Sh298.2 million excludes other perks such as Sh5,000 committee sitting allowance, mileage allowance as well as car loan and mortgage.
The National Assembly has 349 MPs of which 12 are nominated while 20 out of the 67 Senators are nominated.
The National Assembly requires 116 female lawmakers to meet the two-thirds-gender rule.
However, 29 women were elected from a single-member constituency and 47 women representatives on August 9. Six were nominated bringing the total number of female MPs in the National Assembly to 82.
This means that the National Assembly will require a total of 34 women to meet the two-thirds gender rule.
At the Senate, three women were elected while 18 were nominated bringing the total number to 22. The Senate requires one more woman to meet the requirement.
If the 35 top-up MPs make it to Parliament, Kenya will have a total of 453 lawmakers including the Speakers of both Houses.
Article 81(b) requires that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender.
During his inaugural address, Dr Ruto said he will work with Parliament to fast-track various legislative proposals and establish a framework that will resolve the constitutional requirement of gender
“On the matter of gender parity, I am committed to the two-thirds gender rule as enshrined in the Constitution,” Dr Ruto said.
He said participation of women in governance does not make the country lesser but greater.
“And their role can no longer be nominal,” it has to be substantive,” Dr Ruto said.
Parliament has on several occasions failed to pass a law to guarantee that not more than two-thirds of MPs were of the same gender.
The Constitution required Parliament to pass a law to guarantee that not more than two-thirds of MPs were of the same gender.
The Supreme Court said the law must be passed by August 27, 2015. Instead, Parliament gave itself an extension to August 2016.
Several constitutional amendment Bills aimed at actualising the two-thirds gender rule flopped in Parliament after lawmakers failed to marshal 233 MPs to amend the Supreme law.
The Constitution dictates that if MPs fail to enact a law required to implement the Constitution within the stipulated timeline, any Kenyan can notify the High Court, which, if it finds Parliament at fault, may impose a timeframe within which to pass the law.
If Parliament does not meet the court’s deadline, then any Kenyan can notify the Chief Justice of Parliament’s failure. The Chief Justice is then required to advise the President to dissolve Parliament.
Former Chief Justice David Maraga was forced in 2020 to advise the President to dissolve the 12th Parliament for failing to pass the law on gender requirements.
The CJ said Article 261 (1), read together with the Fifth Schedule, provides that the enactment of the two-thirds gender principle was among the things Parliament was to do within five years after the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010.
This has not happened 12 years later.
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Editor’s note: The previous version of this story reported that taxpayers will spend Sh700 million every year in salaries for additional 81 MPs required to meet the two-thirds gender rule. We have since corrected this to show that the extra MPs needed is 35 which will cost taxpayers Sh298.2 million.