Ever wondered why the goat would never dance to tune no matter how beautifully you play? Indeed Kenyans wonder with the same intensity why MPs would never do their bidding regardless of how much they shout on social media and different platforms about what they want. It’s sad that the National Assembly need another week to be convinced to pass the two thirds gender principle.
Never mind that both President Uhuru and opposition leader Raila Odinga both supported the Duale Bill and marshaled their troops to vote for it. That’s because the Bill has a progressive agenda and it should have defined the 11th Parliament.
The Duale Bill is progressive because it reaffirms just how futuristic our Constitution is. The Bill puts to an end the two thirds gender debate and provides a solution in the event women elected in Parliament did not meet the threshold but some MPs would not hear of it. Twenty eight (28) MPs voted against it and more than 20 others refused to vote or declare their abstention. With only 195 voting yes, the Bill could not sail.
And yet on the same day, when it came to debating a Bill that sought to shield Parliamentarians from prosecution there was a rare show of unity. The Bill passed by an overwhelming 242-5 considering they only needed a minimum of 233 votes for it to sail through.
The Bill sponsored by Homa Bay (Town) MP Peter Kaluma seeks to prevent MPs and MCAs from any prosecution regarding anything they say so long as it was done or said in “good faith”. The Speaker exercised his full powers to ensure as many MPs as possible got a chance to vote for the “important Bill” and went ahead to say that National Assembly could now operate without interference from the Judiciary.
The question most Kenyans should ask is why are our lawmakers so afraid of their women counterparts? Is this Parliament sexist or is it just patriarchy on display? The Constitution is the most binding document in any nation and Kenyans passed it knowing about the two thirds gender principle. This was enough to signal that the country was on a progressive path and Kenyans were no longer willing to be stagnated by old ideologies.
Perhaps we should look at the nay voters and those who decided not to vote and draw parallelism between the projects they have spearheaded in their constituency and the benefits women have received from such projects. It does not make sense why anyone would not want empowered and emancipated women in the 21st Century.
The world has changed a great deal and our MPs should realize that women, like men are interested in a better future for all of us, any thinking contrary to this can be easily interpreted as prejudice.
Our legislators will do well to prove otherwise by passing this Constitutional Bill on 5th May. We are watching.