A resounding woop for women in politics, African women, the judiciary and the quest for gender equality. In an astounding and vigorously progressive move, the Kenyan High Court ruled that Parliament has 60 days to pass a law, that would bolster and ensure higher representation of Kenyan female parliamentarians.
The decision was spurred by the human rights groups seeking legal recourse regarding the gross under representation of women in parliament (only 69 out of 349 lawmakers are women) and the need to comply with the nation’s Constitutional provisions on gender parity at the legislative level – Under the Kenyan Constitution of 2010 requires women to make up least one third of the legislative body.
High Court Judge John Mativo, in his ruling, stated: “Parliament has a constitutional obligation to enact the requisite legislation and failure to do so within the stipulated period is in my view unacceptable and a blatant breach of their constitutional duty”.
Although there has been much deliberation as to the practicability of the 60 day time limit, the ruling gives the Kenyan Parliament a much needed push in the right direction, to join the leagues of East African neighbour Rwanda, who currently boasts the highest percentage of women in parliament, at 63.8%.