What we did: African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), a civil society group supported by International IDEA, mobilized women’s rights organizations from the East African Community to petition the East African Legislative Assembly to push the President of Kenya to implement the pending two-thirds gender rule for political representation.

What we achieved: Public interest groups in East Africa engaged with representative institutions in a democratic and effective way to improve public policy and practice, and to hold political decision makers to account. In response to the petition, the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Martin Ngoga, affirmed the Assembly’s commitment in ensuring partner states adhere to signed treaties.

Who we did it with: The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), FEMNET, CRAWN Trust, and women’s rights organizations from the East African Community.

Impact area: Political Participation and Representation

Donor: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

Boundary partners:  Civil society organizations, parliament

 

The idea of the two-thirds gender rule in Kenya came to life with the new Constitution of 2010. According to the rule, neither the national assembly nor the senate should have a composition of more than two-thirds of their members from one gender. This rule applies to all elective bodies as stipulated by the Kenyan Constitution. However, 11 years after the promulgation of a new constitution, the Government of Kenya is yet to pass and implement a bill on affirmative action that will see at least two-thirds gender representation in key decision-making spheres. Despite the various court orders garnered by women’s rights organizations in Kenya, the law is yet to take effect.

In the spirit of Pan-Africanism and holding African governments accountable on gender equality commitments, FEMNET, a civil society group supported by International IDEA, mobilized women’s rights organizations from the East African Community and petitioned the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) to push Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to implement the pending two-thirds gender rule. 

The EALA Speaker, Martin Ngoga, affirmed the Assembly’s commitment to ensuring that partner states adhere to the signed treaties, saying: ‘No country prospers without women’s participation. Gender equality is fundamental to the realization of human rights and key to effective and sustainable development outcomes.’ 

FEMNET and the women’s rights organizations will work closely with the EALA women caucus to ensure that women’s inclusion in political participation is enhanced by capacity development, awareness creation and advanced responsiveness through gender sensitive legislation and implementation. 

The partners will see that the petition is processed, and that Kenya’s President is held accountable in fully implementing the Constitution.