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The Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD-Kenya) convened a cross-party dialogue workshop on affirmative action on May 6, 2015 at Nairobi Safari Club.

The workshop was held against a backdrop of introduction of a Constitutional amendment Bill in parliament by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) which seeks to indefinitely postpone the implementation of the ‘Not more than two-thirds’ principle in Parliament as provided for in the Constitution.Other women leaders from organizations with interest in gender inclusivity in governance also participated in the workshop. Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association (KEWOPA) was also represented by Hon. Millie Odhiambo.

CMD-Kenya Vice Chairperson (Intenal Programs), Mr. Sande Oyolo, reading a press statement on behalf of political parties. He is flanked by CMD-Kenya Executive Director, Njeri Kabeberi and other political parties’ leaders present.
On December 11, 2012, the Supreme Court advised that the Executive and Parliament put in place mechanisms for implementing the 2/3rd gender principle by August 27, 2015. The Bill contravenes the formula developed by a Technical Working Group (TWG) that was set up by the Attorney General to look into mechanisms for implementing the ‘Not more than two-thirds’ gender principle in Parliament.

The dialogue workshop provided a platform for CMD-Kenya member parties to interrogate the proposed formulae by TWG, facilitated consensus building among parties and took a position in support of the immediate implementation the not more than two thirds gender principle in parliament.The statement can be accessed here; Political parties indicated their disappointment over the ongoing attempts to scuttle women gains in the Constitution and called on the President to urgently convene Cabinet to endorse the Attorney General’s TWG formula on implementing the ‘Not more than two-thirds’ gender principle. Speaking at the workshop, CMD-Kenya Chairperson Hon. Omingo Magara noted that ‘CMD-Kenya recognizes that women are the majority gender in the population of Kenya. Demographically and so democratically, the women should therefore have a lager say in the governance of Kenya.’ He also reiterated that CMD-Kenya strongly supports affirmative action to ensure that marginalized groups, such as women secure spaces in the country’s leadership. In his conclusion, Hon. Magara observed that ‘although the gender formula proposed by the Technical Working Group (TWG), an initiative driven purely by government seems to have been hijacked by the very organs who were meant to ensure its realization, CMD-Kenya firmly stands with the women of Kenya.’

The event was highly covered in print and electronic media in Kenya. The workshop deliberations and resolutions continue shaping further discussions on the matter and has since become vital point of reference.
As a way forward, Political Parties under the umbrella of CMD-Kenya agreed to form an action Committee to spearhead high level actions towards achieving this national agenda as they wait for the publishing of the proper Bill.

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