Former Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga. Picture: AP Photo/Sunday Alamba

Johannesburg – A gender equity bill, which would have ensured that not more than two-thirds of parliament can be of the same gender, has failed to pass in the Kenyan National Assembly.

The house failed to raise the necessary numbers to pass the two-thirds gender equity bill so it deferred the vote to next year. 

The suspension of the vote followed a request by Majority Leader Aden Duale during the debate attended by opposition chiefs Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka, the East African reported.

Duale informed speaker Justin Muturi that the house did not have 233 members required to support the proposed law to address Kenya's gender inequality in political representation.

The delaying of the bill, some argued, would give MPs time to lobby their colleagues to support the bill. However, others countered stating that the bill had been lobbied for, and discussed, for a month and that deferment was unnecessary.

At the beginning of the debate, 212 members were in the chambers. A few minutes into the debate, the number dropped to 207, indicating the bill’s lack of support and entrenched sexism in the East African country.

For the bill to pass support from the ruling Jubilee party, the largest in the house, is crucial because it requires a two-thirds majority, or at least 233 of the 349 MPs to sail through as underlined in the Kenyan Constitution.

The bill can only be reintroduced in six months.

Kenya’s National Assembly has 75 women MPs - 22 elected from the 290 constituencies in the last election, six nominated in the 12 nomination slots while 47 were elected from the counties in the spirit of affirmative action.

The Senate has three elected women senators from the 47 counties and 18 nominated.

Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi are ahead of Kenya when it comes to affirmation action in female equality.

African News Agency (ANA)