Kenya: Faith leaders’ forum on government gender principle

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The Side by Side Kenya Chapter has mobilized a church leaders’ forum for Wednesday 24 August 2016 to give them an opportunity to make their position clear on the implementation of their country’s two-thirds gender principle, and on gender justice in general.

The promulgation of the Constitution on August 27th 2010 ushered in a new beginning for Kenya as it addressed several issues that afflicted Kenyans but above all it secured the right of the participation of women in democratic governance. A significant provision of the Constitution in Article 27(8) states that the State shall take legislative and other measures to implement the principle that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender. The deadline for the Kenya parliament to deliver a legal framework for the implementation of the above principle was meant to be 27 August 2015. However this deadline was not met and the Supreme Court issued an extension of one year, the sunset being 27 August 2016. So far the parliament has not shown goodwill and a constitutional crisis is looming in Kenya.

In the face of political posturing and grandstanding in Kenya, faith leaders have a great opportunity and indeed a calling to play an arbiter role. The churches can make known their position on gender justice issues. This is very urgent and the faith leaders can help offer solution to this process. It is also worth noting that the faith leaders in Kenya have always come out strongly to give guidance and offer reconciliation whenever there is stalemate within the political spheres.

In the same way, the overwhelmingly and seemingly persistent de-legitimization of the call to gender justice in Kenya provides the church leaders with an unprecedented opportunity for a major breakthrough in re-awakening the moral consciousness of Kenyan society. Indeed, gender justice is a moral issue and in fact with the new constitutional dispensation it should be re-affirmed that it is no longer a women issue but a matter of constitutional implementation. The struggle for gender justice cannot be realized without the leadership in Kenya being conscious of gender justice.  The journey in the past decades towards gender justice has been a harrowing one and the little gains made so far cannot be clawed back.

The Side By Side forum

The church leaders’ forum convened for 24 August will have a number of objectives:

  1. To have a common position by faith leaders on the need for Kenya to respect and deliver a framework for two-thirds gender rule.
  2. To have a public pronouncement by faith leaders on two-thirds gender rule.
  3. To equip religious leaders and FBOs with the evidence on what Side By Side stands for and to enhance their own capacity towards supporting gender justice in Kenya.
  4. To encourage inter and intra-religious corporation in addressing crisis around gender.
Posted by: Terrie Robinson | Wednesday, August 17th, 2016
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