Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga has advised the country’s President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament.
Maraga says his advice is in line with Kenya’s Constitution which demands that enough women occupy parliamentary seats.
The chief justice said the failure to have more female MPs was in breach of the constitution, and tantamount to discrimination against women.
He wrote in a letter to the President saying that the mechanism for the dissolution of Parliament, even though has consequences, is the radical remedy required.
“Let us endure pain if only to remind the electorate to hold their parliamentary representatives accountable,” Mr Maraga said.
There have been several petitions seeking the dissolution of Parliament over the issue.
Petitioners have all argued that Parliament has deliberately refused to enact the two-thirds gender law.
Chief Justice Maraga said Article 261 (1) of Kenya’s constitution read together with the Fifth Schedule, provides that the enactment of the two-thirds gender principle was among the things Parliament was to do within five years after the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010.
After ten years the chief justice said that has not happened, which is a breach of the constitution.
“There is no doubt the dissolution of Parliament will cause inconvenience and even economic hardship. The fact that Kenya is in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic only exacerbates the potential impact of the decision.
Yet that is the clear result Kenyans desired for Parliament’s failure to enact legislation they deemed necessary. We must never forget that more often than not, there is no gain without pain,” Mr Maraga said in his letter on Monday.
Women hold far fewer than the mandatory 116 seats in the 350-member parliament.
Kenya’s parliamentary speaker Justin Muturi has said that the dissolution of parliament was an unrealistic option.