The National Assembly has deferred vote on gender equity bill to 2019 after the House failed to raise the numbers to pass it.
This followed a request by Majority Leader Duale during the debate attended by opposition chiefs Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Duale told Speaker Justin Muturi that the House did not have 233 members required to vote in support of the proposed law that seeks to address Kenya’s gender inequality in political representation.
Minority Leader John Mbadi supported Mr Duale’s request, saying it would give MPs time to lobby their colleagues to back the bill.
But some members opposed the request, saying they had spent the whole month discussing and lobbying their colleagues to support the bill, and that the deferment was unnecessary.
Minority Whip Junet Mohamed asked Mr Muturi to suspend the debate for 10 minutes to allow him and others time to lobby their colleagues outside to enter the House.
His request revealed that while the House had failed to raise the required quorum, some MPs, who were within the precincts of Parliament, had deliberately snubbed the debate and the vote.
Homa Bay County Woman Representative Gladys Wanga supported Mr Junet and asked the speaker to order a headcount in the House to establish the number of MPs present.
At the beginning of the debate, 212 members were in the chambers. A few minutes into the debate, the number dropped to 207.
In the end, Mr Muturi ruled that the bill be stood down for reply and voting by the House Business Committee (HBC).
The committee on will meet on Tuesday to determine when the matter will be considered again.
In his decision, Mr Muturi said the matter is serious and hence the need for the HBC meeting.
Normally, before voting on a bill of such magnitude takes place, members are whipped in their respective parliamentary group meetings.
For the bill to sail through, the support of the Jubilee party, the largest party in the House, is crucial because it requires two-thirds majority or at least 233 of the 349 MPs in the National Assembly to sail through as contemplated under article 256 of the Constitution.
Failure to reach this threshold will mean that the bill is negatived, therefore lost, cannot progress to the next level and can only be reintroduced in the House after six months.
The task of saving the bill now lies with Mr Duale, the mover, who under Standing Order 53 (3) can request Speaker Justin Muturi to delay putting the question for the second reading until such time when not less than 233 MPs will be available as required by the constitution.
Should 233 members vote in support of the bill, the HBC, chaired by the Speaker, will thereafter schedule the bill for consideration in the Committee of the whole House and third reading, which will be undertaken at later sittings.
By Daily Nation