By Eric Winston/ Guest Writer

Centre for Rights Education and Awareness, CREAW, pressed for an order to stop the swearing-in of the newly elected legislators over the gender rule.

CREAW wants a temporary order imposed on the National assembly stopping the swearing-in until a petition in which they challenge the composition of parliament based on the two-thirds gender rule is determined.

Counsel for the National Assembly however argued that an attempt to stop the swearing in would be unconstitutional as the law requires that a new parliament is sworn in within 30 days after elections.

20 minutes break

In an eventful session that had to take a 20 minutes break for the parties to agree on the progress of the matter, the counsel for NA pointed out that in any eventuality, the parliament has to be sworn in first before they can enact laws on the implementation of the rule.

The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has also filed a case seeking to stop the 12th parliament from convening for failing to meet the two-thirds gender rule.

FIDA, through their lawyer Eunice Lumallas, also want the IEBC stopped from presenting a list of elected MPs and Senators for swearing-in until they meet the two-thirds gender threshold.

FIDA argue that any business transacted by the legislative houses is illegal until the number of women meets one-third of the elective positions.

Three elected women

117 members are needed to reach the one-third threshold. Out of the 290 constituencies, only 23 have elected women MPs. The Senate has three elected women out of the 47. Together with the 47 women representatives, they make up a total of  73 thereby falling short of the required number by 44.

They want the court to issue a directive that should Parliament convene before the petition is concluded, then their first agenda should be to implement the two-thirds gender rule.

CREAW also sought to have their petition enjoined with that of FIDA and heard as one.

Justice Chacha Mwita will make a ruling on the application on August 24 2017.