In recent parliamentary proceedings, Senator Beth Syengo introduced a legislative proposal, denoted as the “Constitutional Amendment Bill,” aimed at modifying the Constitution to facilitate the implementation of the two-thirds gender principle. This bill entails the establishment of designated parliamentary seats to ensure the effective realization of gender balance within the legislature.
Article 97 of the Constitution is to be revised, stipulating the inclusion of a requisite number of special seat members to prevent an excessive gender majority in the National Assembly. The determination of this specific number shall follow the announcement of general election results and will adhere to the established party list seat allocation procedures as outlined in the current constitution.
Likewise, Article 98 of the Constitution will undergo an adjustment, mandating the inclusion of special seat members to uphold gender diversity within the Senate. Similar to the National Assembly, the determination of these special seat numbers will occur subsequent to the declaration of general election results.
It is noteworthy that individuals elected to these special seats shall serve for a single term only. The government is also obliged to implement legislative, policy, and other measures, including the establishment of standards, to ensure the realization of fundamental principles governing the electoral system.
A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS WITH UGANDA
The composition of Parliament in Uganda is structured with distinct elements. The Ugandan Constitution provides for the inclusion of one designated woman representative for each district, which is a significant step towards ensuring gender balance in the legislative body. Furthermore, Uganda’s Parliament incorporates members from various segments of society, such as the army, youth, workers, persons with disabilities, and other groups, with their numbers determined by the discretion of the Parliament itself.
A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS WITH TANZANIA
The composition of the Tanzanian Parliament incorporates specific provisions to ensure diversity and representation. Firstly, it mandates that women members should constitute no less than thirty percent of all the members directly elected to represent the parliament, as well as the five members elected by the House of Representatives from among its members. This requirement is a significant step towards achieving gender balance in the legislature.
Furthermore, the Tanzanian Parliament allows for the appointment of up to ten members by the President. Among these appointed members, a minimum of five must be women, emphasizing the importance of female representation in the highest legislative body of the country. These provisions reflect Tanzania’s commitment to promoting gender diversity and inclusivity in its parliamentary composition.
In conclusion, the approaches taken by Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya to achieve gender balance in their respective parliaments are emblematic of their distinctive strategies for promoting inclusive representation. Uganda and Tanzania employ reservation systems, with Uganda reserving seats for women in each district and Tanzania mandating a minimum percentage of women members in the directly elected and appointed positions. These methods ensure a substantial presence of women in their legislatures. In contrast, Kenya focuses on the creation of Women’s Representative seats, allowing women to be represented both at the national and county levels.
While the specific mechanisms vary, all three countries recognize the imperative of addressing gender imbalances in their legislatures and are actively taking steps to enhance women’s participation and influence in political decision-making. These efforts underscore the commitment to gender equality and inclusivity, although the approaches they employ reflect the nuanced socio-political contexts of each nation.