The Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mbete Mwilu on the 14th of October 2020, appointed a bench of 5 judges to hear the dissolution of Parliament cases which was presented to President Kenyatta on Monday the 21st of September 2020, by the Chief Justice David Maraga, for failure of Parliament in enforcing the gender rule.
This comes after Justice Weldon Korir urged the selection of the 5 judges arguing that the case raised fundamental issues of the law that should be ascertained by a bench ruling.
According to the Judiciary of Kenya, CJ David Maraga being a respondent in the petitions, could not appoint the Bench.
In 2012, the Supreme Court assigned parliament to pass the bill enacting the rule but nothing was done. In 2017, both houses defaulted the High Courts order to pass the gender rule law.
Justices Pauline Nyamweya, James Makau ,Anthony Ndungu and George Odunga , led by Justice Achode Lydia are to decide on Chief Justice Maraga’s advisory on dissolution of Parliament.
In a 10-page letter addressed to President Kenyatta, Chief Justice Maraga said the advisory was in accordance with the Gender Bill of article 26(8) of The 2010 Promulgated Constitution which 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 shall be of the same gender”, something that Kenya National Assembly has failled to implement over the years.
Women hold 31 percent of seats in the national assembly and 22 percent in the senate.
The advisory to dissolve parliament has however faced backlashes and support as well from persons of interest. The Law Society of Kenya together with Activists like Margaret Toili have petitioned Chief Justice Maraga to advise the Executive to dissolve parliament. Other parties of interest are The Parliament, Lawyer Kamotho Adrian, Third Way Alliance and The Attorney -General Kariuki Kihara.
The five judges are to hear six petitions that had already been filled in relation to Maraga’s advisory on dissolution of Parliament.