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House defers vote on Gender Bill to 2019 amid quorum hitch

By Star

Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi heads to the chambers ahead of a debate on the Gender Bill. November 22, 2018. /JACK OWUOR

The Gender Bill vote has been deferred to 2019 following a quorum hitch at the National Assembly.

Majority Leader Aden Duale called for the deferment after the House failed to get the 233 members required to vote in support of the Bill.

Only 212 members were in the chambers at the start of the Wednesday debate. Five members left minutes later.

Duale told Speaker Justin Muturi that since he had not finished compiling notes to reply to the Bill in its second reading, the deferment would allow him time to do so.

“Mr Speaker, having consulted widely, I seek your indulgence to defer the business on Order 10 on replying and voting until the time the House Business Committee shall decide,” Duale said.

The Garissa Township MP, who is the mover of the Bill, said he was conscious they would have lost the vote should it have proceeded without at least 233 members present.

He said the call for more time meant the Bill would be republished again and wait for some 90 days to mature, which means it will be re-tabled earliest in June 2019.

“Mr Speaker defering will thus save the Bill and remain with voting at second reading in February,” he said.

Duale dismissed claims that a failed vote would automatically terminate the legislation saying the Bill, as it is, lapses in December 2019.

“I don’t want history to judge me harshly. The second session in the new year shall provide us more opportunity to lobby more for numbers,” he said.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga rallied MPs elected through their parties to vote for the Bill.

Raila and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka were present in Parliament when Duale moved the deferment motion.

Siaya senator James Orengo and his Makueni counterpart Mutula Kilonzo were also present.

Others were Cleopa Malala, Fred Outa, Rose Nyamunga and Naomi Shinyonga.

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