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Women’s Representation Bill Defeated in Kenya After Walkout

Kenya’s parliament rejected on Wednesday a bill to amend the constitution to guarantee women 50 seats in the parliament. Currently, only 18 of the parliament’s 222 seats are filled by women, one of the lowest rates in Africa, reports Reuters.

“The status of women in Kenya is not acceptable,” said Elizabeth Lwanga, the UN coordinator in Kenya, according to Inter Press Service (IPS). “The number of women in parliament should not continue to be at a small percentage when other neighboring countries have taken steps to rectify the situation.” In neighboring Tanzania, women fill 30.4 percent of parliamentary seats; Rwanda has achieved a 48.8 percent representation in the lower house.

The bill was defeated after more than half of the members of parliament walked out before it was put to a vote, reports All Africa news service. At least two-thirds of the 222 MPs in the House were to needed to pass the bill.

Sources:

Reuters 8/16/07; AllAfrica 8/16/07; Inter Press Service 8/16/07 Media Resources: Reuters 8/16/07; AllAfrica 8/16/07; Inter Press Service 8/16/07