MPs wear white headgear to Parliament over two-thirds gender rule
Female Members of Parliament on Wednesday caused a stir in the House after they walked in together wearing white headgear catching their male counterparts off guard.
The 2:30PM spectacle confused the male MPs present forcing Garissa Town MP Aden Duale to seek National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi’s explanation on what was going on.
“Mr. Speaker I want you to guide us on whether what we are seeing is in order and to assure us whether we are safe,” said Duale.
“I want you to tell us whether it is within the standing orders in terms of the dress code because Mr Speaker, this dress and this group of MPs who are wearing this particular headscarf are threatening, very intimidating.”
But Nominated Member of Parliament Cecily Mbarire explained that the head gear is not a new fashion accessory for them but rather a form of protest that they will be carrying out every Wednesday.
“Mr. Speaker, we come in peace as women Members of Parliament, we are the 44th tribe of this country. We are coming to put a message across, we have had a Constitution since 2010 that had specific timelines for certain legislative proposals to be passed by this House,” said the MP.
“The proposal to enable the implementation of not more that two-thirds gender rule is now 8 years and has not been passed, all others have been passed. We are requesting humbly that that proposal be considered and passed on this floor. Will be wearing white head scarfs until we pass this law.”
As for the Speaker, he did not seem perturbed by the white headgear even commending them for looking smart.
“They look very smart, we should congratulate them… We are not going to entertain points of order on non-issues about headgear, however you choose to dress… let us allow the members who have chosen to have some form of elegance on their heads be as they choose to, it does not offend our rules,”ruled the Speaker.
But not everyone was as impressed with the new accessory, Lugari Member of Parliament Ayub Savula accused his female counterparts of intimidation.
“Mr Speaker, I seek your indulgence to give guidance to Hon Mbarire whether this Parliament legislates through intimidation or an attire, we have procedures and rules, you don’t need to intimidate us through a new attire, give us further explanation on how you want us to implement the gender rule but not through attire,” said Mr. Savula.
But Speaker Muturi did not have time for that saying a bill to amend the constitution is ready for debating.
“Honorable Savula I hope you are not intimidated by a headgear? Already a bill to amend the constitution has been published, gone through the full cycle of 90 days publication period, all that remains is for this House to come debate and discuss the bill,” said Speaker Muturi.