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Kenya lawmakers refuse to include equal marriage rights for women in constitution

[JURIST] Kenya's Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) decided Tuesday not to grant women equal marriage rights to men in the new constitution. References to civil society, religious groups, and rights of gays were also omitted [Daily Nation report] as the PSC reviewed recommendations from the Committee of Experts and decided which to include. The PSC, which is composed of members of parliament, will decide between a presidential or a parliamentary system [KBC report] for Kenya, a highly political question. The PSC is expected to spend the rest of the week debating the issues [Capital FM report] and next week drafting the new constitution.

The first draft of the constitution was unveiled [JURIST report] in November. The changes are intended to reduce the widespread injustice throughout the country, and specifically address issues that led to violence following the 2007 presidential elections [JURIST news archive]. In October, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan [official profile; JURIST news archive] called for constitutional reform in Kenya before the next electoral cycle begins in 15 months. In 2007, tens of thousands of protesters took to Kenya's streets accusing President Mwai Kibaki [official profile] of election fraud after early opinion polls suggested rival Raila Odinga [campaign website] was in the lead.

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