The genuine character of our struggles and the originality of our claims are the tests that we must take to shed the accusation of imitation. The ridicule of Westernization has been best described by post-colonial feminists as ‘triple colonization’ which means that we are colonized first by the colonial power, followed by patriarchy and then by Western feminists. When accused of such a mis-step, there is a massive watering down of our concerns. In the words of Spivak: ‘Can the subaltern speak?’
In mid-2020 (as the world felt unmoored), I found myself thinking a lot about what gives a life its shape. I was reading two things that, at first, appeared unconnected – the 1970s diaries of Australian writer Helen Garner, and the testaments written about anthropologist and leftist David Graeber after his untimely death. But as I read these in tandem, I felt them each to be deeply relevant to the questions of how we live, how we create, how we attend, how we pay attention.
The study examines the role of the judiciary in constitution making in postcolonial contexts. The judicial implementation of the constitutionalised gender quota (two-thirds gender principle) in Kenya’s 2010 Constitution is used as a case study. There are two interlocking themes that run throughout the study. The first is the story of the two-thirds gender principle as a tool to transform gender relations both in the public and private sphere – how did it end up in Kenya’s constitution framework? What purpose was it meant to achieve? What has been its implementation journey? The second is Rule of Law and constitutionalism in postcolonial states – there have been a proliferation of studies on decolonised perspectives of constitutionalism in the Global South. The study explores a gendered constitutionalism tin both stories through an empirical study involving judges, public interest litigators, constitution review experts and civil society stakeholders.