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Gains and losses for women aspirants in Mt Kenya region

By Wainaina Ndung’u | Published Mon, May 1st 2017 at 12:09, Updated May 1st 2017 at 12:12 GMT +3
Thika Town MP Alice Ng'ang'a. (Photo: Kamau Maichuhie, Standard)

The end of the Jubilee primaries has resulted in a likely decline of the number of elected women MPs in the Mt Kenya region.

Because the Jubilee ticket is seen as an almost guaranteed ticket to victory, five women may have an easier path to Parliament in the August 8 polls.

This is besides the likely first woman governor in the country after former Devolution cabinet secretary Anne Waiguru won the Kirinyaga JP ticket.

Kiambu County, which currently has two women MPs besides the Affirmative Action (AA) member, has given two JP tickets to first-term MP Alice Ng’ang’a in Thika Town and Anne Wanjiku Kibe who edged out a crowded field of men, which included incumbent Kigo Njenga in Gatundu North.

Vernacular radio journalist Gathoni wa Muchomba won the Kiambu Jubilee woman representative ticket.

Ms Kibe, who is a nominated MCA and broadcast journalist, garnered 10,169 votes against the incumbent’s 9,589 votes and former MP Clement Waibara’s 9,344.

Outgoing Ruiru MP Esther Gathogo, who managed 6,431 votes, lost in a crowded field to Simon King’ara with 14,988 votes.

But the spotlight is on Murang’a County, which is set to have the largest number of women MPs in the region in history.

Ms Alice Wahome, the first-term Kandara MP, survived a male onslaught and felled two predecessors after getting 27,175 votes to bag the Jubilee ticket.

Other JP nominees in Murang’a include former Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU) and Export Promotion Council chief Ruth Wangari Mwaniki, who clinched the the Kigumo constituency ticket with 13,608 votes.

She floored Joseph Munyoro and Francis Macharia Ben, who got 7,882 and 5,196 votes respectively.

The seat had been vacated by two-term MP Jamleck Kamau who opted to run for the Murang’a gubernatorial ticket but lost to incumbent Mwangi wa Iria.

Also winning the coveted JP ticket and paving the way for a likely third parliamentary seat held by a woman in Murang’a is nominated MCA Mary Waithera Njoroge, who got 13,753 votes in Maragua constituency to edge out incumbent Peter Kamande with 9,594 votes.

If the three women holding JP tickets in Murang’a win the August 8 elections plus the guaranteed woman representative slot, the seven-constituency county will have four men and four women MPs, a 50 per cent gender equation in Parliament.

It will surpass the record previously held by Nyeri, which had three women MPs out out seven in the current Parliament.

Jayne Kihara, who served for one term as MP for Naivasha in Nakuru County between 2002 and 2007, also won a Jubilee ticket after bagging 21,111 votes against Ndegwa Nguthiru's 15,312 votes and the incumbent John Kihagi’s 8,225 votes.

Ironically, Nyeri, like Kirinyaga and Nyandarua, might have a single woman MP after three-term legislator Esther Murugi was edged out in Nyeri Town and Mary Wambui lost in Othaya after a single term.

Kirinyaga is, however, likely to be among the first counties in Kenya to be headed by a woman governor after former Devolution Secretary Anne Waiguru won the JP ticket. Her competitors include Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, who is also a former minister.

Also likely to have a single woman MP is Embu, Laikipia, Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties, which have not given a ticket of the dominant party to any woman other than for the woman representative's slot. Several women are however running on smaller parties or as independents.

Cecily Mbarire, in her third term as MP and second term as Runyenjees legislator, unsuccessfully vied against Governor Martin Wambora.


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