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Kenyan women of steel looking to rattle male-dominated politics

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru when she attended ANC National Delegates Conference at Bomas of Kenya. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Many appear to have been inspired by Karachuonyo’s first woman MP Phoebe Asiyo, who floored the then powerful Kanu national chair Okiki Amayo for the seat in 1980.

Asiyo was the first chair of Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation and founder and chair of the Women’s Political Caucus.

In the 2017 General Election, they went against the grain and won parliamentary seats in Homa Bay county.

The three are all keen to replicate the performance they had in the 2017 polls and have started their campaigns in earnest.

In Kabondo Kasipul, about 10 people, among them Ms Eve Obara, have thrown their hats in political ring for the ODM ticket.

Others are expected to join the race with their entry expected to have an impact on votes and clan dimensions. Fringe parties keen on challenging ODM are yet to unveil their candidates.

In Rangwe, Ms Lilian Gogo is preparing to face off with at least six other competitors.

“I believe our track record speaks for itself. Women leaders performed exemplary well,” she said.

In Suba North, tough-talking MP Millie Odhiambo is also keen on defending her seat and will be competing against five others.

Those that have expressed interest in the governor seats include Woman Representatives Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) and Ms Pamela Odhiambo (Migori).

In Kisumu, 35-year-old businesswoman, Ms Awuor Messo is also seeking to dislodge Governor Anyang’ Ny’ong’o.

Kisumu Woman Representative Rosa Buyu has also shifted her attention to the Kisumu West parliamentary race, while journalist Betty Akinyi is going for the Kisumu East seat.

Nominated Senator Rose Nyamunga has also thrown her hat in the ring as she seeks the same seat.

Other aspirants for the post include lawyer Tom Ojienda, former Muhoroni MP Ayiecho Olweny and Philip Pande.

Three women

In Kirinyaga County, three women want the governor’s seat.

Governor Ann Waiguru will be facing off with Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua and Kirinyaga Women Representative Wangui Ngirici.

In Embu County, Nominated MP Cecily Mbarire is also seeking the governor post and is the only woman in the race.

Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga speaking during a meeting with over 300 polling station supporters at Kilusi village in Kabondo Kasipul constituency. [James Omoro, Standard]

She will be facing off with former senator Lenny Kivuti, Manyatta MP John Muchiri and Dr Njagi Kumantha.

In Meru, Woman Representative Kawira Mwangaza is seeking to unseat Governor Kiraitu Murungi.

Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege also wants to succeed Governor Mwangi Wa Iria.

Track record

In Kiambu, Ms Mwende Gatabaki, the wife of economist David Ndii, has been crisscrossing the vast county popularising her bid for governor seat.

“We need to change our leaders based on qualifications, track record and their agenda for the county.

“I believe it’s time for our county to be led by a woman,” Gatabaki said.

Other than governorship, women are also eyeing senator and parliamentary positions.

Embu University don Dr Judy Makira hopes to unseat Kiharu lawmaker Ndindi Nyoro who is Ruto’s point man in Murang’a.

She is hoping to contest the seat under Governor Mwangi Wa Iria’s Usawa Kwa Wote party.

In Nyeri, journalist Judy Wanjau has declared her interest to succeed Senator Ephraim Maina.

Woman Representatives Cate Waruguru and Kiambu’s Gathoni Wa Muchomba are going for Laikipia and Githunguru parliamentary seats, respectively.