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Kisii, Nyamira elect one female MCA but must meet gender rule

Honeymoon Destinations
 Nyaribari Chache MP-elect Zaheer Jhanda celebrates win. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

On taking oath of office, Beatrice Kerubo will enter the Kisii County Assembly as the only woman elected as an MCA in the Gusii counties of Kisii and Nyamira.

Kerubo got a resounding victory in the just concluded elections beating 11 candidates after garnering 3,400 votes against her closest challenger who had 2,300 votes.

Kerubo was making her third attempt to clinch the MCA seat.

She lost her husband during Covid-19 pandemic and her political career almost died.

After losing the seat in 2013, she was employed as a Ward Administrator in Governor James Ongwae's government.

In both 2013 and 2017 elections, she emerged second. She could later resign towards the 2022 general elections to seek the seat. She lost to Thomas Okari in the ODM nominations.

Kerubo was handed the ticket following Okari's death

"I resigned to venture into the murky Kisii politics. People were wondering why a woman would resign from a permanent job to try her hand in politics. This was the will of God and I thank my people for their overwhelming support," she said.

Kerubo says women leaders should be supported and viewed like any other leader who can offer leadership.

"I will be available to serve my people; I will not let them down. People wanted change and I am sure we are headed for better days," says the career accountant who is also a treasurer of SDA church.

However, despite this victory, Kisii and Nyamira County Assemblies are staring at a huge wage bill that will be occasioned by the realisation of the two-thirds gender rule.

In the Kisii case, the assembly will be paying an extra Sh45 million per year to the nominated MCAs as salaries.

Last month, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) set new guidelines on the payment of salaries to MCAs reducing the amount to Sh 144,375 per month for elected or nominated MCA.

On their assumption of office, the assembly will part with Sh142 million for car grants to the 71 members and Sh213 million for mortgage.

The Speaker of the County Assembly will take home sh525,525, a car loan worth Sh4 million and enjoy a mortgage of up to Sh20 million. The deputy will earn Sh216,563, a car loan of Sh2 million and a mortgage of Sh3 million.

At least 15 women will be nominated to bridge the gender gap in the Kisii County Assembly, 12 women were nominated to the after the 2017 General Election.

"We are back to the number of MCAs we had in the first sitting immediately after the 2013 elections. Yes, it is a huge number but that is the law and it must be applied," says lawyer Gideon Nyambati.

Kisii will have 45 elected members while 26 will have to be nominated to meet the two-thirds gender rule.

It is worth noting the Gusii community has never elected women, forcing political parties to nominate them in a bid to meet the two thirds-gender rule.

In the last County Assembly of Kisii, there were 22 women nominated through the Affirmative Action top up as is provided for in the County Government Act, 2012.

The ward in Kisii that elected a woman was doing so for the third time, having been the only one that elected a woman in the county in 2013 and 2017.

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