Women aspirants told to battle for political space


ODM Women League President Beth Syengo addressing the media after a meeting with all women aspirants at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi yesterday. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

All is set at the Jacaranda grounds in Nairobi, which will host today’s Azimio la Umoja rally.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is among leaders expected at the meeting that will officially announce Raila as Azimio’s flag bearer.

ODM’s Director of Elections and Campaigns Junet Mohamed termed the rally “a celebration of Raila’s day”.

“All roads lead to Jacaranda, to the mother of all rallies. All Azimio party leaders will attend the rally that will indicate the path we will chart,” Junet said.

The host, Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, urged other leaders against raining on Raila’s parade.

“This will be Raila’s party. Other aspirants will get their day at a later stage,” Babu said.

Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris said the meeting would be historic. “More than 15 parties will come together to endorse Raila. Jacaranda will prove to Kenyans who the next president will be,” she added.

Azimio partner parties will sign a partnership agreement at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre before heading to Jacaranda. 

Meanwhile, women lawmakers from the Orange Democratic Movement have challenged aspiring women leaders to claim their space in the political arena. The underlying message of an ODM women league conference with female aspirants yesterday at the Bomas of Kenya, was nothing would come easy for women seeking political office in the August 9 polls.

Lawmakers drawn from across the country urged their counterparts to step up and challenge men for all elective seats “except the presidency”, currently reserved for ODM leader Raila Odinga. Those who spoke at the colourful session, which saw Bomas’ Baraza Hall painted orange, touted the move as the surest way to attain the two-thirds gender principle.

At the same time, they want ODM to ensure party nominations will be free, granting women an equal chance against their male counterparts. They further argued for affirmative action, which would see the party deliberately nominate more women as their flag candidates. Likoni MP Mishi Mboko asked them to be firm against the challenges in their political quest.

“We must be assertive, persistent, focused and aggressive if we are to have more women governors, senators and MPs,” Mboko said.

Meanwhile, former Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki is among aspirants who were yesterday cleared by the Jubilee Party.

Kariuki will now face off with Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia, who was cleared last week, in the nominations.

The party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni and Chairman Nelson Dzuya also received Joseph Simel, who defected from ODM. He will be running for the Kajiado West parliamentary seat.

Kajiado Central aspirant Moses Biricha and Mbiu Kamau, who will be seeking to unseat Kandara MP Alice Wahome, were also cleared.

“Making a decision to join Jubilee is a joy for us. We shall make sure that we work together to win. I’m certain you will deliver the whole of Kajiado to Jubilee,” said Mr Kioni.