By Kepher Otieno
Professional women are shying away from active politics due to lack of funds, former MP Phoebe Asiyo has said.
Asiyo said this in Kisumu as aspiring women leaders met to deliberate on the political challenges facing them as they offer their candidature for elections.
Several women who are contesting for county, Parliamentary and senate seats claimed they did not have sufficient financial resources to sustain campaigns.
Consequently, they appealed to non-governmental organisations and political institutions interested in change to sponsor them to run for the electoral seats.
Most aspirants singled out cultural prejudices against women as part of the problems that always impinged on their motivation to join politics.
But Asiyo called on the women to desist from “fatalistic mentalities” that they couldn’t come out in big numbers to challenge men. Instead, they should ride on the aphorism that they, too, can.
“You may not have the money but you have strong philosophies that seek to address the problems facing the poor. That is sufficient to win the electorate’s heart,’’ Asiyo said.
Migori County Women Representative candidate Dennitah Ghati claimed that cultural bias still contributed in alienation of women from active politics.
In some communities, women are not allowed to seek elective seats from their matrimonial homes. Others still viewed some seats as special, not to be held by women.
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“These factors discouraged many of us who felt disadvantaged from contesting for the elections. It is, therefore, up to men to change negative attitudes to us,’’ Asiyo said.
Rose Nyamunga eyeing the Kisumu County Women Representative seat said women this time were out to prove to men that the days of male dominant society were long gone.
Roselyn Onyuka who is in race for Homa Bay County Senate said women were prepared to run against women and will make sure that once elected, they spend their little resources to advocate for the poor. She disclosed that if elected she will push for the lowering of interest rates charged on loans to women in business so as to motivate them.
The women vowed to move out and encourage those with potential leadership skills to declare interests for elections and not be cowed by lack of financial power as long as they had viable philosophies.
They also asked political parties to spare them tight nominations rigours and to lower the fees charged on aspirants to attract more participation.