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17 governors to divorce deputies ahead of 2022 polls

By Moses Nyamori | October 23rd 2020

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Homabay County Governor Cyprian Awiti during celebrations to mark International Disaster Risk Reduction day held at Kakamega Golf hotel on October 13, 2020. Seventeen governors are set to change their deputies should proposals of BBI be implemented.[Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Seventeen governors will be forced to do away with their current deputies and pick female running mates should the proposed constitutional changes become law.

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report released yesterday seeks to bridge the gender gap by having a man pick a female running mate and vice-versa while running for governor’s office.                                      

The proposal implies that county bosses doing their first term and intend to defend their seats will have to drop their deputies – who are of the same gender – so as to meet the requirement.

Of the 25 governors doing their first term, and set to defend their seats, only four have female deputies. Kiambu and Nairobi do not have deputy governors. Currently, there are two female governors – Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui) – and eight female deputy governors.

The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 proposes to amend Article 180 – on the election of county governor and deputy county governor – to enhance gender parity in the governance of counties.

It provides that a candidate for the county governor shall nominate a person “who is not of the same gender”.

“Vast number of submissions regarding the lack of inclusivity for women were received during the validation process. The Steering Committee was struck by the deep and widespread feeling of exclusion and marginalisation among the women of Kenya, who felt that mainstream socio-cultural and political arrangements prevent them from fully accessing their rights under the Constitution,” reads the report received by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga on Wednesday.

In Kisumu, Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o will have to part ways with his deputy Mathews Owili while his Bungoma counterpart Wycliffe Wangamati will have to drop Kibabani Ngome for a female running mate.

In the last poll, Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja picked Majala Mlaghui as his deputy, Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua) has Cecilia Mbuthia, while Stephen Sang (Nandi) has Yulita Mitei.

In Nyeri, Caroline Karugu was picked to deputise Governor Mutahi Kahiga, who took over following the death of Wahome Gakuru.

Female deputy governors doing their second and last term include Evalyn Aruasa (Narok), Fatuma Achani (Kwale), Susan Kikwai (Kericho) and Adelina Mwau (Makueni).

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