Nakuru County made history in this year’s General Election by shattering the gender barrier and choosing the highest number of women for top leadership positions.
Outgoing Senator Susan Kihika is now the governor-elect after trouncing the incumbent Lee Kinyanjui and four other candidates. Kihika, a former county assembly speaker garnered 440,707 votes against Governor Kinyanjui’s 245,643.
With Kihika not defending her senatorial seat, she has been succeeded by a businesswoman, Tabitha Karanja, who is also the Keroche brewery’s Chief Executive.
Liza Chelule also retained the woman representative seat giving her a third term in Parliament having first served as nominated senator in 2013-2017.
In her acceptance speech, Kihika said being a woman will not mean that she will be a weak governor, adding that she will tap into the knowledge and experience of her male competitors.
“That I have won this election doesn’t mean I will not work with Kinyanjui. I will consult and tap from his experience to address issues of the people of Nakuru,” said Kihika.
She observed that the election of a female senator from her own political camp to oversight her administration will not in any way affect the transparency of her government.
“I will give Karanja the space she needs to oversight my government. Being in the same formation does not mean we shall sweep things under the carpet. We shall be as transparent,” said Kihika.
The outgoing senator lauded Nakuru residents saying that the election of three women to lead the populous and economic giant county was a show of confidence in women.
“This shows that Nakuru people have embraced progressive politics and leadership. They are after people who will work for them and the gender card is no longer a barrier to performance,” she said.
Karanja, who was accompanied by her husband Joseph Karanja, demonstrated her humility as she handed her husband the certificate she received.
Like in a wedding, the Keroche boss nicely folded the certificate before handing it to Mr Karanja who carefully placed it in the left inner pocket of his neat coat.
“This is a new journey that we have begun. I shall work closely with my sisters in delivering what the people of Nakuru expect of us. I understand my role as senator and will diligently perform it,” said Karanja.
She explained that Nakuru County is large in size and also has a huge budget but exuded confidence that the women-led team was up to the task.
“Women are the best managers. They ensure there is something for everyone in the family from the little that is available. We are mothers and residents of this county and understand best what the people need,” said Karanja.
Chelule said that being the eldest among the three she will provide counsel to them whenever called upon.
Those elected as MPs are Martha Wangari (Gilgil), Charity Kathambi (Njoro), Irene Njoki (Bahati) and Jayne Kihara (Naivasha).