Nakuru County is one of the few counties that have elected the highest number of women to the top leadership in the 2022 General Election.
The county has produced a female governor, a female senator, and five out of 11 Members of Parliament.
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 got 440,707 votes against Kinyanjui's 225,643.
The independent candidates in the governor's race were Stanley Karanja (8,685), Munyua Waiyaki (697), former Nakuru Senator James Mungai (1,849) and Elijah Chege (5,078).
Kihika has been succeeded by Tabitha Karanja-Keroche, who is also the Keroche Breweries Chief Executive Officer.
Liza Chelule has retained her Woman Representative seat for the second time. She first served as a nominated Senator from 2013 to 2017.
All three leaders were elected on United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party tickets.
Kihika promises to work with Kinyanjui
In her acceptance speech, Kihika said 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 political camp to oversee her administration will not in any way affect the transparency of her government.
“I will give Karanja the space she needs to oversee my government. Being in the same party does not mean we shall sweep things under the carpet. We shall be transparent,” said Kihika.
Kihika electing three women to lead the county was a show of confidence in their leadership.
“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.
Kihika noted that the success of women in politics is largely anchored on the support they get from their families and spouses.
“Where a married woman is vying, there is always a lot of propaganda that is spread about them. Thanks to my husband Sam Mburu, Mr Karanja and Mr Chelule for standing with the three of us,” she said.
Tabitha Karanja: Women are good managers
Senator-elect Tabitha Karanja was accompanied by her husband Joseph Karanja.
“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 execute it,” said Karanja.
She 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 to work towards uniting communities
Chelule who was also accompanied by her spouse said being the eldest among the three, she will provide counsel to Susan and Tabitha whenever called upon.
“The three of us have held different positions where those around us can bear us witness that we are performers. We shall work together in ensuring this county moves forward and remains united,” said Chelule.
She said Nakuru needs leaders who will work towards uniting all communities.
“Women are known to love peace and that is what we shall stand for. Cohesion in our cosmopolitan county must be fostered. Through our leadership, we shall ensure all view each other as Kenyans,” she said.
Five women MPs elected
Other female MPs in constituencies in Nakuru county include Gilgil MP Martha Wangari, Njoro MP Charity Kathambi, Bahati MP Irene Njoki, and Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara all under UDA.
Social media users lauded Nakuru residents for electing a majority of women in the general election.
''Nakuru becomes the first county to be led by women in all top positions. It will be a benchmark for many years to come,'' said Marvin Gakunyi on Twitter.
Ferdy Omondi said: ''What an election for women. What a statement from Nakuru County, which has delivered a female Governor, a female Senator, and 5 out of 11 MPs. Include the Women rep, that's 6 female MPs. Nakuru surpasses the two-thirds constitutional requirement through the ballot.