7 women to watch ahead of the August polls
Kenyan politics is no longer a man’s world, and with the 2010 Constitution calling for greater female representation, more members of the fairer sex have thrown their hats into the political ring.
In 2017, 172 women were elected – an increase of 25 from 145 in 2013. Fast forward to 2,022 women, even more women declared interests in various seats across the country.
Kenyans.co.ke mocks some of the female leaders to watch in the August 9 general election and offered the following:
An undated image of NARC party leader Martha Karua.
Narc Kenya Party leader Martha Karua has been in politics for nearly 20 years, serving as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Gichugu and as a Cabinet Minister.
Despite losing to Anne Waguru in the Kirinyaga county governorship race in 2017, Karua and his party remain influential in the Mount Kenya region.
However, after running for the presidency in 2007 and 2013, she has yet to say whether she will get a second stab at Kirinyaga’s top seat or become the running mate of one of the leading presidential candidates.
Her recent appearances with One Kenya Alliance (OKA) leaders who political pundits say should lean towards Azimio la Umoja, have suggested she might settle for the former.
At one point, Karua declared that she would be Kenya’s first female president. Notably, his quest cannot be completely ruled out as an endorsement from Uhuru would greatly increase his chances.
An undated photo of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru
Governor of Kirinyaga, Anne Waiguru shares the same dilemma as Martha Karua. While she has openly said she will seek to defend her seat, the county boss has been linked to national politics.
On Thursday, February 17, a poll ranked Waiguru as the best leader in the Mount Kenya region to be Vice President William Ruto’s running mate in the upcoming general election, pitting Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua against him.
In an interview with TV47, she remained adamant that she was focused on Kirinyaga and would go public with any change in position.
“At this time, I am seeking re-election as Governor of Kirinyaga County. The day the position changes, I will make it public,” she noted.
Prior to his election as governor, Waiguru had not contested any seats on the ballot. However, she learned the ropes and successfully paddled the murky waters of politics.
Gladys Wanga, representative of Homa Bay Woman, addresses MPs on Friday, July 17, 2020.
Homa Bay County Representative Gladys Wanga has established herself as one of Nyanza’s most influential leaders.
Equilibrated as among the young tucks coming to take over Nyanza politics, Wanga declared her interest in the seat of the county governor of Homa Bay, which has ruffled the feathers among the region’s leaders.
When she launched her gubernatorial bid on February 13, all elected MPs in the including the only two female MPs, Lilian Gogo (Rangwe) and Millie Odhiambo (Suba North) staged a no-show at her event.
Nevertheless, the MP is undeterred and believes it is high time for the region and the country to embrace female leadership. If she wins the August 9 elections, she will become the first female governor to be elected in the region.
Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa speaking at an event in 2018.
Aisha Jumwa, the representative of Kilifi constituency in parliament, is among the women leaders who have taken the political bull by the horns. She will seek to succeed the outgoing Governor of Kilifi, Amason Kingi, who served two terms.
Known for her hard-hitting commentary and rhetoric, Jumwa rose to prominence when she began associating with the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), a party that has asserted its dominance in the region over the years.
Jumwa, who has now declared allegiance to DP Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA), is expected to be used to cause disruption in the Coast region which previously voted en bloc for former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Kirinyaga women’s representative Purity Ngirici pictured at a forum on March 5, 2020
The female county representative, Wangui Ngirici, has joined the battle for Kirinyaga Boss. A wealthy businesswoman, Ngirici has declared her interest in politics, pledging to bring about change in the county
The female representative had been a staunch supporter of the UDA, before falling out with DP Ruto in December 2021. The MP claimed that some party insiders twisted her arm into abandoning her gubernatorial ambitions in favor of Waiguru, who joined the party in October.
Ngirici resorted to contesting the seat as an independent candidate. She has amassed considerable influence in the region and appears to have friends in high places, including the Principal Secretary (PS) for the Interior, Karanja Kibicho.
Laikipia representative Cate Waruguru poses for a photo on November 4, 2021
Kenya’s youngest female representative, Cate Waiguru is among the female politicians who have achieved a political ascent that can only be envied by the majority.
After joining the Laikipia County Government as an appointed member of the County Assembly under the Jubilee Party, Waruguru was elected to her current position in the August 2017 general election.
On August 9, she will run for the parliamentary seat of Laikipia East. She will face former cabinet secretary for agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri, for whom she has no lost love.
Waruguru openly lambasted Kiunjuri, telling him to “stand up” and compete for “bigger” positions. This was after the former CS, who had his eyes on the presidency, threw himself in to contest the Laikipia East seat.
Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, the daughter of former Nakuru North MP Dickson Kihika
Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika will challenge incumbent Governor Lee Kinyanui to become the county’s first female governor. She is one of the leaders who defected to the UDA following the cracks of Jubilee.
Daughter of former Nakuru North MP, late Kimani Kihika, the senator aspires to become the county’s first female governor.