A Record Number of Women in Kenya Clinch top Seats in the Just Concluded Hotly Contested 2022 General Elections

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In the wake of the push and pull around the 2/3rds gender principle in leadership slots in Kenya, and if the recent declarations by the independent electoral and boundaries commission are anything to go by, women in Kenya are making stabs at electoral positions instead of nominated slots which are largely seen as freebies.

So far 4 women have clinched the coveted gubernatorial slot. They are Anne Waiguru of Kirinyaga County, Gladys Wanga of Homabay County, Susan Kihika Of Nakuru County and Kawira Mwangaza of Meru County who was declared winner late last night.

Wanga, Kawira, and Kihika became the first female governors of Homabay, Meru, and Nakuru respectively after trouncing their male competitors, Evans Kidero, Kiraitu Murungi, and Lee Kinyanjui respectively.

Mwangaza, who vied on an Independent ticket floored Kiraitu and Senator Mithika Linturi, effectively sending them home after dominating local politics for years. She garnered 209,148 votes with Linturi coming in second with 183,859 votes.

The incumbent governor was a distant third with 110,814 votes.

Speaking after receiving the certificate, Kawira thanked God, her husband Murega Baichu, her deputy Isaac Mutuma and the Meru community for believing in her leadership.
“I promise you, Meru will be the best county. There will be sustainable development projects. We are starting to work right now and I believe Meru will be the best in Kenya. I will unite all Meru people despite their sub-tribes,” Kawira said on Friday evening.

On the other side, Ms Kihika led in nine out of 11 constituencies, whereas Kinyanjui led in Nakuru West where he got 34,923 votes, according to the results released by IEBC.

Among the 11 constituencies she led in include: Bahati (44,004), Njoro (39,230), Subukia (29,111), Molo (28,267), Kuresoi South (46,503), Kuresoi North (39,878), Naivasha (57607), Njoro (36230), Gilgil (39303), Rongai (41,684) and Nakuru Town East (38061).

Speaking after her win, Susan Kihika noted that she did not take the win for granted pointing out that she will work with everyone including those who did not vote for her.

“And I want to tell you people of Nakuru, those who voted for me, and those who did not, I want to promise you that I will work for all of you, and I will work very very hard to make Nakuru prosper, to bring up our economy, to make sure there is water in our households, to make sure that I have supported agriculture, to make sure there are medicines in our hospitals, to make sure that the roads and markets and everything are taken care of. So to the people of Nakuru may the good lord bless you for truly believing in me” ends part of her speech.

Gladys Wanga, the Homabay governor-elect was vying on an Orange Democratic Movement party while Kidero was an Independent candidate.

Provisional results announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) showed that Wanga won the race with 244,559 votes.

Her closest competition, former Nairobi governor Dr Evans Kidero came second with 154,182 while United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party’s Mark Raudi came in a distant third with 1,244 votes.

Wanga goes down in history as the youngest female governor and the first governor in the Nyanza region.

She was the first woman ODM chairperson in Homa Bay and also the first to head the powerful National Assembly Departmental Committee on Finance and National Planning.

Speaking during her campaigns Wanga promised Homa Bay residents she would use devolved resources to improve the lives of the people and develop the county.

“As a younger person, I believe I have an opportunity to create a legacy, not one that I leave but one that I live, in the sense that when I do wrong, I get to live so many years to see the wrong, and when I do right, I live to see the good I would have done,” she stated.

Wanga had exuded confidence in winning owing to the vigorous campaigns she had mounted in the county.

The Homa Bay governor-elect credits her passion for public service to her father, a former councillor and chairman of the now-defunct Kisumu County Council.

She revealed that she got involved in politics at the early age of five when she would help in distributing ‘salt’ to villagers during her father’s election campaigns.

Wanga would also accompany her father to political functions and meetings.
Her brother, is also a politician, and served as a member of the Kisumu county assembly and chaired the Committee on Implementation.

Also, other provisional results announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) showed that governor-elect Anne Waiguru got 113,088 votes against Ngirici’s 105,677 votes.

She is the second Governor of Kirinyaga County in Kenya and has been in office since 22 August 2017. She was elected governor in the elections held on 8th August 2017. Previously, she served as the first Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.

She was nominated by President Uhuru Kenyatta to the position on 25 April 2013, holding a BSc (Agriculture & Home Economics) from Egerton University and a Master’s Degree in Economic Policy from the University of Nairobi, and having experience in finance, financial management systems, public service reform, capacity building, and governance.

She is behind the establishment of Huduma Centers, places where Kenyan citizens can access government services more efficiently, as well as the 30% procurement rule, which accords at least 30 per cent of all supply contracts to the government to the youth, persons with disability and women.

Anne Waiguru is the first of only 4 women Governors in Kenya declared so far by the IEBC.
She served as the first female Vice Chair of the Council of Governors in Kenya between December 2017 and January 2019.

Besides this, Ms Tabitha Keroche Karanja (UDA) was also declared the Nakuru senator-elect after she garnered 442,864 votes against her closest competitor lawyer Lawrence Karanja (Jubilee Party) who managed 163,625votes. She is the only female senator-elect so far declared by the IEBC.

At the moment, a huge chunk of women has also clinched seats in parliament with more than 25 declared so far. Most of them trouncing male competitors to clinch the seats. The women, some of who are new faces, have won seats across the country in a bid to boost numbers as compared to the 2017 elections. They include Jessica Mbalu, Jayne Kihara (UDA), Rachael Noge, Amina Mnyazi, Phylis Bartoo, Lilian Goro, Beatrice Elachi, and Alice Wahome, Edith Nyenze, Suzanne Ndunge, Mary Kittanny, Mishi Mboko.

This number is minus the total number of 47 women representatives elect in all the 47 Counties and Women elected in legislative positions. Thanks to the 2010 constitution, the Republic of Kenya is slowly realizing its dream of attaining a two-thirds Gender rule.

Yamai, Mary Emase (UDA), Mishi Mboko, Captain Obbo, Agnes Pareiyo, Martha Wangari, Charity Kathambi, Chepkwony, Irene Njoki, Gathoni Wamuchomba, Millie Odhiambo, Alice Wahome, Mary Waithira Njoroge

It is a huge increase from the 16 elected m.ps in the 11th parliament and 23 in the 12th parliament however this figure remains the lowest in East Africa.

More names are still expected to be announced by the IEBC.

Article 27(8) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 provides that the State shall take steps to ensure that not more than two-thirds of members of all elective and appointive positions are not of the same gender.

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