Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
Kenya today joins the rest of the world in marking this year’s Women’s Day celebrating the many milestones in girl empowerment, especially on the political front. The biggest gains were recorded after last year’s General Election where for the first time since the 2010 Constitution, women were elected as governors and senators.
Three women Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga) and Joyce Laboso (Bomet) beat their male contestants to the county governor seats to make history. The Senate, on the other hand, saw three other women elected in the persons of Prof Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu), Susan Kihika (Nakuru) and Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo).
In 2013, no woman was elected, so 18 had to be nominated to the Senate as part of affirmative action. The Senate consists of 68 seats with 47 elected and 21 appointed including the 16 women, 2 from disabled groups, 2 representing male and female youth and a Speaker.
Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda who become the first elected woman MP from the community told women in the country that anything Is achievable as long as they put their mind to it. She said that the Kenyan woman deserves to be celebrated for the gains so far made even as she urged everyone to embrace the two thirds gender rule.
“Anything is possible, if you desire something, go for it provided you are doing the right thing. It is important that we get engaged in the little things that change our lives. Women play a great role in the society,” she said. As for the National Assembly, at least 23 women were elected up from the 16 in the last election.
This added to the 47 women-only seats and half of the 12 nominees by political parties, brings the women in the National Assembly to 76. Among the women who surmounted major hurdles during their campaigns are four from the pastoral and conservative communities.
They are Lesuuda, Laikipia North MP Sarah Paulata Korere, Ijaara MP Sophia Noor and Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko, who retained her seat on Jubilee Party after garnering 37,742 votes. In the county assemblies, at least five women were elected as speakers. Those who were elected include advocates, Florence Mwangangi, Elizabeth Ayoo and Hasnah Mudeizi Mbone as Machakos, Homa Bay and Vihiga counties.
Speakers respectively while former Nominated Speaker Beatrice Elachi and Catherine Mukenyang were elected as Nairobi and West Pokot counties speakers. The number of women elected members of county assemblies also increased from 84 to 96 of the total 1450.