All systems go as almost 2,000 women get to the ballot paper

Women who are vying for various political positions recently converged in Nairobi to launch the Ni Mama Movement that seeks to have more women elected. Picture- Courtesy of National Women Steering Committee.
Women who are vying for various political positions recently converged in Nairobi to launch the Ni Mama Movement that seeks to have more women elected. Picture- Courtesy of National Women Steering Committee.

The list of those who will be in the ballot box during August 8 General Elections is already out.

The stakes are high but the number of women who will be contesting for the Women’s Representative position and Members of County Assembly are many. Although the numbers do not meet the two thirds gender rule threshold, in total 2077 women were gazetted to be vying for the various positions that are there. However, as they sought clearance from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Board, a few fell off from lack of not meeting the needed requirements.

In terms of party nominations Jubilee is leading the pack with 278, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) 203, Maendeleo Chap Chap 100, Amani National Congress 95, Ford-Kenya 87, Wiper Democratic Party 82, Chama cha Mashinani and Party of National  39 each. There are 605 women who are vying as independent candidates.

Representation

Sadly, Nazlin Umar Rajput, the only woman who had indicated she would be vying for the Presidency is out and the presidential candidates list remains a male affair. She was disqualified on the basis that her name was missing on the voter register.

However, the number of women who will be vying as Members of Parliament, Senate and Gubernatorial candidates is not as high as is expected. However, for the first time Kenya will be celebrating nine women who have made it to the ballot box as gubernatorial candidates and these include Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Wavinya Ndeti (Machakos), Martha Karua and Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Jacinta Mwatela (Taita Taveta), Winfred Kabaru (Meru), Joyce Laboso (Bomet), Atieno Otieno (Kisumu), Winfred Kabaru (Meru), Christine Ondiege (Siaya).

Statistics

Hellen Anyiso Otolo of Vihiga County is the only woman going for the gubernatorial position as an independent candidate.

So far statistics indicate that women are negative one percent (-1%) of those going for the gubernatorial position.

The senate race has attracted a few women as well considering that in the 2013 Parliament, no woman was elected. Hopes are high as women have made in roads through dominant parties and hopefully this will enable them capture the seats. Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Prof Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu), Joyce Wanjala Lay (Taita Taveta) are among the 42 women who captured senatorial nominations. Seven women including Rose Kisia Omondi (Kisumu), Catherine Mukite and Beatrice Kitabi (Trans Nzoia), Anne Tina Mynambu (Taveta and Fatuma Dhulo (Isiolo) are vying either through parties or as independents.

Approach

Though a few women, who in the last Parliament captured the women’s representative position, are this time around going for single constituency member of Parliament. These are the likes of Mishi Mboko of Mombasa who won the nominations for MP Likoni Constituency under Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party and Asha Jumwa Karisa (ODM) for Malindi Parliamentary, Martha Wangare Gilgil with Jubilee.

The women who had been nominated to Senate in the last Parliament have now dared to go for single constituency seats. They include Joy Gwendo (Kisumu Central), Beatrice Elachi (Dagoretti North), Judith Sijeny (Lang’ata), Naisula Lesuuda (Samburu West) and Emma Mbura (Rabai).

The women who are currently MPs and won nominations to defend their seats include Millie Odhiambo (Mbita), Peris Tobiko (Kajiado East), Alice Nganga (Thika Town), Naomi Shaban (Taita Taveta) Grace Kipchoim (Baringo South) and Alice Wahome (Kandara).

Out of the 10,021 candidates who are member of county assembly aspirants, only 1,161 have been nominated. Jubilee has 478, ODM 376, Ford Kenya 64, Amani National Congress 78, Wiper Democratic Movement 70, Maendeleo Chap Chap 48, Chama cha Mashinani 22.

Open seats

Among the women going for open seats through parties, Jubilee has 594, ODM 414, Amani National Congress 83, Wiper Democratic Movement 79, Ford Kenya 66, Maendeleo Chap Chap 48, Chama cha Mashinani and PNU 10 each. The other parties all have below 10.

For the women representative positions, Jubilee is fielding 165 women, ODM 63, ANC 14, Wiper 14, Ford Kenya seven and Chama cha Mashinani three while Kadu Asili and Maendeleo Chap Chap have two each.

These numbers remain insignificant compared to the number of men who will be vying even as the deadline that the court set for Parliament to enact the Gender Two Third rule passed.

If Parliament had enacted the law, we would be talking of more numbers of women being on the ballot paper. The women’s fate is now sealed and it’s the voters to decide if they will get to political decision making positions through the ballot.