Numbers drop in Kisumu as only five women elected MCAs
The dust has settled following the August 8, 2017 General Election in Kenya. About 14,000 candidates vied for 1,882 elective seats as enshrined in the constitution.
These represents the one seat for president, 47 county governors, 47 county senators, 290 Members of Parliament (MPs), 47 county women representatives and 1,450 ward representatives, otherwise known as Member of County Assembly (MCAs).
Out of the 1, 450 wards across the country, 35 are in Kisumu County. A total of five women were elected in the wards as opposed to seven who were voted in 2013.
All the five were elected on the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ticket, with only one woman managing to reclaim her seat.
Prisca Auma Misachi managed to retain the ShauriMoyo/Kaloleni Ward MCA seat after garnering a total of 5,703 votes. She beat four other candidates, among them former nominated MCA Faridah Ahmed Salim, Caren Ajwang Odhiambo and Lucy Ojwang. Shauri/Moyo Kaloleni Ward is located in Kisumu Central Constituency.
The seat had attracted four women candidates — the highest in the entire Kisumu County. Only one man vied for the seat in the ward and finished third.
In Manyatta B ward, newcomer Pamela Akinyi Odhiambo (nominated in 2013) managed to unseat Nereah Akoth Okombo, the incumbent. Okombo was defending her seat as an independent candidate in the just concluded elections, after losing to Odhiambo in the ODM party primaries early in the year.
Odhiambo won the seat with 6, 894 votes while Okombo came in second with 2,867 votes. Manyatta B is one of the five wards in Kisumu East Constituency.
Judith Atieno Ogaga defeated a crowded field of seven other candidates to win the Central Kisumu Ward seat on an ODM ticket. She got 9,218 votes, an equivalent of 60.63 percent of the votes cast.
Her closest challenger (male candidate) managed 3,983 votes while Risper Susan Owenga who was the other woman in the race finished seventh with a paltry 89 votes. Central Kisumu is among the five wards in Kisumu West Constituency.
In Chemelil Ward, Muhoroni Constituency Maureen Anyango Opondo emerged the winner in a pool of eight candidates after bagging 7,265votes to be elected the new MCA. Her closet rival (a man) managed to get 2,191 votes while Mildred Atieno Owiso who contested for the same seat on a Ford Kenya Party ticket finished third with 1,309 votes.
A similar cast played out in Central Seme Ward with Sally Achieng Okudo beating three other contenders —both men to be crowned the new MCA. She managed a staggering 8,823 votes while her closest rival bowed out of the race with 1,234 votes.
No female MCA was elected in Nyando and Nyakach constituencies.
Big losers included Malin Akinyi Atieno (Kobura), Nereah Akoth Okombo (Manyatta B), Pamela Apondi Omino (Central Kisumu), Caroline Owen Awino (Kisumu North), Benta Akinyi Ogolla (West Seme) and Petronilla Omondi of South East Nyakach. All these are women who won the seats in 2013.
Men captured Kobura, Kisumu North, West Seme and South East Nyakach seats, while women defended the Shauri Moyo/Kaloleni, Central Kisumu and Manyatta B, besides dislodging men from Central Seme and Chemelil wards.
There were over 20 women who vied for county positions in the various wards within Kisumu. Still, there were no women who vied in over 10 wards in the vast county. Such wards include Kolwa East, Nyalenda A, North West Kisumu, South West Kisumu, Miwani, Ombeyi, South East Nyakach, South West Nyakach, Ahero, Kobura and East Seme among others.
Kisumu Journalists Network (KJN) chairman Dickson Odhiambo says that elected female MCAs should urge more women to contest in future elections, so as to have more women to come out for leadership positions in future.
“The elected MCAs have a major role to play in terms of ensuring that many more women are elected in future. They should encourage women’s involvement in politics from now henceforth,” he said.
Odhiambo noted that cultural beliefs that discredit women’s leadership and lack of a visible track record from the female MCAs elected in 2013 may have worked against them, causing the number of Kisumu County’s elected female MCA’s drop from seven in 2013 to five this year.
But Mariam Abdalla, project officer at Kisumu’s Transform Empowerment for Action Initiative feels there are other reasons that may have led to a drop in the number of women elected as MCAs in Kisumu County.
Abdalla says the political party’s leadership did not support women who showed interest in vying, especially at the nomination level. “That is why women did not vie for MCA seats in some wards,” she explains.
Abdalla notes some women were not able to pull together enough resources in time to mount serious campaigns.
“I personally had shown interest of vying for the Nyalenda B ward but dropped out of the race after I realized I needed close to KSh2 million for media campaigns, posters and other campaign related matters,” Abdalla reveals.
She says the same fate befell so many other women who were keen to contest for elective seats.