The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Murang'a Women Told to Vie for Elective Seats

Failure by women to vie for elective seats in the March 4 general election may lead a crisis of over the one-third gender, two women leaders in Murang'a have said.

Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairlady Jecinta Nganga and Wanjiru Chege, who is aspiring for Murang'a women's representative, said only one woman going for the parliamentary seat in the county.

Most of the women are going for the women's representative seat. The two said there is no woman aspirant for governor and the senator seats and only a few are running for the county representative seats.

However, the Star has learnt that many could also be waiting to be picked for the deputy governor position as all the aspirants for the seat are male who may choose women running mates to attract votes from female voters.

"Some women think that the one gender rule clause is a win for them but realistically both genders are losers. To ensure that more women are in the leadership positions, they should vie for the posts instead of waiting to be nominated," said Nganga.

She said it will be hard to attains the one third-gender rule will be achieved if women stay out of politics. The women leader who is vying for the township ward county representative said that it will cost the taxpayer an extra Sh4 billion per year if Parliament fails to enact a law to ensure one third of women are elected to the House and each County Assembly.

Only Alice Wahome has shown interest for a different seat-she will be vying for the Kandara parliamentary seat. Nganga attributed the situation to fear saying women should realise they have come of age.

She said failure by the women to go for other seats apart from the Women Rep seat will water down the gains brought by the new constitutions.

The maendeleo leader blamed women waiting on the sidelines to be selected as deputy governors or to be nominated saying they should not accept 'peripheral' and 'bread cramps' politics.

On her part Wanjiru said if the number is not met, then the one-third rule will have to be achieved by more nominations. If only men are elected in the 290 constituencies, an additional 70 women MPs must be nominated to add to the 47 women representatives.

She said women in the county had fallen in tandem with tradition of the area which has seen men dominate politics. Wanjiru noted that Murang'a has never had a women Mp since independent adding that a few who had vied for the seat step down for their male counterpart.

"We have never had even a woman MP from Murang'a I think it's just the mentality that politics here is for men," said Wanjiru.

She said women should come out and show forth their leadership skills by vying for other seats. "I think Wangu wa Makeri (the first woman chief in Murang'a) myth made Murang'a men get a phobia on women leadership," said Wanjiru while asked why women were shying away from political posts.

She said women should be active in politics and support each other devoid of jealously and negative influence from men.

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