The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Three Mombasa Women Test Murky Waters of Politics

The only three women going for high elective positions in Mombasa county are frustrated by lack of funding from respective parties.

Jackie Bwire, who is vying for Likoni parliamentary seat on a Wiper ticket, and Amina Abdalla, for Kisauni seat on a UDF ticket, are the only women parliamentary aspirants. Alice Maitha of TNA is the only woman eyeing the senator seat in the county.

The three said although they are facing more than 40 men in the battle for elective posts, they have received little or no support from their parties. Security is also a major challenge and unlike their male rivals, they cannot venture into some areas or campaign beyond specific time.

"Our male counterparts can campaign at odd hours and even in bars. I cannot go to such places because most people there think of their own things about you," said Abdalla.

They also suffer from a weak financial base. "Women have great potential for leadership but no financial power to set up logistics for launching campaigns," said Bwire, who vied for the Westlands parliamentary seat in Nairobi in 2007.

Maitha, the wife to former powerful Coast cabinet minister, the late Karisa Maitha, said women find it difficult to relay their message to remote parts of the county.

They called on women to support their bids saying they are door openers to more political powers for women. They said 47 seats reserved for them as women representatives are not enough.

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