11 August 2017

Kenya: 22 Women for Parliament As Regions Elect First Female MPs

Photo: Grace Gitau/Daily Nation
A voter casting presidential vote in Kenya's election on August 8, 2017.

A record 22 women had by Thursday decisively won constituency seats in Tuesday's General Election, an increase from the 2013 number.

And in some areas, a woman as being elected to a seat that has been the domain of men.

But although the women set for the 12th Parliament are still few, they increased by six from the 16 elected in the last elections.

Jubilee Party has the majority of the women MPs-elect with 13, followed by Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) with five and one each from Kanu, Party of Reforms and Democracy, as well as Wiper Democratic Movement and an independent candidate.

Ms Janet Sitienei defied the Jubilee wave in Uasin Gishu County to be elected as an independent in Turbo, Deputy President William Ruto's home constituency.

Having lost in the Jubilee primaries in a tough duel with Mr Stephen Okwara, she became the second elected female MP in the North Rift with 36,444 votes to the businessman's 30,914.

MAJOR HURDLES

Among the women who mounted major hurdles to campaign their way to the National Assembly are four from the pastoral and conservative communities, making a mark as first female politicians to be elected to Parliament from their areas.

These include youthful former journalist Naisula Lesuuda, a nominated senator who has won the Samburu West seat to become the first elected woman MP from the community.

Ms Lesuuda, of Kanu, trounced Jubilee's Jonathan Lati at 14,561 votes to 13,971.

Ms Sarah Paulata Korere unseated her bitter rival Mathew Lempurkel (ODM) in Laikipia North. Ms Korere (Jubilee), who was nominated in 2013 by United Republican Party (URP), got 10,767 in a bruising battle with a man she once accused of physically assaulting her.

In Ijara, Garissa, former ODM nominated MP Sophia Noor of Party of Reforms and Democracy got 5,824 votes to unseat Mr Ahmed Abass (5,398).

In Kajiado East, Ms Peris Tobiko has retained her seat on Jubilee Party after garnering 37, 742 votes.

FIRST FEMALE MP

In Nakuru, Njoro got its first female MP in the constituency's 25 years of existence, bringing to three the women MPs-elect in the county in this year's elections.

Mrs Charity Kathambi Chepkwony, a former board member of Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB), trounced five independent opponents. They included lawyer Karanja Kabage, who had lost in the Jubilee Nakuru senatorial primaries to Ms Susan Kihika.

Mrs Chepkwony, a mother of three, who hails from Meru County, is married in Njoro.

In Gilgil, Nominated Senator Martha Wangari became the second woman MP and the first elected after beating two opponents. Gilgil was hived off Naivasha in the 2008 boundaries review.

Mrs Jayne Kihara, a former assistant minister, made a political comeback in Naivasha after 10 years when she beat a Kanu opponent and three independents.

The three women MPs-elect vied on Jubilee tickets and got more than 70 per cent of the vote.

JUBILEE TICKET

Ms Rachel Nyamai retained her Kitui South MP seat on a Jubilee ticket in National Super Alliance (Nasa) presidential running mate Kalonzo Musyoka's stronghold.

She got 22,735 to beat Wiper's Kennedy Moki (16,217).

In Murang'a, lawyer Ruth Mwaniki won the Kigumo seat with 40,063 votes to replace Mr Jamleck Kamau while in Kandara, Ms Alice Wahome retained her seat after bagging 48,927 votes.

Ms Mary Waithera, a nominated member of the county assembly in Murang'a, got 46,688 votes in Maragwa to beat five men.

Another nominated MCA, Kiambu's Wanjiku wa Kibe, became the first woman MP for Gatundu North.

The former broadcaster garnered 39,191 votes to vanquish incumbent Kigo Njenga, an independent who lost the Jubilee ticket to her, and former MP Clement Waibara.

11TH PARLIAMENT

Ms Wanjiku is only the female MP in Kiambu after Thika Town's Alice Ng'ang'a was beaten by businessman Patrick Wainaina aka Wainaina wa Jungle.

In the 11th Parliament, Kiambu had two female MPs -- Ms N'gan'ga and Esther Gathogo, who lost to Simon King'ara.

Former Bomet MP, assistant minister and minister Kipkalya Kones's widow Beatrice Kones of Jubilee walloped her son Kipng'etich Kones of Chama Cha Mashinani to lead Bomet East.

Ms Kones got 22,796 votes and Mr Kipng'etich 2,410.

Jubilee's Ms Mercy Gakuya becomes the only female MP in Nairobi County after garnering 73,736 votes to trounce Kasarani MP John Njoroge, who came a distant third with 15,548 votes.

NAOMI SHABAN

Ms Naomi Shaban of Jubilee retained her Taveta MP seat with 11,252 votes as ANC's Morris Muindi got 10,873.

Kilifi Woman Representative Aisha Jumwa (ODM) got 28,576 votes to beat seven men in Malindi as her Mombasa colleague Mishi Mboko (ODM) polled 27,075 to unseat veteran politician Masoud Mwahima in Likoni.

In Homa Bay, Ms Millie Odhiambo (ODM) retained her Suba North seat with 24,159 votes while in Kabondo Kasipul, former KLB director Eve Obara polled 27,185 votes on her debut to replace youthful Silvance Osele, whom she beat in the ODM primaries.

In Rangwe, Dr Lilian Gogo, a career educationist, and a former lecturer at Egerton University, got 22,789 votes to replace Mr George Oner, whom she beat in the ODM primaries.

In Makueni, Ms Jessica Nduku of Wiper got 26,006 votes to win back her Kibwezi East seat.

-- Additional reporting by Njeri Rugene and Caroline Wafula

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