Women break barriers to bag various elective seats
Female candidates scored big in the Tuesday General Election, braving deeply entrenched gender biases to bag various elective positions.
Besides the affirmative Woman Representative seats, dozens of women battled it out with men in other elective positions — governors, senators, and members of County and National Assembly.
Women contestants already declared winners by the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) include Rosa Buyu, who is now the MP-elect for Kisumu West. She garnered 39,658 votes against incumbent Olago Aluoch, who has served the Kisumu West electorate for the past 15 years.
In Machakos, voters overwhelmingly elected women to key positions of governor and senate. Governor-elect Wavinya Ndeti thanked the electorate for being confident that she would deliver.
“Thank you for opening up your minds and hearts, and for seeing the possibility of what we can do together for our children and the future of our great county. I am grateful to all of you for giving me a chance to serve as your second Governor”, said Wavinya.
She beat former State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita of Chama Cha Uzalendo to become the first woman Governor of Machakos, while Agnes Kavindu retained her Senator seat.
Phyllis Bartoo, who vied on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket, is now the MP-elect for Moiben Constituency. She will replace Silas Kipkoech, who has served for two terms.
She beat two men, including incumbent Sila Tiren, to clinch the seat.
Bartoo, a linguistics lecturer at Egerton University, garnered 40,982 votes against Tiren’s 8,790 votes. After announcement of the results on Wednesday night, an elated Bartoo promised to prioritise agriculture and empowerment of women and people with disabilities.
Another win was for Agnes Pareiyo, who floored six men to become the MP-elect for Narok North, which had about 88,000 elected voters. Pareiyo, a crusader against female genital mutilation (FGM) crusader, becomes the first woman to clinch that position.
Just like her Kajiado East counterpart, Peris Tobiko triumphed despite being “cursed” at one time by Maasai elders after she was elected MP in 2013. She has been in the race three times, one time competing against then Maasai kingpin William ole Ntimama.
Pareyio, who received her certificate from Narok North constituency returning officer Julius Okweko, has suffered stereotyping of women in the community despite showing good performance in all elections.
The Jubilee MP-elect Pareyio beat malicious propaganda that “it was unheard for a woman to lead ‘men’ beat six men, among them lawyer Martine ole Kamwaro who came second.
“I thank the people of Narok North for electing me as their first woman Member of Parliament. I shall forever remain indebted to you,” said Pareyio.
Maragua MP Mary Wamaua, who was vying on a UDA ticket, has also retained her seat. It will be Wamaua’s second term in Parliament, having garnered 49,281 votes against her closest competitor, Antony Chege of Jubilee Party, who had 12,633 votes.
An ally of DP William Ruto and Kandara MP Alice Wahome will also serve her third term in Parliament
In Aldai constituency, a former aide at the Deputy President’s office, Marianne Kittany, overcame stiff competition from four men to win.
Kittany vied on a UDA ticket. Yesterday, she was basking in glory after garnering 42,015 votes to beat the incumbent Cornely Serem, an independent candidate, who got 13, 309 votes.
She becomes the second female MP to represent Aldai constituency after former Head of Civil Service Sally Kosgei, who served between 2008 and 2013 during President Mwai Kibaki’s regime.
“I thank the people of Aldai for trusting in me. I promise them that I will not let them down,” said Kitany after she was issued with her certificate.
Three Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party women MPs in Homa Bay county have also retained their seats.
Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo, Eve Obara (Kabondo Kasipul) and Lillian Gogo (Rangwe) floored their competitors to secure re-election.
Millie was re-elected after garnering 27,130 votes against her closest competitor, James Akali of the Federal Party, who got 18,151 votes. Obara was declared the winner with 31,104 votes.
On the other hand, Gogo beat her challengers to emerge the winner. She garnered 22,095 votes.
Both Obara and Gogo will be serving their second terms as MPs, while Millie will be in her third term.
Outgoing Lamu Woman Representative Ruweida Obbo won the hotly-contested Lamu East MP seat, unseating the incumbent and two-term MP Abdul Sharif Athman of UDA.
Obbo celebrated her win amid promises to deliver on her development agenda. “My tenure will mark a shift in how education, health and infrastructure concerns,” she noted.
Others who have won are Mary Emase Teso for South MP, who trounced outgoing Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong; Sarah Korere in Laikipia North, Agnes Nyenze in Kitui West, Lillian Gogo retained her Rangwe seat, Martha Wangari in Gilgil, Gathoni Wamuchomba in Githunguri, and Rachel Nyamai of Kitui South who retained her seat.
Jessica Mbalu and Naisula Lesuuda retained their Kibwezi East and Samburu West parliamentary seats, respectively, while a first-timer, Irene Njoki, trounced veteran politician Kimani Ngunjiri. Wanjiku Muhia, who served as the Nyandarua Woman Representative in the eleventh Parliament, won the Kipipiri parliamentary seat, beating veteran Amos Kimunya, while Jane Kihara maintained her Naivasha seat.
The twelfth Parliament had 22 women elected as MPs, but the number could rise in the incoming session.
- Reporting by Anthony Mwangi, Irene Githinji, Wycliff Kipsang, George Sayagie and KNA