Kakamega women shun elective posts
At least 15 women have been nominated by political parties to vie for the various elective seats in Kakamega county.
No woman is vying for the governorship and senate seats as the male-folk continue to dominate politics in the county.
Only three women have nomination certificates to vie for the 12 parliamentary seats.
A number of the women who had earlier expressed interest in the constituency and Ward seats have since bowed out.
Many pointed at retrogressive culture that looks down upon women and the youth when it comes to politics.
Others said lack of resources to mount a formidable campaign contributed.
Some political analysts joked that if men were even allowed to vie for the Woman Representative’s seat, they would easily win.
Educationist Ruth Oniang’o, career diplomat Yvonne Khamati and Nominated MCA Jackline Okanya are the only female contestants battling to join the National Assembly.
Prof Oniang’o is back in the murky political waters as she seeks to unseat Butere MP Tindi Mwale after her efforts to vie in Lurambi in 2002 bore no fruit. The academician was dismissed as persona non-grata in Lurambi where she hails from but is married in Butere.
Ms Okanya is eyeing the Mumias West parliamentary seat where she comes from but married to David Malala who is from Mumias East.
Ms Khamati is seeking to become the Ikolomani MP.
In some constituencies, there is no single female in the race for MP or MCA seats.
Only two women have unsuccessfully vied as governor and Senator but they were unsuccessful. They include Prof Shanyisa Khasiani who sought the senator position in 2013 and Marble Muruli who challenged Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and former Senator Boni Khalwale in 2017.
A section of political leaders and analysts asked womenfolk to pull up their socks if they expected to be elected.
“Many of our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters have given politics a wide berth because of the associated stereotypes,” said Desterio Okumu, a political commentator from the county.
“Some fear that they would be called names while others can not be allowed to join politics by their families,” he added.
Violet Lumumba, a nominated MCA, said many women also lacked the resources and, thus, preferred to rally behind men.
Businesswoman Margaret Mmuka said elective politics in the county had been male dominated to the extent that any woman who joined was frowned upon.
“I experienced a lot when I vied as the MCA for Isukha South in 2017. I have decided not to try this time again,” said Ms Mmuka.
The sentiments were echoed by Isabellah Mung’asia who served as Idakho East MCA from 2013 but declined to seek re-election in 2017.
Godliver Omondi is one of the handful of women who was elected as MCA for Kholera Ward in 2017 after serving as a nominated senator from 2013. She is seeking re-election.
A majority of the women seeking elective positions are eyeing the reserved Woman Representative seat.
These include incumbent Elsie Muhanda, Nominated Senator Naomi Shiyonga, a former county employee Peninah Mukabane and businesswomen Sarah Netia, Hadijah Nganyi and Dr Connie Lusweti.
The situation has not improved from the last elections where over 95 per cent of the 60 MCAs who were elected were men.
This forced political parties to nominate women to the 27 slots that bring the total number of MCAs to 87.
This could be repeated as a majority of female nominated MCAs are not keen on vying in the August 9 polls.