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THE JUST CONCLUDED KENYAN ELECTIONS-A RETROSPECT INTO WOMEN STATUS IN POLITICS

The 2013 Kenyan elections saw the highest number of women interested in politics and readily availed themselves to work with communities in mobilization for party nominations till election for various positions. women vied for presidency, governors positions, senatorial positions, women representation in senate and county representatives. kenya saw women head political parties for instance Charity Ngilu and Martha Karua. many women were eliminated in party primaries and for the few who remained, men in politic played it tough, and this disadvantaged the women.However,
some women pulled through ugly politics and got positions as we shall see below. one achievement brought about by the current constitutions in getting 47 women to represent the f women in the senate.election violence was witnessed by women in various ways.it was reported in the Daily nation on the 10th that two women who voted for candidates not favored by their husbands in kisii were battered. this is against the constitutional rights of each kenyan.

As observed by BD live on 10th March 2013, KENYAN women failed to win more elective positions in the just concluded general elections, with no woman candidate winning governor and senator positions, meaning none of Kenya’s 47 local governments will be led by a woman.

It also means there will be no woman in senior elected position in Kenya, despite the new constitution providing a fairer playing ground for women candidates. Only seven women won the parliamentary seats in 290 positions that were on offer, compared to 22 in the previous parliament.

Women, however, will take solace in the constitutionally backed affirmative action that created a position of women representatives in every county. They will also benefit from the same constitutional provision that requires at least one-third of people appointed in certain positions to be women.

This means, for instance, that women will get eight out of the constitutionally set maximum of 24 cabinet positions. They will also benefit from the provision to nominate sixteen women members to the senate.

"The expectations were that women will win more seats. The campaign environment was fairer and we did not see violence against women candidates, yet women barley made a mark. We need to go back to the drawing board," said Dr Alice Mureithi, the Chairperson of Society for Gender Empowerment, a non-profit, women focused group.

Kenya’s only woman presidential candidate Martha Karua — a former Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs — was number six out of the eight candidates. She managed 43,881 compared to the winning candidate Uhuru Kenyatta, who won with 6.1-million votes.

Apart from the presidential candidates, it is a woman parliamentary candidate for Othaya constituency in central Kenya who attracted highest interest in the concluded elections.

Mary Wambui, was the MP-elect for Othaya constituency in central Kenya, which has been represented in parliament by the retiring president Mwai Kibaki for 39 years.

The culturally conscious pastoralist Maasai community also elected the first-ever woman Member of Parliament — gender activist Peris Tobiko.

The conclusion of elections allows Kenya to implement the new system of government, dominated by devolution into 47 counties with elected governors. The new system has also reintroduced the senate, which will have 47 elected representatives. Parliament will have 290 members from the previous 210 and an additional 47 women representatives. The more than 1,000 county representatives will form the assembly at the county government level.

The promise we await to see fulfilled is inclusion of women in various position by the government of our president-His excellency Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, Jubilee and the coalition government.

Comments

lydiagcallano's picture

Keep trying

Getting a seat in the Kenyan elected positions is truly a challenge for Kenyan women. It is a hard but nothing is impossible with God.

Take the case of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar (Burma). This iron-willed lady ran for presidency under the National League for Democracy Party against the dictator Gen. U Ne Win while she was on house arrest! Wonder of wonders, her party won by garnering 59% of the national votes but the military junta would not accept defeat.

Even though Suu Kyi was not allowed to assume office, she as able to lead despite her 21 year custody, and incarceration, torture and murder of her supporters. She had to go on hunger strike in order to get her jailed supporters freed. It was only in 2010 when Suu Kyi was finally released. In 2012, she again ran and won as expected. In May 2012 she took oath and assumed office.

I have seen the movie about this awesome woman of steel entitled "The Lady". I learned a lot for it and got inspired to press on no matter how narrow, dark and thorny the path is. The Kenyans can also learn from Myanmar's case. They will realize that there is power in peace; there is strength in love; and there is reward for perseverance.

Ma. Lydia G. Callano
Iloilo, Philippines
+63 33 3158137 or 5138830

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