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Callen Atuya defies chauvinism to knock out 11 men in Kisii Ward seat

Her fight for the Bokeira Ward seat was not just a political contest, but a gruelling challenge against chauvinism and male dominance in local politics.

Callen Atuya, 42, was up against 11 men and one woman as she staged yet another battle to defend the seat she won in the 2013 elections.

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“On many occasions, my opponents would refer to me more as a woman than a candidate equal to the task of leading the people. And that is how even the local community often regards women who are in politics,” said Ms Atuya in an interview.

Ms Atuya, who was contesting on an Orange Democratic Movement party ticket, garnered 2,054 votes with her closest challenger, Francis Mang’are, polling 1,057 out of 8,105 votes cast.

The other woman in the contest, Waceke Makori, emerged third with 1,089 votes.

Atuya now stands as the only woman who featured in competitive seats across Gusii (Nyamira and Kisii) to win an MCA post in the August 8 elections.

She will be sitting as the only elected woman MCA in a House of 19 men who will be forming the Nyamira Assembly.

DRAWING BOARD

The scenario sends the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to the drawing board, meaning seven out of 12 nomination slots must go to women, for gender balance.

The race for MCA slots in the entire region attracted only 46 women across the 65 wards in   Kisii and Nyamira counties.

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Kisii had 29 women fighting it out with 1,120 male candidates from the 45 wards in the county.

Nyamira had 17 women jostling for 20 slots against 326 men.

The two counties of Nyamira and Kisii did not have any candidate for the senatorial and governorship duels.

Hellen Makone had initially set out to vie for the Senate seat.

Ms Makone however dropped out just before the Jubilee Party primaries in a consensus-building process.

After dropping out, she joined hands with Joseph Kiangoi, who lost to Okong’o O’Mogeni.

Nyamira also did not have a single woman seeking a parliamentary seat. 

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