Kenyans set to elect first woman governor in August polls

An unprecedented high number of women are in the race for what are described as competitive seats of governorship, senate and for MPs.

With this scenario, all indications are that Kenyans will elect a woman governor in next month’s general election.

Nine women will be on the ballot gunning for governorship in different counties in the country, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) list of candidates.

In the race for governorship, it is widely expected that Kirinyaga will produce a woman county boss, given that the race has shaped up to a battle between two formidable former cabinet ministers, Ms Anne Waiguru of Jubilee Party and Ms Martha Karua, the Narc Kenya leader and candidate.

STAKES HIGH

Stakes are so high in the Kirinyaga race that President Uhuru Kenyatta has sought to be neutral in his support of either of the candidates and has asked voters to choose between his Jubilee Party’s candidate Ms Waiguru and Ms Karua.

The President described both women as his friends and asked Kirinyaga residents to pick their choice.

The other two candidates in Kirinyaga include incumbent Joseph Ndathi and Muriithi Kaga, who are running as independents.

JOYCE LABOSO

In Bomet, National Assembly Deputy Speaker and area MP Joyce Laboso is in a tight race for the county’s governorship with incumbent Isaac Ruto, the Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party leader and a principal in the opposition coalition National Super Alliance (Nasa).

Dr Laboso weathered the battle in the Jubilee primaries, defeating former MP Dr Julius Kones after garnering 115,289 votes.

Dr Kones got 72,546 votes while deputy governor Stephen Mtai managed 8,895 votes.

A former Egerton University lecturer and second term MP, Dr Laboso says she is ready for another round of what promises to be an equally tough race with Mr Ruto, a bitter critic of the Jubilee administration, saying she is sure of a win.

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso who is in a tight race for Bomet governorship with incumbent Isaac Ruto. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso who is in a tight race for Bomet governorship with incumbent Isaac Ruto. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

CHARITY NGILU

In Kitui County, another former Cabinet Secretary in President Kenyatta’s administration and veteran politician Ms Charity Ngilu is eying the governorship, and is in a heated race against Senator David Musila and incumbent Governor Julius Malombe.

Ms Ngilu who has also served as the Kitui Central MP and as a minister in the Mwai Kibaki administration seeks to unseat Dr Malombe, on her Narc party ticket.

The race for Kitui governorship is a tight one.

Ms Charity Ngilu is eying the Kitui County governorship. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Ms Charity Ngilu is eying the Kitui County governorship. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

WAVINYA NDETI

The Machakos County governorship race also promises to produce fireworks, as a former assistant minister, also former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti seeks to unseat Dr Alfred Mutua.

Ms Ndeti has had to battle a number of court cases and other hurdles in her bid to unseat Dr Mutua.

Former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti seeks to unseat Dr Alfred Mutua as Machakos governor. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti seeks to unseat Dr Alfred Mutua as Machakos governor. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

JACINTA MWATELA

In Taita Taveta County, former Central Bank deputy governor Jacinta Mwatela is back in the race after narrowly losing to the incumbent Governor John Mruttu.

The assertive Mrs Mwatela is running within the Nasa coalition on an Amani National Congress (ANC) ticket and is in a field of seven men among them Mr Mruttu who is running as an independent candidate, the county’s Senator Dan Mwanzo of Jubilee Party and Wudanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu of ODM.

The others are independents, former PS Emmanuel Kisombe, and Erastus Karani, journalist Granton Samboja of Wiper and Maendeleo Chap Chap’s Constantine Mwadime.

Former Central Bank deputy governor Jacinta Mwatela who is seeking Taita Taveta governorship. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Former Central Bank deputy governor Jacinta Mwatela who is seeking Taita Taveta governorship. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

WINNIE KABURU

In Meru, Ms Winnie Kaburu of Wiper party is the only woman in a heated race pitting Jubilee Party’s Senator Kiraitu Murungi and incumbent Governor Peter Munya, of Party of National Unity (PNU).

During the 2013 general election, Ms Kaburu was the running mate of presidential candidate Prof James ole Kiyiapi of Restore and Build Kenya Party.

Ms Winnie Kaburu who is vying for Meru governorship on Wiper party. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Ms Winnie Kaburu who is vying for Meru governorship on Wiper party. PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

MABEL MURULI

In Kakamega County, Ms Mabel Muruli will be making a second go at the governorship.

She is pitted against two bitter rivals, incumbent Governor Moses Akaranga and Senator Boni Khalwale of Ford Kenya.

Ms Muruli is the Jubilee Party candidate for the seat.

Ms Mabel Muruli who will be making a second attempt at Kakamega governorship. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Ms Mabel Muruli who will be making a second attempt at Kakamega governorship. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

ATIENO OTIENO

In Kisumu County, Ms Atieno Otieno, a women rights campaigner and the local Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson, will be contesting against incumbent Governor Jack Ranguma who is running as an independent, and ODM candidate Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o.

Ms Otieno is the Jubilee party candidate.

Police, soldiers hunt suspected Al-Shabaab terrorists after raid

Kenyans set to elect first woman governor in August polls