More women are expected to be in the corridors of power if those picked as running mates by various governorship candidates across the country are elected on August 8.
The nine women are mostly newcomers.
The figures represent the same number of outgoing women picked as deputies in the 2013 General Election, which is perceived to be low.
In the present formation, five governors have retained their women deputies and the team is battling it out for re-election.
If the team of Prof Kivutha Kibwana and Ms Adelina Mwau of Makueni, Governor Samuel Tunai and Evalyn Aruasa of Narok, Kwale’s Salim Mvurya and Ms Fatuma Achani, and Taita Taveta’s John Mruttu and Ms Mary Kibuka as well as Kitui’s David Musila and Ms Peninah Malonza win, then the number of women deputy governors, at 14, would be higher than in the last polls.
Ms Malonza has fell out with incumbent Julius Malombe and she is, together with Senator Musila, seeking to unseat him.
They are running as independents.
Governor Malombe chose veteran educationist Agnes Kambua Musee from Mwingi North as his running mate.
In Nyamira County, the Federal Party of Kenyan governorship candidate Senator Kennedy Mongare, has settled on 25-year old Immaculate Onkangi as his running mate.
The Maasai Mara University alumnus, with a soft but powerful voice, says their mission is to end graft and roll back poverty in order to improve the county’s economy.
Senator Mongare says Ms Onkangi has been in the forefront fighting corruption, nepotism and clannism and thus is best placed to save Nyamira.
They have dubbed their drive as ‘Okoa Nyamira’ (save Nyamira).
“Nyamira is the best example of a county stuck in the wrong side of development.
“Everything has been going wrong under Governor John Nyagarama.
“We purposely joined this race to make corrections and save it from the cartels driving it under,” she told the Nation.
In Mombasa, Wiper party governorship candidate Hassan Omar has been in the campaign trail with Ms Linda Shuma, a newcomer but with vast experience in hotel management.
Ms Shuma says: I leapt into politics after a long period of soul searching and that change is made when you are from within.
“It is not enough to lament about bad leadership; jump into the race, win and go on to create the difference you had been agitating for.
On the nature of politics, she says: “There is need to be accountable in everything and I don’t believe that politics is a dirty game.
“We are all in the game in one way or another and it’s upon each one of us to participate in cleaning up the mess,” the 39 year-old hotelier told the Nation in an interview.
LINDA SHUMA: Bring on the dirty politics, I’ll clean it
Senator Omar says their mission is to give Mombasa a facelift by improving the lives of the residents.
In the North Rift, Egerton University don Yulita Mitei has joined Nandi Senator Stephen Sang in his bid to take over the county’s leadership on August 8.
The choice of Dr Mitei as Senator Sang’s deputy is widely seen as a move to ensure regional and gender balance.
So far, indications are that Dr Mitei is headed for victory given that the race has shaped up to a contest between the 32-year-old senator and Mr Alfred Serem, an independent candidate.
The senator is in Jubilee Party, which has a huge following in the region.
READ: Active role in Senate earns Sang key victory in Nandi
The former Chemistry don has been campaigning on the platform of championing the interests and rights of marginalized groups.
“I will ensure this segment is given the attention it deserves, and I am happy this is captured well in our manifesto,” she said.
The former University of Eldoret lecturer had initially indicated interest in running for the governorship seat but later opted to back the legislator.
The soft-speaking mother of four strongly believes in achieving her goals, irrespective of challenges that stand on the way of women who join ‘politics’.
In Kitui, Ms Malonza says she intends to work harder alongside Mr Musila should they manage to unseat Mr Malombe.
“I’ll work hard as his loyal deputy to take the county a notch higher,” she told the Nation, and described herself as the cornerstone that Governor Malombe had written off.
Her choice is seen as a step in regional balancing and may consolidate votes in their favour.
Ms Malonza says their campaign is built around “the real” issues affecting every family in the region.
She speaks of tackling unemployment and abating graft.
Already they have unveiled a strategy cleverly designed to endear them to parents and jobless youth to get more votes.
Ms Malonza, a former senior executive with Compassion International, a humanitarian aid organisation, had been frequently at loggerheads with her boss; and being nominated by Senator Musila did not come as a surprise to many in the region.
Governor Malombe has since picked former primary school teacher and trade unionist Agnes Kambua Musee from Mwingi North as his running mate.
In Nyeri, Ms Njeri Muhara, 50, has been on a mission to market herself and Mr Patrick Munene Kairu (Democratic Party) as the alternative voice to the County’s leadership.
She speaks with passion and energy, particularly when she begins to talk about agriculture and food security.
Their focus will be to tackle the challenges confronting the county.
“My choice of Ms Muhara was also driven by the fact that I wanted a leader whom I shall work with in implementing sound public policies that would ensure the voices of the youth, women, people with disabilities and disadvantaged groups in society are heard,” Mr Kairu said.
“It took me three months searching for a credible running mate and I thought it was time women had become part of the transformation we need in society,” Mr Kairu, who in 2013 was the running-mate of his now Jubilee Party rival Wahome Gakuru, says.
They were defeated by the late Governor Nderitu Gachagua.
The pair blamed the current leadership for runaway corruption and ‘under-development’.
They are awaiting the verdict of the 460,000 registered voters.
In Nyandarua, Jubilee Party’s governorship candidate Francis Kimemia culled Ms Cecilia Mbuthia to be his deputy.
Ms Mbuthia, a Kenyatta University graduate, is also a newcomer in politics but she does not let that deter her from pursuing interests she says will help rebuild the county.
Part of her assignment is cut clear: to deliver the more than 109,000 votes in her Kinangop home turf to her boss’s basket.
In her campaigns, she has been in the frontline agitating for peace.
“Let’s maintain peace, we must make peace our priority. Peace is important, not only for politicians but also for voters,” she says.
At a recent peace forum at Catholic Hall in Ol Kalou town, she pleaded with politicians to peg their campaigns on key issues, not insults, provocative language or incitement that can divide the residents.
“It is important for us to ensure peaceful elections without having one of our people injured,” Ms Mbuthia, who recently resigned from the United Nations to join politics, pleaded.
Born in 1968, the deputy governor candidate has also been enjoying the support of her husband Evanson Mbuthia who has been featuring in most of her campaigns.
She promises to use her international connections to bring development and investors to Nyandarua.
In Embu, an electrical engineer is the only female running mate in the crowded gubernatorial race.
Ms Edith Roselyn Njeru, who is also a close friend of current Deputy Governor Dorothy Nditi, is hoping that former Transport Principal Secretary Cyrus Njiru will win in the poll.
They are lined up against five opponents.
Ms Njeru, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nairobi, has also studied broadband and digital technology at the United States Telecommunication Training Institute.
She contested the Woman Rep position in 2013 on a Ford Asili party ticket but emerged third.
Ms Njeru worked for Kenya Broadcasting Corporation for 10 years and has been a consultant for the Judiciary and the National Assembly.
Speaking to the Nation while on campaign trail in Mwea, Mbeere South Constituency, Ms Njeru said she is confident of winning, saying she would utilize her skills in ensuring ICT is adopted fully in Embu.
“ICT is the current key driver of economy and I hope to let the Embu people benefit from it.
“We have gained a lot of ground and hope to emerge winners on August 8,” she said on phone.
Ms Njeru ranks infrastructure, agriculture and tourism as some of the key components that would help generate wealth for the county.
In Kirinyaga, youthful female entrepreneur Dorothy Wanja has joined the arena with gusto as she joins economist Muriithi Kagai as his running mate.
The Valine Insurance Company proprietor hails from Gichugu constituency.
Also in the gubernatorial chase are Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua and former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru.
Ms Njeru exudes confidence that they will win and inject a fresh capital of dynamism that will transform the county into an economic hub.
“Our County has lagged behind in development because of poor leadership.
“Mr Kagai and I will create a difference in this region,” she said.
In Nairobi, Ms Karen Wajiku Wangenye, a 29-year old businesswoman who had been picked by Nairobi governorship candidate Miguna Miguna, says she has pulled out of the race citing Miguna’s lack of team spirit as the problem.
However, having been cleared by the electoral commission, Ms Wangenye’s name remains on the ballot.
Reports by Magati Obebo, Gitonga Marete, Barnabas Bii ,Stanley Kimuge, Kitavi Mutua and Joseph Wangui Waikwa Maina, Charles Wanyoro and George Munene
At 14, the women on the ballot in the August 8 polls as governors’ preferred deputies are more than in the 2013 polls.