Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association (KEWOPA) members from left Prof Margaret Kamar, Sophia Abdi and Margaret Wanjiru share a light moment during the associations members meeting with Women cabinet secretaries and Principal secretaries in Nairobi on Tuesday. [PHOTO: ANDREW KILONZI]
After the 2007 elections, only two women from North Rift were appointed to the Cabinet. A third was appointed as an assistant minister.
In total, the large Rift Valley region had 15 elected women MPs following stiff competition from the men.
Former Aldai MP Sally Kosgei was appointed minister for Agriculture as Margaret Kamar of Eldoret East constituency landed the Higher Education docket. Former Marakwet East MP Linah Kilimo was appointed assistant minister for Co-operative Development.
Others were Mogotio MP Hellen Sambili in the East African Community ministry and Joyce Laboso of Sotik constituency who became the temporary Speaker of the National Assembly before she was elected deputy speaker in 2013. Beatrice Kones became Home Affairs assistant minister.
But the 2010 Constitution changed the landscape when it introduced the position of woman representative, which many women went for in 2013. And while they were doing that, men were chasing after the other elective seats, some of which they (women) had left.
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And because a county can have only one woman representative and a total of 47 in the whole country, many women lost out.
But as we head for the next elections, women in Rift Valley are out to wrest elective seats from male aspirants.
Apart from the post of woman representative, all other positions except the presidency have women aspirants. Of the seven counties in the region, two have women in the race for governor.
Yulita Mitei is hoping to supplant Governor Cleophas Lagat in Nandi on a Jubilee Party ticket while nominated MCA Margaret Loduk has her eyes on ODM’s Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok. Ms Mitei expressed optimism she would land the Jubilee ticket in this month’s nominations.
Meanwhile, Stella Ruto, Mary Mengech and Sarah Saina are in the race for the Nandi Senate seat.
“We have what it takes and I am capable of delivering quality services in positions besides woman representative,” said Ms Ruto yesterday.
In Uasin Gishu, Prof Kamar, who lost to Governor Jackson Mandago in 2013, is eyeing the Senate seat as Ms Kilimo hopes to recapture Marakwet East constituency.
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Several other women are also seeking to end male domination in the region. In Turkana, for example, all 30 elected MCAs are men. Women have however been given 16 of the 17 nominated slots.
In Elgeyo Marakwet, out of 20 elected MCAs, 18 are men. The county assembly has eight nominated female MCAs.