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Not yet uhuru for women in party nominations

Cecily Mbarire

 

Cecily Mbarire

The next Parliament may not achieve the two-thirds gender principle in the wake of skewed numbers against women in the ongoing party primaries.

The list of aspirants for the two main political outfits –Jubilee and the National Super Alliance (NASA) – indicates that there are only 134 female parliamentary aspirants against 1,427 men, representing less than 10 per cent of the total parliamentary aspirants.

While Jubilee has 93 women gunning for National Assembly seats, the combined force of the Orange Democratic Movement, (ODM), Wiper, Amani National Congress (ANC) and Ford Kenya has 41 female aspirants.

Past trends

The gender numbers are heavily tilted against women, keeping alive past trends where they have struggled to marshal enough numbers to overturn the tyranny of men in both primaries and main elections.

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Jubilee has no parliamentary aspirants in 11 counties while ODM does not have a single female aspirant in 22 counties.

Counties where Jubilee has no female aspirant are Garissa, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Mandera, Marsabit and Meru.

Others are Migori, Mombasa, Nyamira, Tana River and Trans Nzoia. ODM has no women aspirant in Kisumu, Turkana, Kwale, Tana River, Lamu, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Kitui and Machakos.

Others are Nyeri, West Pokot, Samburu, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Baringo, Laikipia, Narok, Kajiado, Bungoma, Busia, Kisii and Nyamira.

While Jubilee has five female aspirants for governor, NASA only one woman running for the position.

Those running for governor under Jubilee are Cecily Mbarire (Embu), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Yulita Chebotip (Nandi), Joyce Laboso (Bomet) and Margaret Wanjiru (Nairobi).

The only female aspirant for governor on ODM ticket is Anne Omodho Anyanga (Migori), who will be facing off with three men, among them the incumbent Okoth Obado for the party ticket.

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The list of aspirants was published by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) last week in readiness for political party primaries expected to run until April 26.

The parity principle anticipates that no either gender will comprise more than two-thirds of the entire House.

The 11th Parliament failed in efforts to enact a Bill to actualise the constitutional requirement, even in the face of a Supreme Court warning that the House risks dissolution in breach.

Among the basic requirements for political parties is the promotion of gender equity, which the supreme law recognises as a basic principle of good governance and democratic practice.

“Every political party shall abide by the democratic principles of good governance, promote and practice democracy through regular, fair and free elections within the party,” states Article 91 of the Constitution.

National Gender and Equality Commission chairperson Winfred Lichuma told The Standard her office had commissioned an audit of all political parties on how women are empowered to participate in political leadership.

The agency has also written to ODM seeking data on the number of women that benefited from direct tickets.

“The commission wants the data to determine if there are structures to promote women in leadership,” said Ms Lichuma.

“I do not see political goodwill, even from Jubilee to whip its membership to enable them win nominations. Even for those women that may win the tickets, there is no guarantee that they will be voted in… there are chances that the next Parliament may go below the 16 elected MPs currently in the House,” she said. 

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