Women seeking seats in next year’s election have vowed they will not be cowed by insults from male opponents.
Speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday at the launch of a list of 5,000 women aspirants during a programme funded by USaid and UKaid, pioneering politician Phoebe Asiyo and Ms Margaret Kamar said women should no longer be discouraged by men.
“I stood against giants and I won. The worst thing men can do is call you a loose woman,” said Ms Asiyo.
She said Parliament failed to pass the one third gender rule and urged women to vote out men to achieve this.
Several women have shown interest in running for governor. Among them are Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua, Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso, Former Devolution CS Anne Waiguru, MP Cecily Mbarire, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga, businesswoman Esther Passaris and former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti.
Several others are eyeing parliamentary, senate and ward representative seats.
Majority Leader Aden Duale said Jubilee is determined to produce the first female governor. “Political parties have not been gender sensitive and we will ensure women get nomination certificates without restrictions,” he said.
Senator Boni Kwalwale said Cord had resolved to give 50 per cent of its nominations to women. “Women should not fear men because they are equally intimidated by their opponents,” he said.
US Ambassador Robert Godec said his country was committed to equal rights for both women and men.
At the same time, religious leaders in Mombasa called for an end to a trend where women are used by politicians to cause chaos at national events.
Speaking during a meeting with County Commissioner Evans Achoki, the clergy said politicians are using women to fight their wars.
“I saw what happened yesterday (Monday). The groups heckled and booed each, totally disrespecting a national event,” Mombasa Catholic Archdiocese head Martin Kivuva said. He was referring to the disruption of Jamhuri Day celebrations on Monday by groups of women allied to Governor Hassan Joho and Nyali MP Hezron Awiti, who is eyeing the governor’s seat.
Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya organising secretary Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa urged the security committee to act.
“Action should be taken against them. The women are being used to raise political temperatures,” he said.
During Mashujaa Day in October, rival women groups affiliated to Mr Joho and Jubilee traded barbs and heckled speakers.