As the race for the Mombasa County woman rep’s seat enters the final stretch ahead of the August 8 general election, there is no obvious front runner in the contest which is a crowded affair.
Each of the 10 candidates who are battling it out to fill the shoes of incumbent Mishi Mboko appear to have an almost equal chance to be the next Mombasa woman rep, even as the mainstream parties, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and Jubilee Party flex their muscles as they did in the 2013 elections.
However, a likely scenario could be replicated with either candidate of the two rival parties carrying the day with the majority votes.
But candidates from the two parties are in a gruelling race with rivals from other parties such as Wiper, Maendeleo Chap Chap and those running as independents after losing during the party primaries.
Those in the race include Amina Abdalla of Jubilee Party, Asha Hussein Mohamed (Ashuu) of ODM, Zam Zam Chimba Mohamed of Wiper, Halima Anwar Mohamed of Maendeleo Chap Chap and Zipporah Tabu Obura of Amani National Congress (ANC).
Ford Kenya has fielded Mercy Mbithe Maweu while Serah Mwikali Makau is the Vibrant Democratic Party’s (VDP) candidate.
Ms Afiya Mkuwewa Rama, Lydia Elizabeth Liubalo and Khadija Muhsin are running as independent candidates.
In the last elections, Ms Mboko, an outspoken ODM politicians, was decisively elected but she has now opted to vie for the Likoni parliamentary seat, explaining that she needed to leave the race open to give another women the opportunity to join elective politics.
She seeks to unseat veteran politician Masoud Mwahima, a former Mombasa mayor.
Jubilee’s Ms Amina Abdalla was picked as the party’s flag bearer after trouncing seven opponents during the primaries.
Ms Asha Mohamed (Ashuu) is on the ballot as the ODM’s candidate, having shrugged off stiff opposition from three rivals for the party ticket.
Ms Zam Zam Mohamed who is flying the Wiper Democratic Party flag also decisively won the party’s ticket when she beat aspirants who had been perceived to be front runners.
Maendeleo Chap Chap has fronted 31-year-old Halima Anwar Mohamed as the possible next woman rep while Ms Elizabeth Libya Lubayo, a newcomer in politics, is Kanu’s candidate.
Most of the candidates have opted to undertake door-to-door campaigns in a bid to win the coveted seat in the expansive county.
Jubilee’s Amina boasts of having done a lot for the people more than any of her competitors and has expressed hope of winning the seat.
“I have done more for the people of Mombasa than any of my competitors in terms of social development and so I believe I stand a bigger chance to win the Mombasa woman rep seat,” she says.
She cites some of the achievements as the fight against drug addiction, rehabilitating many people with mental disorders back to normal life and adds that she “did a lot for the youth, women, people with disabilities and the community as a whole”.
But Maendeleo Chap Chap’s Ms Anwar, describes herself as the winning candidate declaring herself the front runner and bases her argument on “political experience” and social development initiatives.
She says she gained valuable experience while serving as Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar’s campaigner in 2013, and that places her in front of the pack.
Mr Omar is vying for governorship in a race pitting him against Jubilee’s Suleiman Shahbal and Vibrant Democratic Party (VDP) candidate Hezron Awiti Bollo as they seek to unseat incumbent Governor Ali Hassan Joho.