Kenyan electorate learns from Rwanda and elects its highest number of women to Parliament

A total of 16,259 aspirants including women competed for the 1,882 positions in the August General Election and emerged as some of the biggest winners.

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During the just concluded general election in which President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner after garnering 8,203,290 (54.27%) votes against his closest political rival NASA Presidential candidate, Raila Odinga's 6,762,224 (44.74%) votes to secure his second and last term in office, women were some of the biggest winners.

Four and a half years after devolution was introduced, three women competed with men in some cases veteran politicians in the hotly contested gubernatorial race and were elected governors.

Former cabinet secretaries Charity Ngilu and Ann Waiguru won in Kitui and Kirinyaga Counties respectively, with former National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso taking Bomet County.

At least 23 women were also elected to the National Assembly, up from the 16 elected in the last elections.

Among the most notable, is Sophia Abdi Noor who was elected Member of Parliament, Ijara constituency in northeastern Kenya, effectively making history by becoming the first woman from an ethnic Somali background to be elected to parliament.

This, added to the 47 women-only seats and half of the 12 nominees by political parties, will bring the total number of women in the National Assembly to 76.

4 women also served as Cabinet secretaries in President Uhuru Kenyatta Cabinet and with his big win, they may just continue serving Kenyans in their capacity.

While this shows democracy is slowly maturing in the country and goes a long way to show that indeed women are catching up with men and even competing on an equal footing, the number is still short by 41 seats to make 117 or one-third of the 349 MPs — 290 elected, 47 woman representatives and 12 nominated members as the constitution stipulates.

Article 81(b) of the Constitution states that, “Not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender.”  however there has been no consensus on some three proposals suggested to help meet the requirement.

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