Election of more female MPs a show of confidence in women - Lesuuda

Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda says nominations have given women the strength to run for elective posts.

In Summary

•15 female MPs out of retained their seats at the polls.

• In 2017, 23 women were elected as Members of Parliament to the National assembly and in the 2022 election 27 women MPs were elected across the country.

Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda
Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda
Image: FILE

The August 9 general election saw increased number of women being elected into political political office.

Among them are 15 female MPs who retained their seats at the polls.

Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda said affirmative action which had some of them nominated in the previous parliament helped in positioning them to vie for elective seats in the August polls.

"If I was probably not nominated first in my community, where it is perceived so patriarchal, it would have been hard for me to run for a seat and win the first time,” she said during an interview on a local Tv station.

Lesuuda, Beatrice Elachi (Dagorreti North) and Martha Wangari (Gilgil) were nominated senators in the third Senate.

"It is important to note that this time we have 15 re-elected women out of the 23 in the other parliament. We have been struggling to retain the seats meaning that people appreciate the work we have been doing,'' Lesuuda said.

In 2017, 23 women were elected to the National Assembly and the number rose to 27 in the 2022 election.

Further, seven women were elected governors, an increase from the 2017 polls where only three women clinched the seats.

The seven women governors include Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Susan Kihika (Nakuru) Kawira Mwangaza (Meru), Fatuma Achani (Kwale) and Cecily Mbarire (Embu).

Others are Wavinya Ndeti of Machakos and Gladys Wanga of Homabay county.

In the Senate, the number of elected female senators remained constant at three as was the case in 2022.

This followed the election of Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), Agnes Kavindu (Machakos) and Tabitha Karanja (Nakuru).

This is a boost for Kenyan women towards the achievement of gender parity in leadership positions as per the Constitution.

Lesuuda said that being a woman in leadership is important because it demonstrates that women and people living with disabilities can lead.

Wangari said that women have set a pace in achieving the two thirds gender rule.

"A perfect example is Nakuru and Machakos where we have many women holding political seats.  That means there is an aspect of confidence in women leadership. Affirmative seats have given women the strength to be able to bounce and run for elective positions,” she said.

The Samburu West MP said that it is very difficult for a woman to run for a political seat because of the criticism they endure from the community.

"By running for a political seat as a woman, you expose your family, your children and your relationship. I think the standards we have been held to are not easy for women in this country, but we are here as testament that if you run you have a chance of being elected,” she said.

Elachi said that voters now choose leaders on the basis of their track records and not by virtue of where they come from.

"The voter understands that it is not where you are married or where you come from, but they look at if you are developing or if you are able to prove that there is change,” she said.

Elachi previously worked as Nairobi County Assembly speaker.

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