Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has called on more women to go for elective political seats in the 2022 General Elections.
Speaking at Kerugoya Stadium Monday during a ceremony to mark the International Women’s Day, Ms Waiguru stressed that women make good leaders and they should not shy away from seeking elective positions.
"I want as many women as possible to vie for the political seats. My hope is that we have 15 female governors come the next elections and 50 per cent women MPs. To achieve this, I urge as many women leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses and business people and men who believe in women to join in putting women in political office," she told the audience.
The event which was attended by over 2,000 women drawn from across the county and was graced by Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko, Senate Deputy Chief Whip Farhiya Haji, Wajir Woman Representative Fatuma Gedi, Commission of Administrative Justice Chairperson Florence Kajuju and members of Daughters of the Mountain, a young women leaders caucus.
Ms Waiguru, who is the chief patron of the Daughters of the Mountain group, promised to stand with other women and mentor upcoming female leaders, saying that it is the only way to have more of them in leadership positions.
“We must hold one another and lead by example so that others may follow” the Kirinyaga governor said.
She noted that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) will offer women opportunities to lead.
"With BBI, more opportunities for leading will emerge. We want more women elected even as senators and MCAs," she added.
She acknowledged the incredible contribution of women to the world, more so recently as “we navigated one of the worst global pandemics in recent times — Covid-19. We yet again witnessed the resilience, courage and unique leadership of women."
The governor also launched the county’s Covid-19 vaccination programme, with two healthcare givers being the first ones to receive the jab. The county has received the first 3,000 doses of the 6,000 that have been set aside for the frontline workers.
The governor noted that women have suffered disproportionately through the pandemic because they are already in a disadvantaged position.
"Women are the majority in vulnerable jobs. They have less money so their small economic returns remain the same. They are the main victims of domestic violence and bear the brunt of unpaid care work back at home which forced many of them to exit the job market to care for children who were home after schools were closed," she added.
Ms Waiguru said she is determined to play her part in achieving an equal future for women.
"In fact, as it stands, I am proud to say that 62 per cent of Kirinyaga County employees are women," she stated.
In order to cushion women from the adverse effects of Covid-19, Ms Waiguru said her administration has put in place several initiatives, among them socio-economic empowerment programmes under the Wezesha Kirinyaga Initiative aimed at increasing income for participating households.
The programme has four value chains namely poultry, avocado, tomato and dairy products.
The poultry project comprises of a first phase of 32 groups made up of 900 households, targeting to produce one million eggs a month, which translates to Sh1,000 daily per household.
The tomato and avocado factories in Mwea are both in final stages of approval.
Through the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (Narig), Kirinyaga County is supporting dairy farmers — majority of whom are women — through the provision of improved Artificial Insemination services which aim to improve cattle breeds for maximum milk production.
"We are also installing yoghurt making equipment for Rung’eto, Rukingu and Kirima dairy cooperative societies with the aim of enabling them add value to their milk for more profits," Ms Waiguru said.
She told women to lead communities in understanding and supporting the BBI in order to get rid of inequality in leadership
She said the two-third gender rule will be entrenched in the Constitution with the passage of BBI for the benefit of women.