Nine women nominated to the Samburu County Assembly

Samburu County Assembly proceedings in progress on June 9, 2022. The house nominated nine women MCAs to achieve gender balance in the patriarchal society

Photo credit: Geoffrey Ondieki | Nation media Group

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Nine women have been nominated to the Samburu County Assembly in a bid to achieve fair gender representation.

Three women were on the ballot in last month’s elections for the 15 ward seats, but none won. The largely patriarchal Samburu community lags behind in female representation in politics.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) gazetted the nominated MCAs to represent marginalised groups, people with disabilities and minority groups.

Among the female nominated MCAs are Rebecca Lolosoli, Charity Lenyakopiro and Asha Mohammed, all nominated by the United Democratic Alliance (UDA). Silapia Lenamantiyo, Esther Lenolkulal, Eunice Lekirenyei and Agnes Wambua were nominated by Jubilee.

In the marginalised category are Stacy Nareyo (Jubilee) and Jane Loregae (UDA), to represent the youth and minority groups, respectively, bringing the total to nine women in the House.

Osman Dube (Jubilee) and Stephen Kagiri (UDA) were also nominated to represent people with disabilities and minorities.

As women politicians in other parts of Kenya wrestled with men for elective seats on August 9, Samburu was left behind. Few women have dared to participate in politics in the patriarchal community since independence.

Samburu culture, where most women are relegated to traditional roles, has constrained the prospects of women in political and administrative leadership. Practices such as female genital mutilation and early marriages limit their access to education, slowing their participation in labour and governance.

Only a few women seek the woman representative position that was created by the Constitution adopted in 2010. Women are yet to come out to vie for other elective posts despite deliberate efforts by government, civil society, political parties and development partners meant to achieve equity.

Samburu MP Naisula Lesuuda, the only elected woman in the pastoral region, said in a past interview that the number of Samburu women in politics is limited by deeply rooted patriarchal attitudes in the community and lack of support from families.

"As a woman, you have to get family backing to stay away from them during the campaign period to persuade [voters]. That is a very important backing that Samburu women do not get," she said previously.

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