What you need to know:
- 2022 election is a year away and in this hodgepodge though, Kenyans can easily count the men positioning themselves to become Kenya’s next President.
- Discussions on a female presidential candidate are nevertheless silent.
- Competing for the presidency requires immense resources and experience, demands that elude women.
Eleven months, 21 days! That's the exact time remaining from today to the 2022 General Election, at least according to the Constitution.
Pending ruling on the Constitutional of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and recent African Court advisory warranting African countries to postpone elections over Covid-19, however, draws a cloud of uncertainty over the election date.
In this hodgepodge though, Kenyans can easily count individuals positioning themselves to become Kenya’s next President. They include Deputy President Dr William Ruto, ODM Party leader Raila Odinga, Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Machakos, Governor Dr Alfred Mutua and Dr Mukhisa Kituyi among others are the men on Kenyans’ lips.
Discussions on a female presidential candidate are nevertheless silent.
Until now, it is unclear who seeks to challenge the male battalion. This is unlike the1997 and 2012 general elections, when Kenyans were certain Charity Ngilu and Martha Karua could be on the ballot, a year earlier.
To the gender equality advocates, this isn’t surprising as the big seat comes with a tag of billions of resources for campaigning and wealth of experience, demands that elude women who for decades, have been politically and economically marginalised.
“It is not surprising that we haven’t heard women (positioning themselves for presidency),” says Ministry of Public Service and Gender Cabinet Secretary Prof Margaret Kobia.
“But remember competing for the presidency isn’t a walk in the park. One has to be ready for it. It requires immense resources and experience,” she adds.
The last three years has seen the Gender ministry and civil society capitalise on diverse models to prepare women for elective seats.
These include establishing Common Women Agenda (COWA) to push for gender inclusivity in political parties’ leadership, a pathway for increased support for female candidates. And training aspirants on successful campaigning using a women-tailored manual developed by Echo Network Africa (ENA).
ENA, a member of COWA has also established Democracy Trust Fund, a financing tool for women seeking elective seats
COWA - an umbrella body of feminists and associate organisations from civil society, academia, public and private sector, has been crucial in preparing the ground for female aspirants, says Prof Kobia.
While none is coming out for the big seat, at least 17 women have declared their interest in succeeding the current governors, including Women Representatives Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), Sabina Chege (Murang’a), Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, Kabiaga University lecturer Dr Loice Kipkorir (Elgeyo Marakwet) and communication specialist Patience Nyange (Taita Taveta).
Centre for Rights Education and Awareness program development manager Angelina Cikanda, says the lobbying continues with political parties to ensure women are included in elective seats regardless of the Court of Appeal ruling on the constitutional amendments, to be delivered on August 20.
“Whatever structure of elections, women (have) to be part of the candidates,” she says but agrees that “robust campaigns haven’t been happening around the same.”
She says the apparent parties’ reorganisation, pending Court of Appeal judgement and African Court advisory makes it all confusing for the women to decide their political paths.
“It is still unclear how the elections will look like. (When COWA asked one candidate they wish to run for presidency, she said) ‘Let’s see how the field looks like and make a decision,’” she says.