Down but not out, Taveta women politicians unite for future polls

Patience Nyange (right) with her running mate Dalton Mwaghogho. She vied for Taita Taveta County Gubernatorial seat in last month's election,  but was not successful.

Photo credit: Photo | Pool

What you need to know:

  • Women candidates from Taita Taveta County, who lost in the August 9 General Election have formed a caucus for the next polls.
  • Out of the women who vied for various positions in the county, only one was elected for the MCA seat.
  • Patience Nyange says they have put their political affiliations aside to pull their efforts together as they plot to wrestle for future elective seats.

Female candidates who lost in the August 9 General Election in Taita Taveta County, have formed a caucus to help prepare for the next polls.

Although more women contested for various seats, only one was elected for the Member of the County Assembly (MCA) seat.

In the last election, three women showed interest in the gubernatorial seat compared to the last two polls where only one woman contested, due to the patriarchal nature of the community.

Jecinta Mwatela who had vied in the 2013 and 2017 did not contest in the just-concluded race but Patience Nyange, Prof Agnes Mwang'ombe and Rachel Mwakazi threw their hats in the ring for the governor position.

Ms Mwakazi dropped her bid midway, after the Jubilee Party handed a direct ticket to former Governor Granton Samboja, locking her out of the race.

Prof Agnes Mwang'ombe vied for the Taita Taveta Governor seat in last month's poll but lost.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

For the Senate seat, only Anna Kina of the People Empowerment Party vied. She competed against nine male counterparts. Jones Mwaruma retained his seat.

For the MP seat, only three women in the four constituencies, in the county, vied. Dr Naomi Shaban fought to retain her Taveta parliamentary seat but was trounced by John Bwire.

In Mwatate, former Deputy Governor Majala Mlaghui vied and came distant fifth, while in Voi Constituency Veronicah Marami contested and lost.

For the ward seat, 26 women tried their luck in the 20 wards in the county, but only one candidate secured victory.

Dorcas Mlughu won the Rong’e Ward seat in a tight race with the incumbent, Harris Keke.

Speaking in Voi, Ms Nyange said the caucus will ensure the debate on women's leadership in political spheres continues as they lay the ground for the 2027 election.

Dr Naomi Shaban fought to retain her Taveta parliamentary seat but was trounced by John Bwire.

Photo credit: File| Nation Media Group

Ms Nyange said they had put their political affiliations aside to pull their efforts together as they plot to wrestle for future elective seats.

"This was a long journey for all of us. We have come out to first share the challenges we went through and how we will work together for us to be a force to reckon with in the county," she said.

She said the group will focus on community sensitisation for residents to support women in future.

"As women, we must stand up for one another so that we support our own. We will achieve this if we come together," she said.

Ms Kina said women's political leadership has lagged because of several challenges including patriarchy, financial barriers and trolling both online and on the campaign trail.

She noted that the women were being urged to target the woman representative seat, an affirmative seat for women.

"I was asked why I did not go for the Woman Representative seat. Some told me that the Senate seat is reserved for men only," she said.


She observed that they will sensitise the community to believe in women's leadership.

Ms Kina said although women represent 52 per cent of the total population in the county, most of them do not believe in female leadership.

"This unity will save us as we move forward. Political parties should also support women who vie for various seats," she said.

Gertrude Shuwe who vied for the woman representative seat said most female candidates started their campaigns late due to a lack of funds.

"This time, more women stood for office but they were unsuccessful. The late entry was a big challenge to most of us, but if you start early it means you must have enough resources for the campaigns," she said.

Ms Shuwe who vied on a Democratic Action Party Kenya (DAP-K) ticket also decried the lack of support from their political outfits.

On her part, Ms Majala said women did not have the resources and networks to run a full campaign across the county. 

She noted that the rise in the cost of living affected their ability to conduct effective campaigns across the expansive county.

"The fluctuating fuel prices affected us. The cost of fuel kept on increasing and bearing in mind our challenge of resources we could not keep up with the high prices, which determined our ability to traverse the county," she said.