What you need to know:
- Among the women in the race to replace Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, are Jenet Winnie Biwott, Mama Winnie Kanda, Florence Jepkosgei and Viola Jepkoech Murkomen.
- President William Ruto nominate Mr Murkomen to head the Ministry of Transport, Roads and Public Works.
- Male chauvinism and profiling remains a political challenge in the region.
Gender inequality continues to dominate Rift Valley politics as male aspirants seeking to replace Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen outstrip females in the impending by-election.
President William Ruto nominate Mr Murkomen to head the Ministry of Transport, Roads and Public Works.
Less than 10 women have expressed interest in the seat that has attracted more than 30 contestants, in a race that has reignited a fresh battle between the dominant Keiyo and the Marakwet sub-tribes.
Among the women are Jenet Winnie Biwott, Mama Winnie Kanda, Florence Jepkosgei and Viola Jepkoech Murkomen.
Women in the region must overcome the hurdle of male chauvinism in the pastoral and conservative communities to be elected to Parliament.
“Male chauvinism and profiling remains our political shortcoming. We are, however, living in a world where injustice is no longer entertained,” explained Prof Phyllis Bartoo, who was elected Moiben MP under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in her first stab at elective politics.
She got 40,892 votes against then incumbent Silas Tiren, who was seeking a third term. Mr Tiren scored 8,790 votes. The constituency has 77,877 registered voters.
Mr Murkomen, who was elected for a second term in the last election, is expected to resign ahead of his vetting by the National Assembly for the Cabinet Secretary position.
Others eyeing the seat include former Marakwet West MP William Kisang' and former county assembly Speaker Albert Kochei.
“My two terms in Parliament have empowered me to understand the issues that affect our people in terms of development and management of public resources,” Mr Kisang said.
He pledged to strengthen oversight and push for timely release of funds from the National Treasury to counties if he is elected.
“What the public wants is proper management of resources to improve their lives. I’ve demonstrated competence during my tenure as MP and I’m equal to the task as senator,” Mr Kisang added.
Most female candidates in the North Rift lost in the last elections, in male-dominated races, where UDA swept a majority of seats.
The seven counties in the region with 37 constituencies produced only three female MPs, with no woman governor or senator, dealing a major blow to gender equity.
Uasin Gishu produced two female MP, Nandi produced one, while the rest of the parliamentary seats were won by men.
Turbo MP Janet Sitienei (UDA), who defied the Jubilee wave in 2017 to be elected as an independent, retained the seat in Dr Ruto’s home constituency.
She garnered 50,633 votes against her closest competitor Samuel Mugo’s 25,950, in the populous constituency that is one of the six in the county.
Maryanne Keitany (UDA), a former chief of staff in the Deputy President’s office, won the Aldai parliamentary seat in Nandi County, garnering 42,015 votes against the incumbent lawmaker Cornelly Serem’s 13,309.
Mr Serem, who was seeking a third term, contested as an independent candidate after losing in UDA primaries.
Ms Keitany is the second female legislator to represent the constituency after Dr Sally Kosgey, the former head of Public Service, who was elected under ODM ticket in 2007.