What you need to know:
- Those in the race include a marriage therapist-cum-counsellor, an evangelist, a psychologist, a gospel musician and a young nominated MCA.
- They are Ann Wamuratha of UDA, philanthropist Gladys Chania (Jubilee), Evangelist Mercy Nungari (Tijibebe Wakenya Party), MCA Njeri Bakari (Chama Cha Kazi), and musician Loise Kim (independent).
The race for Kiambu woman representative in the August 9 polls has narrowed down to five contestants, who are now traversing the county to win support.
Those remaining in the fray are marriage therapist-cum-counsellor Ann Wamuratha of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), philanthropist and psychologist Gladys Chania (Jubilee), evangelist Mercy Nungari (Tujibebe Wakenya Party), nominated MCA Njeri Bakari (Chama Cha Kazi), and gospel musician Loise Kim (independent).
Ms Wamuratha emerged victorious during the UDA primaries held last month. She has built her name as a marriage therapist and counsellor, advising couples and parents on the best marriage and parenting practices.
Ms Wamuratha has a huge following in social media, which she is banking on, as well as her popularity, to win come August 9.
Speaking after winning the UDA ticket, she said she was grateful to residents for nominating her.
“I am totally overwhelmed by your love for me. May God always bless the people of Kiambu as we run towards August and serve our people,” she said.
If elected, she is promising to emphasise mental health wellness to deal with the increasing cases of gender-based violence and family murders.
“If truth be said, as we fix this country, we need to know the stresses of life, as well as lack of jobs and enough food, are sickening and people need to know where to turn to when they feel depressed, instead of killing or committing suicide. We need to fix this in Kiambu to avoid unnecessary deaths. Our health institutions need enough funding and staff for mental health,” she posted on her Facebook page.
Ms Kim has announced that she will be on the ballot as an independent, claiming that she was rigged out in favour of Ms Wamuratha.
Last week, Ms Kim said she had healed and was ready to battle it out with other contestants come August 9.
“Those of us who were misused have united and all of us will be on the ballot on August 9. I have listened to you and let’s meet at the ballot. We are ready to serve Kiambu residents as we have done before. I am, for instance, content to run independently and I am sure Kiambu voters will make the final decision,” Kim stated.
Ms Bakari, a nominated MCA, has also intensified her campaigns across the county wooing voters. She has been attending church events, other social gatherings and going to public places like markets to sell her agenda.
In an interview with Nation.Africa, Ms Bakari says her main priority if elected will be to restore maternal health. “I will ensure that there is a maternity wing in every sub-county so that we can spare expectant mothers the agony of having to go to Kiambu, Thika and Gatundu Level 5 hospitals to deliver. We cannot afford to continue losing our mothers and newborns,” she says.
She has been a key supporter of women empowerment and has been championing Pad a Princess, a programme giving sanitary towels to girls in informal settlements. Ms Bakari says for the six years she has been undertaking the programme, more than 2,000 girls have benefitted.
Being a young person, she has also been campaigning on a platform of youth empowerment and says jobs creation is top of her agenda.
“Through partnership, we will bring cottage industries to offer jobs to our unemployed youth,” she says.
She has appealing to the youth and women to give her a chance, terming herself “one of your own”.
“I will relentlessly push until the youth are heard. This is a journey I've pledged to walk until the day we speak and they listen,” she adds.
Ms Chania is banking on her philanthropy work, which she has been undertaking in the entire county, through Chania Sauti Mashinani initiative, to bolster her popularity. Through the initiative, she has been spearheading youth empowerment, talent and internship programmes.
Chania is promising to spearhead women empowerment by fighting rampant gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy, lobbying for universal health coverage and fighting alcohol and substance abuse.
She is also keen to narrow the gender gap in education, training and employment; ensure equal distribution of affirmative action funds; and help farmers to add value to bananas, macadamia, arrowroots, milk and other farm produce.
“All I am telling the people of Kiambu is to grab this opportunity and vote for me if they want transformative leadership. Our county is a great land and we need leaders who can handle it with care, respect and humility. My passion has been consistent, just to serve,” Ms Chania said.
She vied for the same position in 2017 but lost in the Jubilee Party primaries to Gathoni Wamuchomba, who has opted to run for Githunguri MP on a UDA ticket.
Ms Nungari is a close ally of Ms Wamuchomba. She also works in the media industry and has been a producer in one of the vernacular radio stations. She is confident of emerging victorious come August 9 and has been traversing the vast county selling her manifesto.
Being an evangelist, she sometimes turns biblical to market her candidature.
“When David was facing Goliath, he had only five stones (Psalm 17:40). He had hope, faith in God, confidence, prayer and obedience. I don't have silver and gold but I have the five stones with me. It is no retreat no surrender and I am going for Kiambu woman rep 2022 with my five stones,” she wrote on her Facebook page.