Kisii: The only two female governor hopefuls cite frustrations

Kisii Woman Rep Janet Ongera has shelved her gubernatorial bid and will now defend her current position. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Janet Ongera has quit the governor race, joins 13 other women in the race for Kisii Woman Representative seat in the August 9,
  • Rachel Otundo says the party she chose to run on has no respect for women and supports the patriarchal nature of the Gusii community.

The only two female gubernatorial aspirants from Kisii have cited hurdles and frustrations in their efforts to ascend to the county’s top seat.

Janet Ongera has since shelved her gubernatorial bid and will now defend her current position.

Rachel Otundo exited from United Democratic Alliance (UDA) after a series of frustrations, noting that the highly patriarchal community has a long way to go in defending women leaders.

Ms Ong'era made the announcement last week during an Azimio La Umoja Movement meeting for Women in South Mugirango, Kisii County.

"I wanted to run for governor and you were in support, but I found the race crowded with almost 10 men. We were two women interested in the seat," said the Woman Rep.

Ms Ong'era explained that only one person can occupy the seat and hence, her decision to drop her bid.  

"I found the men were not ready to agree and I decided to shelve my ambition for governorship and will now defend my seat of Woman Representative," she declared.

13 women

Ms Ong’era joins 13 other women in the race for Kisii Woman Representative seat in the August 9, general election.

The aspirants include Dorice Nyaboke, Esther Nyamwamu, Everline Ogendo, Doreen Bwari, Julie Nyanchama, Getrude Mogoi, Fontina Ngare, Brigit Ombati, Gladys Aunga, Maureen Obino, Risper Ndege, Rebecca Akemo and Lucy Machuki.

 Ms Ong'era urged Kisii residents to vote for the ODM Party leader Raila Odinga to take over from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

"Raila will increase the affirmative action allocation so that it benefits more women. Poor households will get Sh6,000 if Raila wins," she said.

She thanked South Mugirango residents for supporting her.

"I want to give more tanks to schools. I took five youths from this area to the National Industrial Training Authority (Nita) and I will take more. These are the people who will become electricians, plumbers and help us," she told the South Mugirango residents.

Rachel Otundo exited from UDA after a series of frustrations, noting that the highly patriarchal community has a long way to go in defending women leaders.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

She told women to move on with improving the lives of their families.

"The affirmative action seat is meant to empower women, (youth and people living with disabilities). I will ensure more of you who do business get umbrellas. We will get funds to build a big market and ensure you do your business from under shelter to protect you from diseases and harsh weather,”” said the Woman rep.

Before becoming the Kisii Woman Rep, Ms Ong’era served as a nominated senator.

Ms Otundo too, expressed frustrations, noting that the highly patriarchal Gusii community is not supportive to women leaders.

She said that she is very disappointed with UDA.

“The party, which we have helped to build has betrayed us. It has no respect for women and has supported the patriarchal nature of our Gusii community. I have abandoned it and I am now forging my way forward in a different political outfit,” said Ms Otundo.

She explained that elected male leaders are to blame noting that they frustrate women more than their colleagues who are not in elective seats. 

The Kisii governorship race has attracted nine aspirants so far.

Since the position was created through the 2010 Constitution, no woman from Gusii has ever vied for it.

In the past, women from Gusii shunned elective seats, save for the woman representative position.

Gusii region, which comprises Kisii and Nyamira counties, are deeply patriarchal and apart from nominations and seats reserved for female candidates, women have only managed to clinch a few county assembly seats.

There are only two elected female MCAs in the entire Gusii region. Callen Atuya of Bokeira Ward in Nyamira County, who beat 11 men in the 2017 election and Rosa Kemunto Orondo of Majoge Basi Ward in Kisii County.

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