Make no mistake, one vote counts! Get out and vote!

A woman waiting to vote at Toi Primary School in Kibra, Nairobi in 2019 during a by-election in the constituency. It is only at the voting booth that a pauper equals a billionaire, and any woman equals any man. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Falling for the idea that our votes don’t count only means we continue getting the same corrupt, inefficient leaders.
  • Voting is the only non-violent weapon that ensures our families and workers are protected, and our taxes are utilised well.
  • Now, it’s for you, the women of Kenya, to make this happen by waking up early on August 9 and voting for women — only progressive women.

Millions of Kenyans will next Tuesday exercise their right to vote. Three days to the poll and something tells me this is a year for women. We have great strength to ensure our role in society is enhanced by voting.

I am, however, a bit discouraged when I hear people say they will not vote because it changes nothing, urgh! It drives me crazy.

We can’t afford to sit back. We may not like politics, but we should because if we don’t, somebody else will, and they will decide how our whole life looks. It’s up to us.

A dear friend says she isn’t voting. I am not giving up on her – she is my agenda this weekend. It is because of her and many other Kenyans (especially women) that she represents, that I write this editorial. Why must we vote?

You see, it is only at the voting booth that a pauper equals a billionaire, and any woman equals any man. It is at this booth that you make sure your voice and the marginalised voices, are heard.

Falling for the idea that our votes don’t count only means we continue getting the same corrupt, inefficient leaders. That one vote counts.

The glaring gender inequities in representation remain, and making progress towards parity in our country’s highest chambers of power, and in all walks of life, depends on our continued voter turnout and political participation.

Whoever we elect decides policies that affect how much we earn, our healthcare system and how our education sector is run, among other key issues. Voting is the only non-violent weapon that ensures our families and workers are protected, and the money we pay in taxes is utilised well.

We must vote because some elections have been won by a margin of less than 10 votes. So, don’t say it doesn’t matter whether you vote or not. It matters.

We can march and protest, but this hardly changes anything. Only the people we elect to office can change policies.

There are many threats in our country, some long-term and life-changing, including the two-thirds gender rule that has become extremely elusive. Despite remarkable progress in women’s political inclusion over the last 10 years, large gender gaps remain in our politics.

For nearly 12 years now, we have pushed for the enactment of the gender law. Four times, the Bill flopped in Parliament. The civil society has gone to court to push Parliament to pass it; the rulings were favourable but never implemented.

We should vote because it is a way of harnessing our power. Through the vote, we ensure that every single day, the slum women are getting their needs met, getting the resources they deserve, and are not being treated in ways that will impact them and their children’s lives negatively.

Our vote must be deployed to elect our representatives, enact laws, and elicit public will to win the many freedoms we still yearn for.

Now, it’s for you, the women of Kenya, to make this happen by waking up early on August 9 and voting for women — only progressive women. There has to be a new shift, a new paradigm. If we want to ensure that our children and their children, and their children’s children thrive, and live in a habitable country, we must, we must, and we must elect more women. Women remain underrepresented in politics and it is only through the vote that this might change.

Meanwhile, inflation is wreaking havoc in our households.  For women, this exacerbates an already uneven economic recovery post-Covid-19.

To ensure we are not left behind, we need targeted policies that will support women. This will only happen if you vote.

So, when heading to the polling station on Tuesday, call your other women friends. See if they need a ride, see if they need someone to watch their kids while they go to vote, and offer to help.

This is our day, this is our year, and this indeed is our decade. There is no better time.

Peace!

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