photo: Joyce Laboso, running for governor of Bomet County, says she has faced bullying from men on the campaign trail. Photo Courtesy of Joyce Laboso
NAIROBI, KENYA – Kenyans are set to make history by electing their first woman governor in the country’s national election on August 8. There are 47 counties up for grabs across Kenya, and nine women are putting their hands up to serve.
During the last election in 2013, six women ran for governor. They all stood either as independents or for fringe parties. This year, women represent the ruling Jubilee Party as well as a number of mainstream opposition parties.
At the presidential level, current president, Uhuru Kenyatta, who represents the Jubilee Party, is seeking reelection for a second term. The main opposition is the National Super Alliance (NASA), a coalition of five parties led by Raila Odinga. Most opinion polls show President Kenyatta slightly ahead of Odinga.
Women made up 19 percent of the last parliament’s members. This figure was in contravention of an affirmative action law laid out in the 2010 constitution, which stated that women should make up at least one-third of all elected bodies.
Women Go Head to Head in Kirinyaga
In central Kenya’s Kirinyaga county, about 75 miles north of Nairobi, the governor’s race has narrowed to a contest between two women candidates: Anne Waiguru and Martha Karua. This makes breaking the country’s gubernatorial glass ceiling this year almost inevitable.