Fewer Women Candidates Contest In Kenya

By Daniel Tsuma Nyassy

kenya-vote

The number of women vying for various positions in this year’s General Election in the Coast region has dropped compared with 2013.

In the 2013 elections, 49 women candidates plunged into the men-dominated arena, 30 of them fighting it out among themselves for the woman representative position, while 19 others sought the governor, senator and parliamentary seats.

This number has dramatically dropped by almost half to only 27 candidates, with 15 women aspirants set to contest the governor, senate and MP posts.

Two women, Jacinta Mwatela and Sophy Kibai Wali, both in Taita-Taveta County, tried their hand in the governor race and lost. This year, only Ms Mwatela will contest the governorship on an Amani National Congress (ANC) ticket.

Political observers attribute the decline to the cost of running campaigns and stiff competition among aspirants that has at times led to violence.

Prof Rocha Chimera, a lecturer at Pwani University, gives various reasons prompting women to shy away from politics, but he sees a “major bounce back” in 2022.

“First of all, there is a general reduction of women candidates in the country. But for the Coast, one of the reasons is that our culture is still a lot more patriarchal.

“Among the Mijikenda and largely among the indigenous coastal communities, a woman is still a victim of cultural inhibition, not yet fully viewed as a leader on an equal level with a man.

“When a woman fights for leadership, particularly political, she is smeared with mud and society looks at her differently than a man,” he said.

RUTH LESS MEN, GENTLE WOMEN

He said there is stiff competition in this year’s elections as most incumbents want to retain their seats. “Men are ruthless but women are not,” he said.

“There are numerous unseen reasons prohibiting women from coming out in as large numbers as men to vie for political positions.

“But this trend is slowly waning out and the future will see a completely different scenario,” he said.

From four women Senate candidates in 2013, only three are vying this year. They are Hazel Katana in Mombasa and Joyce Lay and Ana Kina Nyambu, both in Taita-Taveta County.

Source: allafrica.com

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