Present at the event were women leaders in the judiciary, media, corporate and non-governmental organizations. It was noted that each of the guests represented triumph over obstacles and a reason to believe for the aspirants present that there is light at the end of their journey.

Speaking at the event, Atsango Chesoni from KHRC pointed out that the Women in Leadership initiative is designed to ensure more women are elected into public office come the 2013 general elections. She added that the female aspirants are still disadvantaged as compared to their male counterparts locally and their female counterparts regionally. She noted that Rwanda for example has a female majority in parliament while Kenya had less that 10% representation in the 10th Parliament.

Atsango’s sentiments were echoed by Lindey Wafula an aspirant for the Makadara National Assembly seat who decried the little funding allocated to women candidates by the political parties. Ms. Wafula who previously contested for the same seat during the 2010 by elections said despite splitting of the constituency, she still has to pull in vital resources for the over 120,000 voters registered in her constituency.

The media as an election stakeholder also came into the spotlight as it was noted there is a huge disparity in the coverage of male and female candidates. Media coverage statistics it was noted are heavily inclined towards personality rather than issue-based politics and this has locked out most of the unknown female aspirants from the spotlight, denying them a platform that balances out the skewed playing field.

Other speakers at the event amplified sentiments raised above and called for the aspirants not to give up on their quest to have the female presence in public office. Njeri Kabeberi of the Centre for Multi- Party Democracy spoke on the gains in the women movement, lauding recognition that women rights are now considered as human rights. Grace Maingi from URAIA delved into the journey that has been women in leadership the long road. Winnie Lichuma from the National Gender and Equality Commision asked the aspirants to aspire for a legacy by having their politics driven by a vision of tomorrow. She noted that indeed people go into politics for various reasons and its only with a desire to serve the public that will the aspirants succeed as public servants.

Indeed for all the aspirants, having their names on the ballot paper represents a major milestone for women on the road to leadership. By bringing women leaders together, KHRC hopes that the gains made in women’s movement will be amplified and that women in leaders will form the cornerstone for the vision of Kenya’s future.

About the candidates:

  • There are 1026 women candidates who will be on the ballot
  • Presidential Candidate                       1
  • Governor                                             15
  • Senator                                                17
  • Women Representative                      340
  • National Assembly                              153
  • County Representative                       500
  • Kisumu leads with 3 followed by Uasin Gishu and Taita Taveta each with 2 gubernatorial candidates each. Only other 8 counties will have a woman gubernatorial candidate.
  • 17 Women candidates will vie for Senatorial seats with Nairobi, Nyandarua and Busia each fielding 2 female candidates.
  • Kisumu with 12 and Kiambu with 10 lead in number of candidates nominated for National Assembly seats with 12 and 10 respectively. Narok, Kericho, Mandera, Wajir, Marsabit and Tana River have no women aspirants for the National Assembly seats.
  • Nakuru with 59 candidates leads the country in County Representative aspirants followed closely by Homa Bay 34, , Nairobi 27, Kilifi 24 and Nandi 22. On the flip side, Lamu, Marsabit, Mandera, Bomet, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kericho, Narok, Bungoma and Busia have no women candidates for this position.
  • Counties with most candidates are Nakuru with 80, Nairobi 46, Homa Bay 45, Kisii 39, Machakos 37, Kilifi 34 and Muranga 33.
  • Counties with the least candidates are Kericho and Narok with 5 each and Mandera and Bomet with 6 each.