COUNTY POLITICS: Women ready to take on men aspirants in Laikipia County

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In Laikipia West, Ms Wahome will be battling it out with 10 male candidates.

A group of female aspirants in Laikipia County are out to defeat the stereotype that elective seats are a preserve of male politicians.

Two female aspirants have already thrown their hats in the ring, ready to battle it out with a host of their male counterparts, with the prize being influential elective seats in the National Assembly.

One of the aspirants is nominated MP Sara Paulata Lekorere.

She has set her sights on the Laikipia North parliamentary seat, currently held by her fierce political rival Mr Mathew Lemprukel.

In Laikipia West, Ms Virginia Nyaguthii Wahome has also declared her intention to oust Dr Wachira Karani. 


Since independence, the political arena in Laikipia West constituency has always been dominated by men.

Between 1966 and 1979, the constituency was represented in parliament by Mr Godfrey Kariuki, Joseph Githae Mathenge (1983-1988) and Ndumia Murukia (1988-1992).

Others are the late Dixon Kihika Kimani (1992-1997), Mr Chege Mbitiru (1997-2002), Mr Godfrey Kariuki (2002-2007), Mr Nderitu Murithi (2007-2013) and the incumbent Dr Karani (2013-to date).

Laikipia North Constituency, on the other hand, is one of the 80 new constituencies created by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in 2012 after Laikipia East was split into two.

Mr Lemprukel, elected on an ODM ticket, is its first MP.

ELDERS GIVE GREEN LIGHT
Both Mr Lemprukel and Ms Lekorere have of late been engaging in supremacy battles ahead of the August 8 elections.

According to Ms Lekorere, a close ally of Deputy President William Ruto, her decision to vie for the political seat was to prove that women can be good leaders.

“I have always been fought by male politicians from my community because they believe that a woman cannot hold any political seat,” she says.

“By winning this seat I will prove to them that we can be good leaders after all,” adds Ms Lekorere, who was recently cleared by elders from her community to vie for the seat.

The aspirant expressed confidence of winning the seat, especially after she was endorsed by elders.

“This time round the electorate will not be cheated with cheap talk by male aspirants that women are not supposed to hold any political office,” she says.

Apart from the two, other aspirants interested in the Laikipia North seat include Dr James Lowassa, Mr Munene Maina, Dr Daniel Ng’ang’a as well as Mr Saya Tema. 

The constituency is dominated by Samburus, Maasais and Turkanas. There are also a few Kikuyu, Borana and Somalis living in the region.  

Both Mr Lemprukel and Ms Lekorere are from the Samburu community while Dr Lowassa and Mr Tema are from the Turkana and Maasai respectively.

Analysts believe that the battle will be between Mr Lemprukel (ODM), Ms Lekorere (Jubilee) and Dr Lowassa of PNU, who are considered the front runners.  

Mr Lemprukel, in an interview with the Nation said: “I have all the confidence that I will be re-elected for a second term come August 8. My decision to stay in ODM, the party that took me to parliament, has cemented my relations with the people. They are happy with my choice and will surely vote for me.”

AN EDGE
In Laikipia West, Ms Wahome will be battling it out with 10 male candidates.

They include Dr Karani, County Assembly Speaker Mr Patrick Mariru, Mr Daniel Munene, Mr Mungai Karenge and Dr Gichane Mbuthia.

Others are Mr David Tuitoek, Mr Peter Mumo, Eng Joseph Githinji and Dr David Ndirangu.

The incumbent, Mr Mariru and Ms Wahome are considered by many in the region as the top contenders.

All candidates are hoping to be the Jubilee Party’s flagbearer and will be fighting out in the primaries slated for next month.

“The fact that I am the only female aspirant also gives me some momentum to win because I have this feeling that residents are ready for a female leader,” said Wahome.

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