In his widely acclaimed speech delivered at the 5th Devolution Conference in Kakamega on Wednesday, NASA President H.E. Raila Odinga made remarks to the effect that he hopes to see more women elected into gubernatorial positions in 2022.
“In the last five years, this gathering was a men only affair. Today we have three female governors. I recognize and welcome the madam governors to this club.”
“It is my hope that after the next elections, we will have at least ten female governors. Devolution must bridge the gender gap in the country’s leadership” said H.E. Raila to thunderous applause from the more than 6000 delegates in attendance.
If there is any county these words sent cold chills down the spines of aspiring male governors, that county is Homa Bay where the current Woman Rep Gladys Wanga is widely tipped to be Gov Cyprian Awiti’s successor.
In Kenya, women’s representation in the National Assembly is at 19.9%, up from 9.9% in 2013 while among governors and senators, it is at 6.4%, up from nil in 2013. Female representation in the county assemblies has improved to 6.6%, from 5.7% in 2013.
In Kenya, women who decide to join elective politics face many barriers including discrimination, gender based violence, cultural beliefs among others. However, despite all the odds women did well in 2017 general elections.
In 2017, the Homa Bay Woman Rep Hon Gladys Wanga won by a landslide having secured 369,283 votes (an astounding 95.56%) on an ODM party ticket. This is her second term as woman representative and her national success as a representative of women and her empowerment programs have won huge admiration throughout the country.
Raila’s strong support for women governors means Gladys Wanga starts the race in Homa Bay as a clear favourite. Although she has not yet declared her candidature for the seat, many people in Homa Bay County see her as the most competent replacement for Governor Awiti.