Women must support other women to fight patriarchal voting systems- Homa Bay leaders

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A group of women in Homa Bay County is out to fight jealousy claims said to deter women from voting for female candidates in elections.

For a long time, there has been a belief that women don’t believe in women’s leadership. Women make up the majority of the electorate. In spite of their enormous numbers, few women candidates end up winning in cases where they are competing against men.

Ten years after the promulgation of the Constitution, there is no specific legislation to operationalise the provision on gender rule. There have been unsuccessful attempts to enact the Bill on the two-thirds gender rule in Parliament. The minority aspect has led to an argument that women are their own enemies because they do not seem to vote for fellow women.

But, a group of women leaders in Homa Bay wants to dispel the notion.

The campaign is led by Homa Bay County ODM Women League chairperson Peres Ogutu, Rangwe party chairperson Caroline Owidhi and former Homa Bay Deputy Mayor Monica Afuodi.

Ndhiwa ODM women’s leader Hellen Akinyi is also part of the team. She says they want to convince women in the county of the significance of electing a woman in politics.

The women leaders have held various forums in Homa Bay to talk to their female colleagues seeking elective seats as well as the electorate.

In a recent meeting at Homa Bay Tourist hotel, the women leaders said women would not be complaining of being the minority if all women voters supported female candidates.

Owidhi argued that the failure of women to support fellow women in elections has contributed to the notion that women are their own enemies and jealous of each other.

She said the time has come to change the narrative.

“We don’t want people to insult us, that we are our own enemies. This time we are reaching out to every woman to ensure we support fellow women vying for elective posts in this county,” Owidhi said.

She underscored the significance of women’s leadership.

“Right from the family set up in a majority of the households, it is the woman who knows whether the family will be fed. This means women are good managers. The same can be replicated in political leadership,” Owidhi added.

Women leaders vying for prominent positions in the county are Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga who is eyeing the governor seat on an ODM ticket. Others are Rangwe MP Lillian Gogo, Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo and her Kabondo Kasipul counterpart Eve Obara. Dr Gogo, Odhiambo and Obara are defending their seats on ODM tickets.

On her part, Ogutu said the time had come for gender balance in elective posts and that it was imperative for women to be elected at every level of political leadership.

“Women are key in the composition and success of any leadership structure. We want this to be demonstrated in the August 9 polls,” Ogutu said.

The women said they are fully behind Wanga who is making history as the first female governor seat contender in the county.

“No woman has vied for a governor seat in Homa Bay since devolution. We are fully behind her to help her emerge victorious,” Ogutu added.

The women also hailed Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga for nominating Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua as his running mate.

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