There will be more women in this year’s general election vying for elective positions than in any other elections before.
Before the 2013 general elections, no Maasai woman had ever been elected as a member of parliament in Kenya. Before then, Maasai women and children had been grouped and relegated to be operating from behind the scenes.
In ceremonies, no woman could stand before men to address any issue related to that same even or other pressing issues in the society because their position was the kitchen and herding of goats.
The Kajiado East MP, Peris Tobiko, in her second attempt to go to parliament became the first woman to break the ice when she was overwhelmingly voted for to be the first legislator of the newly carved out constituency.
Kajiado East and West constituencies had just been created, after the 2010 constitution was unveiled, to add to Kajiado South, Kajiado North, and Kajiado Central.
In the 2013 general election, there were only two women, Tobiko and Mary Seneta who sought Kajiado East MP seat and the Women Rep seat respectfully.
The two, who hail from Kajiado East, won the election. Tobiko, despite a concerted resistance from the Maasai men who were opposed to her candidacy, won with majority votes.
Nominated Senator Judy Pareno is seeking to be elected as Kajiado senator in this year’s general election. Before she was nominated, she served in the East African parliament for one term.
After winning in that general election against several men, Tobiko became the first Maasai woman in the country to be elected MP. Regarding the rising number of women candidates in elective positions, Tobiko said the gender members have known that it is possible.
“They have seen it happen. It is doable and Kenyans are ready for women leadership at all levels,” said Tobiko.
Despite the resistance coming from the elders of the Kajiado Maasai, in the 2013 and 2017 general elections, Tobiko concentrated on her campaigns in the urban areas of Kajiado East and won the hearts of non-Maasai voters.
At the time her closest rival was Kakuta ole Mamai (ODM), whom she beat to the second position. After Maimai lost to Tobiko in the 2013 general election, he sought court intervention in a petition which he also lost.
Maimai later accused The National Alliance Party (TNA) of working against his case in court. In the 2017 general election, the Kajiado East constituency had two women eyeing the parliamentary seat and three others gunning for the women’s rep seat.
Seneta left her WR seat to vie against Tobiko, who was seeking re-election. Seneta lost the Jubilee nomination to Tobiko and was later nominated to the senate.
Janet Teyiaa of Jubilee won as Kajiado women’s MP against Esther Somoire of ODM. Simayiai Rakita that year lost to Somoire in the ODM nominations.
So far, in this year’s general election, there will be eight women who have been cleared by their parties to vie elective seats. Tobiko of UDA lost her gubernatorial nomination bid to Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito in the April exercise.
Rakita (Jubilee) will be facing Jenipher Moinkett (ODM) and Leah Sankaire (UDA) in the race for women MP. The battle is expected to cause a lot of heat in the entire region.
Seneta (UDA) will be facing Marina Kelly (Jubilee) and a host of men in the race for Kajiado East MP.
Judy Pareno of ODM will be facing UDA, Jubilee, and Wiper party male candidates in the race for the senate.
In the Oloolua ward in the Kajiado North constituency, Sophia Katampoi (Kanu) will be facing opponents from UDA, Jubilee, and ODM parties for the ward seat.
Abigael Sein of Jubilee will be facing other candidates in the race for Rombo Ward in Kajiado South.
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