Previously a male-dominated field, the Kenyan political scene is witnessing the rise and rise of strong female politicians proving their mettle and conquering tough battles.
The ladies have overcome tough battles, taken on strong opposition, and won, with some showing no signs of stopping as we head into the 2022 General Election.
Kivumbi.co.ke takes a look at some of the trailblazing female politicians to watch based on their performance in the field as well as their rumoured options ahead of the next polls.
- Anne Waiguru
Anne Waiguru’s transaition from public service to politics was so flawless. She brought her brilliance and wit into the field and has so far saw a rapid rise in her political profile both locally and nationally.
The former Uhuru Kenyatta-trusted cabinet secretary has fought many battles ranging from corruption allegations in her ministry to similar charges in Kirinyaga county which almost had her impeached.
She has strong political networking skills which have enabled her to navigate Kirinyaga and Mt Kenya politics, making some pundits believe she will play a vital role in Uhuru’s succession politics ahead of 2022.
She is both a boardroom maverick and a master of reading the mood in political rallies thus pulling masses to her side.
While it is not clear if she will defend her Kirinyaga county seat in 2022, Waiguru will no doubt be a person to watch in 2022.
2. Martha Karua
The Iron-lady, as she is popularly known is a woman to watch in the upcoming General Election.
Karua is a seasoned politician having joined the industry in the early 90s when her peers could only dream about it.
She represented Gicugu constituency from 1992-2007, having been the first woman lawyer to be popularly elected to parliament.
In 2017, Martha took a lesser challenge by running for the Kirinyaga county gubernatorial seat, having vied for the presidency in 2013.
However, in the oncoming elections, the Iron lady has not shown any sign of coiling under coalitions as her fellow party leaders are doing.
Instead, she is standing firm in her purpose to defend the constitution. And whether she will retake the Kirinyaga gubernatorial test again or upgrade to the presidency, Martha’s political influence cannot be downplayed.
3. Charity Ngilu
Like Martha Karua, Charity Ngilu is among the very first women to join politics when their peers had not started thinking of the profession.
She even dared to vie for the presidency in 1997, against Kenya’s second and longest-serving president Daniel Moi.
The Alliance Girls alumnus has served in government as a minister and also been a member of parliament.
She was part of the Narc wave which pushed out KANU which had ruled Kenya since independence.
She was also part of the Raila Odinga dream team which controversially lost the presidency to Mwai Kibaki in 2007, a result which plunged the nation into chaos.
In 2013, she battled against men to win the Kitui gubernatorial seat to become the county’s second governor.
With ongoing political alliances, Charity Ngilu shall no doubt be a key figure as she has everything a winning political formation would want on its side.
4. Gladys Wanga
The current Woman Representative for Homabay County is arguably the most vocal female leader in the ODM Party.
Wanga, who is considered a part of Raila Odinga’s inner circle, has emerged to be a force to reckon with by how she takes on her opponents and challangers
The legislator is known to be eyeing the Homabay Gubernatorial seat after the expiry of the term of current governor Cyprian Awiti’s term.
She has shown her big ambitions by launching women-related projects in her jurisdiction using her influence as a Member of the National Assembly.
At Homabay, Wanga will be a woman to watch as she is set to battle it out with the likes of Evans Kidero, considered rich and strong challanger.
Will Wanga’s special place in Raila’s heart earn her a direct endorsement from ODM? It is a matter of wait and see.
She however has it all, charismatic, witty, great orator and debater. It remains to be seen how this will play out in her future political ambitions.
5. Aisha Jumwa
If the expulsion from the ODM party was not a final nail on Aisha Jumwa’s coffin, then she really can stand a strong tide.
Her influence in the Coastal region has proven to be so powerful, prompting Ruto’s Tangatanga team to utilize her in clinching the Msambweni Parliamentary seat in 2020.
Jumwa is a woman to watch in 2022, especially when it comes to consolidating the coastal region vote. Her crowd control and mobilization skills are extremely admirable.
Last year, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi was close to winning Jumwa’s heart, with the latter saying that she was ready to dump Tangatanga and join her governor in uniting the Mijikenda Community.
Lately, Jumwa has hinted at running for the Kilifi gubernatorial position. Having proven her ability to be a super fighter, it is no doubt that she may actually succeed Amason Kingi.
She is the typical coastal lady who few would want to engage in a verbal confrontation with at any point.
6. Susan Kihika
Being Deputy President William Ruto’s fircest foot soldier, Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika has become a household name in the Kenyan politics.
She has worked hard from speaker of Nakuru county assembly to a national figure and her she just does not look like she will stop.
One would have thought that removing her from the Senate Majority Whip position would weaken her politically, it did not.
She has stood firm in support of the ‘hustler nation’, and this year, she was among a team that delivered victory to the UDA party in the London Ward by-elections.
Having been born in the family of a veteran politician, it is expected that she will stay longer in politics just like her father, Kihika Kimani, who was an influential leader in the Moi Era.
7. Gladys Shollei
The former Judiciary Registrar is no doubt another strong lady to watch in ahead of the 2022 General Election.
The current Uasin Gishu county woman rep is a strong William Ruto supporter and is believed to be eyeing the county’s gubernatorial seat in 2022.
The lawyer by profession is remembered for her colourful tenure as Judiciary Registrar, a role she excelled in before joining politics in 2017.
The former lecturer is exudes brilliance in debates, she is a great orator and is no doubt a person capable of giving challengers a run for their money
As Senator Margaret Kamar maintains a low profile in regional politics, Shollei has been busy positioning herself for a better political future.
She has tossed herself on the battle ring, and maybe she might encounter Zedekiah Bundotich (Buzeki) who is a big contestant for the gubernatorial seat come 2022.
8. Millicent Omanga
‘Mama Miradi’ as she is commonly referred to, is a project to watch in the 2022 General Election. Having been introduced into the political arena by DP William Ruto, her influence has kept growing alongside that of her master.
The first time nominated Senator has shown fearlessness in her ambition, prompting her expulsion from the Jubilee Party.
Omanga has not stated her 2022 interests, but judging from her actions, she is eyeing an electoral seat in Nairobi County.
Other than her advocacy for the hustler nation, she has presented herself to the electors by helping needy people in parts of Nairobi.
Is she on a mission to occupy current Nairobi Women Rep. Esther Passaris’ seat come 2022? It is remains to be seen.