Ruth Odinga leads women in onslaught against Kisumu men for elective seats
A number of women have come out to flex their muscle with male aspirants for political seats in Kisumu county as the August 8 general election race gathers momentum.
The group, perceived to be always taking a back seat in fear of the bruising battle that characterises elections in the country, have declared interest to fight with the men.
Those interviewed by the Star said they will no longer sit and wait for nominations as has been the norm in the past, adding that they have what it takes to win the seats.
Governor, woman representative, MP and MCA seats are among those that have seen an unprecedented number of women declaring their bid in the scheduled poll.
One of the most prominent faces in the race is Ruth Odinga, sister of ODM leader Raila Odinga, who vowed to stop at nothing to take on Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma.
She said that nothing stops her becoming the next Kisumu governor, adding that she will not allow those interested in restricting her ambitions to the role of running mate.
“I have all it takes to lead Kisumu which lacks good governance and inclusive government. I am ready to face my competitors seeking the ODM ticket,” Ruth said.
Atieno Otieno, in charge of Jubilee campaigns in Nyanza, has also expressed interest to be elected the next Kisumu governor.
Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o is among the prominent persons who want Ranguma to be denied a second chance to occupy the top county seat.
ODM party deputy organising secretary Rosa Buyu will fight for the Kisumu woman representative seat with the incumbent Rose Nyamunga.
County executive for commerce Rose Kisia and her education counterpart Jennifer Kere are also under pressure from supporters to vie for the seat.
Kisia and Kere, both from Nyakach, have not officially declared their candidature much as Nyamunga has welcome her rivals into the contest.
“I want to welcome all aspirants on board for an issue-based competition for the seat because I am much confident to retain the same in August,” she said.
Buyu, known for her previous contest with Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch, exuded confidence of clinching the woman representative’s seat.
She said her supporters have put necessary strategies in place to steer her campaigns.
Kisia, who made a first attempt at the woman representative seat in 2013, is said to be considering her chances on the Senate seat.
Nyando MP Fred Outa is among those who are keen to replace Nyong’o at the Senate following the latter’s declaration to seek the governor seat.
Nominated Senator Joy Gwendo has also said that she is ready to face the men angling for the Kisumu East MP seat.
She said that she will give them a run for their money through the Jubilee ticket, a situation viewed to be an uphill task in an ODM stronghold.
Gwendo asked women to contest for political positions and told the group that the perception that women are their own enemies are long gone.
“Let women face men aspirants as a team to ensure they get more elective positions,” she said of the race that pits her against Shakeel Shabbir.
Businessman John Anditi, former Kenya Sugar Board director Nicholas Oricho and Joab Ndege will also contest the Kisumu East MP seat.
In Kisumu Central, one Margaret Ouma wants to remove incumbent MP Ken Obura in a race that has attracted a number of male candidates as well.
Former Kisumu mayor Sam Okello, Siaya MCA Fred Ouda, Bob Madanji, businessmen Abdulqadir Omar and George Ong’udi are among those interested in the same.
Former Kisumu Town West MP Ken Nyagudi, Richard Ogendo and Prof Larry Gumbe are also keen on representing Kisumu Central residents in parliament.
Several women have also come out to seek a chunk of the 35 ward seats, to raise the number from the current seven out of 35 elected MCAs.