• April 14, 2024
  • Last Update April 14, 2024 9:48 PM
  • Nairobi

List of Kenya’s first female Senators

Features

By Peter Ochieng

The 2010 constitution ushered in a new dispensation, which saw Kenyans get new representatives. Under the old constitution, Kenyans were only represented by the President, Member of Parliament and the Councilor.

However, under the current constitution, governors, senators and women representatives were added in the mix, while Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) now occupy the position of councilors.

In 2013, Kenyans went to the polls to elect governors, senators, women representatives and MCAs for the first time. Unfortunately, no woman was elected Senator in 2013. 16 women were therefore nominated to become the pioneer female senators.

Here is the list:

1. Beatrice Elachi

She was nominated by the Alliance Party of Kenya (APK). She occupied the position until 2017, when she was elected Nairobi County Assembly Speaker. However, she resigned in the middle of her term, in the thick of a protracted tussle with MCAs.

She is the current Dagoretti North Member of Parliament having been elected on the ODM party ticket in 2022. She succeeded Paul Simba Arati, the current Kisii governor.

2. Catherine Mukite

She was nominated by the Ford Kenya party. The party is led by National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula. Little is known of her since her exit from the Senate in 2017.

3. Janet Ong’era

She was nominated by the ODM party. At the senate she was the Minority Deputy Whip and a member of the Kenyan delegation to the Pan African Parliament. She is the founder and patron of Kisii County Women Agribusiness Empowerment (KCWAES).

During the 2017 polls, she contested and won the Kisii Women Representative seat, serving until 2022.

4. Elizabeth Ongoro

The former Kasarani MP was also nominated by ODM. In July 2023, she decamped from ODM and joined president William Ruto’s UDA party, in what she said was a plan towards getting back to elective politics in the near future.

“We believe that the UDA party and its leadership means well for this county. I came to UDA with all my heart, with all my mental faculties functional and with my conviction that I have made the right decision,” she said, then.

5 Halima Abdille Mohamud

Halima was another Senator to be nominated by ODM.

6. Dr. Agnes Zani

Agnes Philomena Zani is among few Senators to have been nominated twice by ODM – in 2013 and 2017. In 2022, she contested for the Kwale gubernatorial seat, but lost to governor Fatuma Achani. Unlike other politicians, she never gave out handouts to her would-be supporters during campaigns.

“Our people need a lot of support. As a sociologist and developmentalist, I get irritated by interventions that are predatory,” she said when queried on why she was not giving out handouts.

7. Beth Wambui Mugo

She was nominated by former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA) party. She is among few women to have had a long political career in the country. She was the assistant minister of Education between 2006 and 2007. Between January and July 2003, she was the assistant minister for Tourism.

8. Emma Mbura Gertrude

Nominated by TNA.

9. Naisula Lesuuda

The former Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) journalist got her way to the Senate through TNA. She was then elected Vice Chair of the Kenyan Women’s Parliamentary Association.

In 2016, she announced that she would leave the Senate to seek election as a member of the National Assembly for Samburu West. During the 2017 elections, Lesuuda was elected with 14,560 votes, defeating incumbent Jonathan Lelelit who garnered 13,970 votes, becoming the first female Member of Parliament for the constituency. She was re-elected in Samburu West Constituency in 2022.

10. Joy Adhiambo Gwendo

The former journalist was nominated by TNA.

In 2019, she was ordered to pay a Sh660,000 fine or spend a year in jail after the High Court revised her sentence. Judge John Onyiego ruled that the trial court erred in law by sentencing her to jail without the option of a fine.

Gwendo had on December 7, 2018 been sentenced to a two-year jail term after she was found guilty of abuse of office and fraud. In the ruling, Magistrate Douglas Ogoti ordered that she be jailed without the option of a fine because of ‘hoodwinking the court.’

The list of 2013 nominated female Senators is completed by Martha Wangari, Liza Chelule, Futuma Adam Dullo, Judith Achieng Sijeny and Zipporah Kittony.

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