• April 15, 2024
  • Last Update April 15, 2024 8:58 AM
  • Nairobi

List of women governors since the inception of devolution

List of women governors since the inception of devolution

By Patricia Mollyne Mataga

It has been over 13 years since Kenya promulgated its current constitution.

The constitution was promulgated in August 2010 by the then President, the late Mwai Kibaki.

It introduced several new changes in the country’s governance – among them the devolved system.

Under the new system, the country was divided into 47 counties – each of which was to be led by a governor.

The system took effect after the 2013 general election when pioneer governors were elected.

Kenya is still far when it comes to gender equality in political elective posts – a fact that was laid bare with no woman being elected governors out of the 47 in 2013.

However, there has been positive progress with three women winning the hearts of voters to be elected the county bosses in 2017 and more even in 2022.

We take a look at all the women governors that have been elected to the influential seat since 2013.

Pioneer Women Governors

In the 2013 general elections, no single woman was elected a governor. There was an improvement with three getting to the seats in 2017.

The three are considered pioneer women governors. They are:

Ann Waiguru

She was elected Kirinyaga Governor in 2017 and won re-election in 2022.

Before venturing into politics, Ann Waigiru served as Devolution Cabinet Secretary during the Jubilee government under President Uhuru Kenyatta.

However, she was haunted out of office over the infamous National Youth Service (NYS) scam – after which she successfully joined politics.

Waiguru is considered among the influential Mount Kenya women leaders. She was in contention to be President William Ruto’s running mate in the 2022 general election.

Charity Ngilu

Charity Ngilu is among the veteran women politicians in Kenya. She has served as an MP and also vied for the presidency.

Ngilu was elected Kitui Governor in 2017. But in 2022, she opted out of the race in favour of the first governor Julius Malombe.

Joyce Laboso

She was elected the second Bomet Governor in 2017, beating the incumbent Isaac Ruto.

Laboso was previously a Member of Parliament for Sotik Constituency.

Unfortunately, Joyce Laboso only served for two years – as she succumbed to cancer in 2019.

From three pioneer governors, there were more than double the number of women elected to the seat in 2022 compared to 2017.

Currently, there are 7 women governors.

Aside from Waiguru who was re-elected for a second term, others are:

Susan Kihika

She beat incumbent Lee Kinyanjui to win the influential seat, after previously serving as the Nakuru Senator from 2017 to 2022.

Gladys Wanga

She was formerly the Homa Bay County Woman MP before going for the gubernatorial seat.

In the 2022 general election, Wanga, vying on an ODM ticket beat former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero to win the seat in a hotly contested race.

Wavinya Ndeti

Wavinya Ndeti has previously vied for the gubernatorial seat twice – becoming unsuccessful on both occasions.

But she was finally successful in 2022, securing the seat on a Wiper Party ticket, beating a strong list of names including Chama cha Uzalendo’s Nzioka Waita.

Kawira Mwangaza

Kawira is the current Meru Governor. She secured the seat as an independent candidate beating two Meru political bigwigs – incumbent Kiraitu Murungi and Mithika Linturi.

Murungi was eyeing the second term on a Devolution Empowerment Party (DEP) while Linturi, who had served as Senator was the UDA candidate.

Fatuma Achani

Achani, vying on a UDA ticket secured the seat after beating ODM’s Hamadi Bodo in a closely fought race.

She also became the first woman to win the governor seat in the coast region.

Cicily Mbarire

The former Runyenjes MP secured the Embu Governor seat in 2022, vying on a UDA ticket

She battled former Senator Lenny Kivuti in a tight race that had a difference of a paltry 3,000 votes between them.

More women are expected to win the country’s top seat in the 2027 general election.

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