- Professor Karuti Kanyinga who launched the report describes mobilization strategies for women running for office as very expensive bearing the fact that they are directly harassed and unable to hold meetings at certain times
- Wanjiku Thiga a young politician from Kiambu County revealed the ugly side of party nominations she experienced during the last electioneering period
Financial challenge has been revealed as one of the major challenges that women vying for political seats in Kenya face.
A study dubbed Political Economy Analysis Of Women And Participation In Politics In Kenya, launched by UN Women reveals that the cost for running for political office in Kenya has become too high hence giving women an unfair ground to run for political office.
Professor Karuti Kanyinga who launched the report describes mobilization strategies for women running for office as very expensive bearing the fact that they are directly harassed and unable to hold meetings at certain times.
“Kenya has become a place where politics require a lot of money so in addition to all this, women end up visiting different groups, different communities and the more they visit them because they avoid night meetings, big rallies the more they pay for it,” said Professor Kanyingi.
“Unfortunately rallies are organized by men so sometimes women do not have space and what women are complaining about is that in many political rallies, women speak as a by the way.
“And because they speak as a by the way some of them don’t value those meetings because you will not be given the same chance as men will be given. So you have got to do more before the rally, you have got to see more people before the rally and you have got to visit more communities and different households before the rallies begin,” said Professor Kanyingi during the launch of the report.
Kanyinga also stated that dynamic of association or affiliation with a big political party has also worked against women bearing the fact that many political parties are run by men.
“For women who are making it in politics now, they have got to be in mainstream political parties, the most dominant political parties. If you are riding on the wave of a major political party and you have been visible as a woman in a major political party and you stand better chances of being elected… Unlike men who would like to come with money and win elections there’s not that very easy for women in political parties.”
Ugly party nominations
Wanjiku Thiga a young politician from Kiambu County revealed the ugly side of party nominations she experienced during the last electioneering period.
“I learned of my competitor’s win through Facebook because of course he had more money than I did and because he was a man and could pull any stunt,” Thiga said.
The findings of the report will inform evidence-based programmes and strategies to improve women’s political participation ahead of the 2027 elections.
The study which was commissioned by investigates the factors that inhibit women candidates from vying and obstacles that exist once elected.
UN Women Deputy Country Representative to Kenya Dan Bazira underlined the importance of using this data to inform interventions of state and non-state actors to achieve gender parity in Kenyan politics:
“Inclusion, participation and representation are critical tenets of democratic governance. A society cannot claim to be truly democratic if it leaves out half of its population in key-decision making processes. Although there has been commendable progress on gender equality in Kenya, the political system continues to disenfranchise and disadvantage women who face multiple barriers in participating in politics.”
The study conducted in eight counties in Kenya, namely Nairobi, Kirinyaga, Mombasa, Wajir, Kakamega, Kisumu, Meru and Nakuru Counties.
The aim of the study was to bring into perspective how barriers to women’s political lives are evolving, from violence shifting to more brutal online attacks, sexual harassment within political party ranks, and the disproportionate cost of running for office for women candidates.
The study has been commission under UNDP Kenya’s basket fund ‘Consolidating Democratic Dividends for Sustainable Transformation in Kenya’ project together with its development partners UK-Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO); European Union (EU); Republic of Germany; Republic of Ireland and Republic of Italy.