7 Women to Watch Ahead of August Polls

A collage of Martha Karua, Anne Waiguru and Gladys Wanga
A collage of Martha Karua, Anne Waiguru and Gladys Wanga (left to right)

Kenyan politics is no longer a man's world, and with the 2010 Constitution which calls for more women representation, more members of the fairer gender have delved thrown their hats into the political ring.

In 2017, 172 women were elected into office - an increase of 25 from 145 in 2013. Fast forward to 2022 women, even more women have declared interests in various seats across the country.

Kenyans.co.ke takes a kook at some of the women leaders to watch in the August 9, General Election and has come up with the following:

An undated image of the NARC party leader, Martha Karua.
An undated image of the NARC party leader, Martha Karua.

Martha Karua 

Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua, has been in politics for nearly 20 years, serving as Members of Parliament (MP) for Gichugu and as a Cabinet Minister.

Despite losing to Anne Waguru in the race for Kirinyaga County Governor in 2017, Karua and her party still remain influential in the Mount Kenya Region.

However, having contested for the presidency in 2007 and 2013, she is yet to declare whether she will have a second stab at the Kirinyaga top seat or become a running mate to one of the top presidential contenders. 

Her recent appearances with the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) principals which, according to political pundits, is set to lean towards Azimio la Umoja, has suggested that she may settle for the former.

At a point in time, Karua declared that she would be Kenya's first female president. Notably, her quest can not be completely ruled out as an endorsement from Uhuru would boost her chances highly.

An undated photo of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru
An undated photo of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru

Anne Waiguru

Kirinyaga Governor, Anne Waiguru shares the same dilemma as Martha Karua. While she has openly declared that she will be seeking to defend her seat,  the county boss has been linked to national politics.

On Thursday, February 17, a poll ranked Waiguru as the best leader from the Mount Kenya region to be Deputy President William Ruto's running mate in the upcoming General Election, pitting Mathira MP, Rigathi Gachagua.

In an interview with TV47, she remained adamant that she was focused on Kirinyaga and would make public any changes to her stance.


"At this point in time, I am seeking to be re-elected as governor of Kirinyaga County. The day the position changes, I will make it public,” she noted

Prior to her election as governor, Waiguru had not contested any seat on the ballot.  However, she learned the ropes and has successfully paddled through the murky political waters.

Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga
Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga addresses MPs on Friday, July 17, 2020.

Gladys Wanga

Homa Bay County Woman Representative, Gladys Wanga, has established herself as one of the most influential leaders in Nyanza.

Poised as among the young tucks coming in to take over Nyanza politics, Wanga declared her interest in the Homa Bay County gubernatorial seat, which has ruffled feathers among the leaders from the region.

When she launched her gubernatorial bid on February 13, all the elected MPs from the including the only two female MPs, Lilian Gogo (Rangwe)  and Millie Odhiambo (Suba North) staged a no-show at her event.

Nonetheless, the MP remains undeterred, and believes that it is high time that the region and country embraced female leadership. If she wins the election on August 9, she will become the first female governor to be elected from the region.

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa speaking durnig an event in 2018.
Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa speaking during an event in 2018.
Daily Nation

Aisha Jumwa 

Aisha Jumwa, the representative for Kilifi Constituency in parliament, is among the female leaders who have taken the political bull by its horns. She will be seeking to succeed outgoing Kilifi Governor, Amason Kingi, who has served two terms in office.

Known for her hard-hitting comments and rhetoric, Jumwa gained prominence when she begun rubbing shoulders with the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), a party that has asserted dominance in the region over the years.

Jumwa, who has now declared allegiance to DP Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA), is set to be used to cause a disruption in the Coast region which has previously voted as a block for former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga.

Kirinyaga Woman Representative Purity Ngirici pictured addressing a forum on March 5, 2020
Kirinyaga Woman Representative Purity Ngirici pictured addressing a forum on March 5, 2020

Wangui Ngirici

Enjoined in the battle for Kirinyaga Boss is the county's Woman Rep, Wangui Ngirici. An affluent business woman, Ngirici declared interest in politics, pledging to bring change to the county

The Woman Rep had been a strong supporter of UDA, before she fell out with DP Ruto in December, 2021. The MP claimed that some insiders in the party had arm-twisted her to shelve her gubernatorial ambitions  in favor of Waiguru, who joined the party in October.

Ngirici resorted to contesting the seat as an independent candidate. She has amassed a magnitude of influence in the region and seems to have friends in high places including the Principal Secretary (PS) for Interior, Karanja Kibicho.

Laikipia Woman Rep Cate Waruguru Stikes for Aa Photo on November 4, 2021
Laikipia Woman Rep Cate Waruguru poses for a Photo on November 4, 2021
Kate Waruguru

Cate Waruguru

Kenya's youngest Woman Representative, CateWaiguru is among the female politicians who have gained political ascension that can only be envied by the majority.

Having joined the Laikipia County government as a nominated member of County Assembly under the Jubilee Party, Waruguru was elected to her current role in the August 2017 general election.

On August 9, she will be running for the Laikipia East parliamentary seat. She will battle it out with former Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri , whom she has no love lost for.

Waruguru has openly castigated Kiunjuri, telling him to 'man up' and contest for 'bigger' positions. This was after the former CS, who had his eyes set at the presidency, dumped down to contest the Laikipia East seat.

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, the daughter of former Nakuru North MP Dickson Kihika

Susan Kihika

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, will be challenging incumbent governor, Lee Kinyanui to become the first female governor of the county.  She is among the leaders who defected to UDA following the cracks in Jubilee.

The daughter of former Nakuru North MP, the late Kimani Kihika, the Senator has aspires to become the county's first female governor.