Six women were on the verge of making political history in Kenya on Wednesday after they were elected to key seats that evaded female politicians in the last elections.
Outgoing National Assembly Deputy Speaker and Bomet MP Joyce Laboso, and former Cabinet secretaries Anne Waiguru and Charity Ngilu were headed to become the first women governors in the country.
Ms Ngilu, who also served in President Mwai Kibaki’s government, was Wednesday basking in the glory of surmounting great political odds to clinch the Kitui gubernatorial seat.
The veteran politician was set to beat two political giants; Kitui Senator David Musila and incumbent Julius Malombe, after opening a 50,000 vote lead.
It will be sweet victory for the Narc Party leader in two ways: Ms Ngilu will not just revive her career that suffered a setback after she lost Kitui senatorial contest in 2013 and her subsequent sacking from the Cabinet, but she also managed to dislodge the dominant Wiper Party from Kitui County politics.
Dr Laboso, a former university lecturer and Jubilee Party candidate, trounced incumbent Governor Isaac Ruto, one of opposition Nasa’s co-principal.
By the time of going to press, Ms Laboso was leading Mr Ruto of Chama Cha Mashinani with 175,932 votes against 85,863 votes.
In Kirinyaga, Ms Waiguru of Jubilee beat Narc-Kenya leader and also a former Cabinet minister Martha Karua after garnering 159,361 votes against 120,183 votes.
Ms Waiguru took the biggest share of Gichugu and Mwea votes while Ndia was split between the two, by the time of going to press. Ms Karua led in Kirinyaga Central.
Most voters in Gichugu constituency, where Ms Karua served as MP, voted for Ms Waiguru.
The win culminates a tumultuous four-year struggle for Ms Waiguru who first strode onto the national scene as Devolution Cabinet Secretary in 2013 before resigning under the cloud of the National Youth Service corruption scandal in 2015.
When she declared her candidature for Kirinyaga governor, she vowed to inject fresh blood and cited her achievements as a CS, including the setting up of Huduma centres across the country, as a sign that she would deliver.
On the other hand, former Cabinet minister in the Kibaki administration Prof Margaret Kamar, nominated Senator Fatuma Dullo and Nakuru County assembly speaker Susan Kihika were also headed to the hall of fame book as Kenya’s first elected women senators.
The three were headed for a big win in Uasin Gishu, Isiolo and Nakuru counties. Although the number is low, it is progress from the last elections where no woman was elected to the Senate or as governor. The 18 women in the Senate were nominated as an affirmative action in accordance with the Constitution.
Prof Kamar, an academic and former Higher Education minister running on Jubilee Party, was Wednesday evening headed for a landslide victory in the Uasin Gishu senatorial contest.
By 5pm, she had garnered 220,668 votes against her closest challenger Robert Kemei who had 84,258. Prof Kamar defeated Mr Kemei in the Jubilee primaries last April. She is making a comeback to Parliament after serving as Eldoret East MP between 2008 and 2013.
Ms Kihika, a lawyer, had polled 638,661 votes, leading her opponents at 89,58 per cent vote representation. ODM’s Samuel Ogada was second at 55, 327 votes in provisional results showing at 95 per cent vote coverage.