Women in Turkana County aspiring for various elective seats in the 2022 General Elections, have received a major boost from Council of Elders who pledged to supported their bids.
Women candidates in the past had to face resistance due to traditions that denied them leadership roles.
Leah Nachere, was the only woman elected as a Member of the County Assembly (MCA) in 2017 to represent Lake Zone Ward.
Speaking after the training hosted by Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA) in Lodwar, on the role of women in political leadership, Chairperson, Council of Elders, Turkana County, Charles Lorogoi, said they have resolved to allow women vie for political seats.
Lorogoi said women have the capability to become good leaders, adding that the Council would not hinder them.
“We are encouraging women to run for elective posts, they should agree amongst themselves and bring us suitable candidates to battle it out with men,” said Lorogoi.
The Council of Elders Chairperson, however, gave a condition to women who would successfully be elected in various leadership positions, that they should keep in mind their cultural norms and exhibit good deeds and discipline for them to be re-elected in future.
“They should not disappear or neglect their families, husbands and parents, they are needed at home. When they come home, they must assume their motherly and wife roles not that of honorable,” he said.
The Council of Elders said he would support women with strong cultural and religious background who have the blessings of their families to venture into politics.
The Council of Elders’ move was echoed by the Turkana Central Pastors Fellowship Chairperson, the Reverent James Lourien, who said women have demonstrated good leadership in the church by being responsible and successful in the roles they are assigned in the church.
“Let us elect women to lead in us in 2022, let us consider the example of the Turkana County Women Representative, women are responsible and therefore would not disappoint us,” said Lourien.
Asinyon Joyce one of the female members of the Council of Elders thanked Turkana Elders for including them in the membership of the Council as opposed to the past when women were not allowed to participate in any Elders Committee meeting.
“Initially a Turkana woman could not be allowed to be in any committee sitting of Elders, we thank them for allowing us to join them,” said Asinyon.
“It is good for women also to join and work as leaders in some departments, women too can lead if given a chance. They are good leaders at home, they are managers, if given a chance they would manage things in the right manner,” she added.
Zeinab Lakaale, MCA from Turkana East, who is also the Deputy Majority Whip and the Chairperson of Justice and Legal Affairs Committee in the County Assembly, said the Council of Elders and Religious Leaders have made a wise decision to do away with the main hindrance posed by cultural and religious norms in regard to women leadership role in the society.
The move by the Turkana County Council of Elders and Religious Leaders was reached out after the discussions forum hosted by the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA) aimed at enhancing discussions among cultural custodians.
Elders, Religious Leaders and Community Leaders deliberated on the cultural and religious norms which are believed to be the main hindrance to women advancement in political leadership.
The KEWOPA team leader, Joyce Mwangi, said they hope to see as many women as men running for political seats in the upcoming General Elections since the Constitution provides equal opportunities for both gender to vie for elective positions.
She said the Association had focused on four counties of Turkana, Marsabit, Kwale and Kitui, where cultural and religious beliefs hindered women from taking leadership positions in the society for they are referred to as inferior beings compared to men.