Kenya like most human societies remain largely patriarchal. The march towards equal representation for Kenyan women clearly has a long way to go since the two third gender principle law is yet to be passed by parliament. The constitutional affirmative action measure limits the representation of a given gender to a maximum of two-thirds in elected public bodies. This lack of law has made it difficult for public bodies to implement the principle. Uraia under the project titled Enhancing Political Capacity for Women in the 2017 Election, is targeting change at different levels, working with political parties, community forums and even male gender equality champions. The Uraia Gender Programme department has been conducting a series of trainings to this effect. The trainings targets female aspirants in nine counties namely Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Turkana, Baringo, West Pokot, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori.
Tapach ward in West Pokot has experienced insecurity issues instigated by cattle rustling between the Pokot and the bordering Marakwet community. The insecurity has had an adverse impact on the community. Past political leaders have done little to address the issue. Thus far women and children continue to be the most affected. Uraia piloted female aspirants’ trainings in the region which equipped many women with knowledge that will empower them during the election period. Veronica Long’ole was among the trained female aspirants. Appalled after a violent cattle rustling affected her family, she became determined to take on security issues in her community.
Veronica applied her new skills when she decided to compete against her own father, a former elected councilor, to stand in elections for the county assembly. Ignoring his threats to disown her, she mobilized her family, clan, community, national legislators and other leaders to mediate, and confidently shared her vision. The result was an overwhelming victory; Veronica garnered 85 per cent of the votes required to run for the seat. Her father blessed the decision of the people to let her contest; subsequently, Veronica negotiated support from six male contenders. Veronica and her peers are now tirelessly preparing for upcoming elections. She keeps researching issues to guide her campaign agenda and mobilize voters, having defined top priorities such as fostering safety and improving livelihoods, health and the environment.