Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru says she is considering changing political parties in the run-up to the 2022 General Election.

Ms Waiguru who has announced she will be defending her seat in next year’s poll, last week hinted at running on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket the party associated with Deputy President William Ruto.

While speaking at Thiba in Mwea, the county chief who has been an ardent supporter of President Uhuru Kenyatta said: “The electorate will guide me on which party to run on.”

And on Tuesday, during a Women in Politics media engagement webinar for journalists from Central Kenya, the governor said her move to change political parties is tactical, observing that it would make it easier for her to retain the seat.

Ms Waiguru said seeking re-election on a party that is unpopular in the region would force her to spend twice or thrice the amount of money her rivals in region- friendly political parties will.

“I do not see why I should bother spending all the money knowing that I am in a party that cannot take me anywhere,” she said.

Should the governor eventually jump to UDA, she will face her political nemesis, the current Kirinyaga Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici, for the party ticket in the primaries.

She floored Narc-Kenya’s Martha Karua to emerge the governor of the county on a Jubilee ticket, in the 2017 poll.

Ms Waiguru advised women seeking political seats to go to the grassroots and convince the electorate that they are the best candidates, instead of banking on support from political parties and their leaders.

“I call on aspiring women leaders to go to churches, chamas and other social activities in areas where they want to run, meet the people and sell their agenda. I can assure them that the people will give them an ear. They can then come back to their respective political parties for negotiation once they have a following,” she said.

Constitutional push

Waiguru’s warm up to UDA comes barely a month after the Court of Appeal halted the Building Bridges Initiative constitutional push, in which the county boss played a critical role popularising it around the country.

Data released during the webinar organised by Mechanisms to Promote the Advancement of Women and Mzalendo Trust, shows that female candidates in Central Kenya spent more money in the 2017 election campaigns than their male counterparts.

Female Members of County Assemblies (MCA) aspirants spent Sh6.3 million compared to Sh2.9 million by their male counterparts.

Male parliamentary aspirants spent Sh17 million while their female counterparts parted with Sh22.8 million.

The report by Mzalendo Trust shows that the more a candidate spends during campaigns, the more they are likely to win. It also predicts an increase in election expenditure in 2022, especially for women candidates.

The report also shows that in 2017, out of the more than 70 registered political parties, only six fielded more than 10 female aspirants in their primaries.

After the 2017 election, the Independent and Electoral and Boundaries Commission gazetted 1,862 persons as duly elected, out of which 172 were women. Among the women elected were three governors and three senators, 23 MPs, 47 Woman Representatives and 96 MCAs.

An aspirant who spoke during the webinar said the demand for money by the electorate on the ground (grassroots) is a cause of concern as it makes it even harder for women who are vying for various positions.

By Nation Africa

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