Women nominated by political parties to the Senate in 2013 have used their positions as a stepping stone to elective politics in this year’s general election.
Almost all the 18 senators fought off competition during the primaries to clinch their parties’ tickets to run for seats in the National Assembly as either MPs or woman representatives.
Others are vying for Senate seats, where they have served for one term, with one running for MCA.
Seven of the women senators are in the race for MP while two are aspiring to be woman representatives in their counties with a similar number opting to compete for senatorial seats.
Senator Godliver Omondi of ODM, a representative of those with disabilities, is running for MCA in Kholera Ward in Kakamega County on an ANC ticket.
Those gunning for MP include Majority Whip Beatrice Elachi, Martha Wangari, Joy Gwendo, Naisula Lesuuda, Judy Sijeny, Emma Mbura and Elizabeth Ongoro.
Lisa Chelule, Janet Ong’era and Halima Abdille are competing for woman rep seats while Fatuma Dullo and Catherine Mukite are in the race for the Senate.
The following are the nominated women senators and their decisions for the 2017 elections.
She is the majority whip in the Senate, essentially making her the senior-most woman senator in the House.
Nominated by the former Kiraitu Murungi’s Alliance Party of Kenya (APK), Ms Elachi has sponsored several Bills which include, the National Youth Service Amendment Bill of 2014 and the Food Security Bill of 2014 that, if assented to, will establish a food support programme for poor families, as an initiative of the county and national governments.
She is Jubilee Party’s candidate for Dagoretti North Constituency seat in Nairobi County.
Nominated to the Senate by Musalia Mudavadi’s United Democratic Front party (UDF), Ms Wangari has made a name for herself as the first senator to have a Bill in her name, become law when President Uhuru Kenyatta appended his signature to the County Government (Amendment) Bill she sponsored in June 2016.
The law will ensure that both elected and nominated MCAs are sworn in together after the general election.
An alumni and former student leader of the University of Nairobi, Ms Wangari has also sponsored other Bills, like the amendment to the Employment Act and amendments to the Societies Act to regularise registration of self-help groups.
She won the Jubilee Party ticket for Gilgil constituency seat, in Nakuru County after a bruising battle with the incumbent MP.
She taught at the University of Nairobi before she was nominated by ODM to the Senate and is the party’s secretary-general.
Her Bill on sharing resources between the two levels of government and communities is stuck in the National Assembly where it was taken for concurrence.
She will not be contesting any seat in the August elections and has dedicated her time to serve her party.
She decamped from Jubilee to Kanu and will be contesting the Samburu West parliamentary seat in the August 8 elections.
The youthful former journalist is an ardent supporter of the Jubilee government and says she wants President Uhuru Kenyatta, on whose TNA party ticket she was nominated, re-elected to complete his development programmes.
She was nominated to the Senate by the defunct United Republican Party (URP) and has won the Jubilee Party ticket to contest the Nakuru woman representative’s seat.
Ms Chelule is the founder of Gender Equity Network whose aim is to promote peace in the Rift Valley.
The network was formed in 2008 after the post-election violence to initiate peace initiatives and civic education.
She served as a commissioner at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights before she joined politics in 2013 when she was nominated to the Senate by URP.
Ms Dullo also worked in the provincial administration as a District Officer (DO) for years.
At the Senate, she has been the vice-chairperson of the committee on national security and foreign relations.
Ms Dullo is running for the Isiolo Senate seat on a Party for Development and Reforms (PDR) ticket.
Ms Mukite is a career banker having studied at the Chartered Institute of London.
She was nominated to the Senate by Ford Kenya on retiring from her position as credit risk manager after 20 year service.
After retirement, she joined Ford Kenya and ventured into grassroots community work especially with women and the youth in her Trans Nzoia home county.
She is gunning for the county’s senatorial seat as an independent candidate in the August 8 election.
The highest moment for the Wiper nominated senator, a lawyer, was her sponsorship of the Reproductive Healthcare Bill, 2014, that triggered condemnation and bile against her from her male counterparts who discredited it over what they saw as controversial proposals on sex education.
“The Bill does not in any way provide for contraceptives in schools,” she protested, saying it was to ensure adolescents are given moral and spiritual guidance.
School going children would access age-appropriate information, she argued.
Ms Sijeny is contesting the Lang’ata parliamentary seat in Nairobi County, on a Wiper ticket.
The outspoken Senator who was nominated by The National Alliance (TNA) of President Kenyatta, hails from Kilifi County.
She is running for Rabai parliamentary seat in Kilifi on Maendeleo Chap Chap.
The ODM senator has worked in public service and civil society and has also served as the party’s executive director.
She is ODM’s candidate for the Kisii woman representative seat.
Ms Abdille, who joined the Senate at 25 years when she was nominated by ODM to the House, hails from Wajir County.
The vice-chairperson of the Senate’s Education Committee, Ms Abdille moved to Jubilee Party on whose ticket she is seeking to become the county’s next woman rep.
She was nominated by TNA in 2013, when she plunged into politics.
Ms Gwendo is seeking to be the next MP for Kisumu East on a Jubilee Party ticket.
She was first elected MP in 2007 to represent Kasarani Constituency in Nairobi.
In 2013, her ODM party nominated her to the Senate, after she was forced to step down for Bishop Margaret Wanjiru in the party’s nominations for the Starehe parliamentary seat.
In the August 8 elections, Senator Ongoro, who in the House has been a temporary Speaker, is contesting the Ruaraka Constituency seat in Nairobi on Amani National Congress (ANC).
She joined the Senate after a successful petition in the High Court in which she challenged the nomination of Harold Kipchumba from her party ODM, in the special category of people with disabilities.
She has now set her sights on a much lower position, the Kholera MCA seat in Kakamega County, on Amani National Congress ticket.
Ms Omondi says her decision to run for the lower seat is informed by the numerous challenges she continues to face in her quest to effectively serve Kenyans at the grassroots.
She says that a county assembly member’s seat will enable her to be closer and serve her constituents better than in the Senate.
Kisasa Mshenga Mvita
Nominated by URP to the Senate in 2013, Senator Mvita unsuccessfully sought to run for the Kilifi County senatorial seat in this year’s general election.
However, she lost to Mr Ken Nyale during the Jubilee Party primaries.
On losing out, Senator Mshenga has since decided to concentrate her efforts in campaigning for her party and the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
She was the youngest MP in Parliament having been nominated to the Senate by ODM to represent the youth in the last election.
She drafted the Youth Representation Bill of 2015 and managed to push it through the House where it sailed through the second reading and was awaiting the third stage when the House adjourned.
The youthful Nyongesa had expressed interest in running for the Likuyani parliamentary seat in Kakamega County but opted out to campaign for the opposition Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
She has served as Cabinet Minister in President Mwai Kibaki’s administration.
She was first elected to Parliament as the Dagoretti MP in 1997 through the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Ms Mugo was nominated to the Senate in 2013 by TNA.
She is not running for any elective seat in the 2017 elections.
She has called time off in politics.
Ms Kittony, a long serving Maendeleo ya Wanawake chairperson, was nominated to the Senate by Kanu in 2013.
She now says she has left politics to pave way for other people, and especially the younger generation, to demonstrate their leadership capabilities.
Affectionately known as ‘’Mama Zippy’’ by the younger MPs, Ms Kittony has served during the administrations of four presidents beginning with Mzee Jomo Kenyatta to the current one of President Uhuru Kenyatta.