There’s no doubt female Members of County Assembly (MCAs) of Kisumu, 2013-2017, have achieved such great feat, to be considered celebrities and huge role models in Kenya’s politics.
The 19 female MCAs, among them seven elected members have earned their place to stardom by becoming the first to be profiled in the Kenya’s civic history, courtesy of AMWIK and partners in the Buidling and Amplifying Women’s Voices in Political and Economic Development project who include the Federation of Women Lawyers in Kenya and Diakonia Kenya.
The women MCAs include elected members, Pamela Apondi Omino, Priscah Auma Misachi, Petronilla Apondi, Benter Akinyi Ogolla, Caroline Awino Owen, Nereah
Akoth Okombo and Marlin Akinyi Atieno while nominated ones are Caroline Awuor Agwanda, Carolyne Awuor Ogot, Eunice Miruka, Faridah Ahmed Salim, Jane Atieno Omolo, Lydia Achieng Odhiambo, Lydia Atieno Ndege, Nelly Beldinah Osok, Pamela Akinyi Adhiambo, Pamela Awuor Oyoo, Salome Kamonya Lungafa and Susan Adhiambo Omollo.
Hall of Fame
Kisumu has also become a hall of fame, being the first County to register such a milestone, in addition to its unmatched reputation of producing the highest number of elected female MCAs in Kenya under the 2010 Constitution.
Read the stories of these inspiring women in Women on the Move: Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017, a book published by the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), with support from Diakonia-Sweden and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The book was launched by H.E. Governor Jack Ranguma of Kisumu County at a colourful luncheon held at the Tom Mboya Labour College, also attended by his deputy H.E. Ruth Odinga, County Health Executive Dr. Elizabeth Ominde, Diakonia Kenya and FIDA teams, representatives of non-governmental organisations, MCAs, the business community and women and minority groups.
Support for Women MCAs
Governor Jack Ranguma thanked AMWIK and her supporters for the their efforts towards publication of the book and assured the women MCAs of his government’s support.
Recognising women leaders for their consistency and forthrightness, Governor Ranguma noted that their efforts had enabled Kisumu county assembly to achieve stability.
In her address, deputy governor Ruth Odinga noted that Kisumu had become a pivotal point for gender issues. She noted that Kisumu has the highest number of women in the assembly, including seven elected MCAs, having speaker and deputy who are women, a female deputy minority party leader, woman deputy chief whip, four out of ten members of the executive, a third representation of women in the county public service board and a woman deputy governor.
“Kisumu has set an example to show Kenya and whole world that the affirmative rule is necessary, with us being at the helm of having achieved a third representation both in the Assembly and executive. This is a big feat that will change the political arena in the country. We therefore must seize the opportunity to work and justify why women should be elected to these positions, using Kisumu as the best example.
Ms. Odinga urged the MCAs to ensure that all laws formulated to improve the lives of women, youth and disabled in the county are implemented and further advised women to work towards empowering and supporting each.
County Health Executive, Dr. Elizabeth Ominde posed the question: “How do we view ourselves and our lives as women. If we have a negative view of ourselves, that determines how we act; we will act as victims and people who do not have anything to offer. If we view ourselves as empowered leaders who are partnering with our male colleagues in the community, we will create a transformed society.”
AMWIK Chairperson Pamela Mburia thanked the Governor for supporting women and further urged women leaders to strongly articulate issues in society to make their presence felt.
Recognizing Kisumu women leaders for setting a good example to be emulated in many generations to come, Pamela urged the women MCAs to share their experiences and success with other women in the country to ensure more access leadership.
Noting that AMWIK has trained many women in current and past parliaments on how to effectively deal with media, which has seen them excel in politics, Pamela called for increased collaborations among non-governmental organisations and media towards supporting women to leadership.
“Women need to think of how to move forward in the society. But, do not forget that media is part of your moving forward. Women need to work, not just for our image but also looking at the issues, because the people who elected us expect us to represent them and this will determine whether they bring us back. This (record) will also determine whether other women will get elected. You need to be the ones that set the bar.”
The chairperson said women cannot afford to have divisive politics when it comes to issues and stressed the need for women to have a common stand regardless of party issues.
“Women need to demonstrate that they too have what it takes and can make good leaders when given the opportunity. Women also need to work with media, but always be sure what we are talking about. We must keep the standards high and lay ground for election of more women.”
Happy to be profiled
The women MCAs present expressed their gratitude to AMWIK for building their capacity and helping them to stand boldly before various audiences to articulate their issues.
The women said by documenting their journeys, AMWIK had enabled them to be visible in the society.
The event gave the women MCAs a perfect opportunity to market their outfit, the Kisumu County Assembly Women Caucus (KICAWOCA). Nominated MCA and KICAWOCA’s Coordinator, Hon. Faridah Ahmed Salim articulated the caucus’ vision of ensuring an empowered, gender sensitive and all-inclusive county assembly through ensuring good governance and mainstreaming of gender issues in all the assembly’s undertakings.
Hon. Salim urged Kisumu government to work with the team to ensure effective policies that are gender responsive, putting emphasis on gender responsive budgeting for the smooth operation of county affairs.
She requested the governor for an allocation of funds from the county kitty to boost activities of KICAWOCA.