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WomEN oN tHE moVE

members of county assembly of kisumu 2013-2017

Kingdom of the Netherlands


Women on the move
members of county assembly
kisumu 2013-2017
Women On The Move: Members of County Assembly of Kisumu
2013-2017 is a publication of the Association of Media
Women in Kenya (AMWIK) with support from the Kingdom
of Netherlands and Diakonia-Sweden.

Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK)


Hse No. 6, Wendy Court, David Osieli Rd, Westlands.
P.O. Box 10327-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: + 254 020 4441226/ 0722 201958/0737201958
Fax: +254 020 4441227
Email: info@amwik.org
Website: www.amwik.org

Association of Media Women in Kenya, 2014

ISBN 9966-7163-3-9

Editors: Lilian Juma & Jane Godia


Design & layout: AMWIK

Front Cover photos: Kisumu County Assembly, Nominated


women MCAs (L-R) Carolyne Ogot, Salome Kamonya Lungafa,
Lydia Atieno Ngege and Farida Ahmed Salim.

Back Cover photos: (L-R) Women MCAs in consultation


during Kisumu County Assembly proceedings. Kisumu County
Assembly Speaker Anne Atieno Adul. Deputy Speaker and
Central Kisumu Ward MCA Hon Pamela Apondi Omino.

2 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Table of Contents
8/ Benter Akinyi Ogolla 43/ Nelly Beldinah Osok
West Seme Ward, Seme Constituency Nominated

12/ Carolyne Awino Owen 47/ Nereah Akoth Okombo


Kisumu North Ward, Manyatta B Ward,
Kisumu West Constituency Kisumu East Constituency

16/ Caroliyne Awuor Agwanda 51/ Pamela Akinyi Adhiambo


Nominated Nominated

19/ Carolyne Awuor Ogot 53/ Pamela Apondi Omino


Nominated Central Kisumu Ward,
Kisumu West Constituency
23/ Eunice Atieno Miruka
Nominated 56/ Pamela Awuor Oyoo
Nominated
26/ Farida Ahmed Salim
Nominated 59/ Petronilla Achieng Omondi
South East Nyakach Ward,
30/ Jane Atieno Omolo Nyakach Constituency
Nominated
63/ Priscah Auma Misachi
34/ Lydia Achieng Odhiambo Kaloleni/Shauri Moyo Ward,
Nominated Kisumu Central

37/ Lydia Atieno Ndege 66/ Salome Kamonya Lungafa


Nominated Nominated

40/ Malin Akinyi Atieno 69/ Susan Adhiambo Omollo


Kobura Ward, Nyando Constituency Nominated

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 3


Abbreviations/Acronyms
ALGAK Association of Local Government LDP Liberal Democratic Party of Kenya
Authorities of Kenya
MCA Member of County Assembly
AMWIK Association of Media Women
in Kenya MP Member of Parliament

NDP National Development Party


FIDA-K Federation of Women Lawyers -
Kenya ODM Orange Democratic Movement
Party
FPK Federal Party of Kenya
PDP Peoples Democratic Party
IEBC Independent Electoral and
Boundaries Commission RPK Reform Party of Kenya

KANU Kenya African National TNA The National Alliance


Union Party TSC Teachers Service Commission
KCWLC Kisumu County Women UDFP United Democratic Forum Party
Leadership Caucus
UNWomen United Nations Entity for Gender
KEFEADO Kenya Female Advisory
Organization Equality and the Empowerment
of Women
KICAWOCA Kisumu County Assembly Women
Caucus UPDK United Disabled Persons of Kenya

KIWASCO Kisumu Water Services Company URP United Republican Party

4 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Foreword

S ince the promulgation of the Constitution


of Kenya in 2010, more women have been
elected and nominated to national and county
and Mombasa. In these counties, several trainings
were conducted for women aspirants and leaders
with the goal of encouraging them to vie for
level leadership positions. However, amid these elective positions. As a result, women came out
developments, women aspiring for leadership and in large numbers to vie for parliamentary and
decision-making positions continue to face great county assembly positions.
barriers, a factor that has hindered achievement However, despite the high numbers, few women
of equitable gender representation. made it through party nominations. AMWIK and
This has necessitated more efforts towards the partners carried out further training for the
empowering and supporting women to elected and nominated women leaders, to enable
participate in politics and governance at the local them to participate effectively in leadership and
and national levels. remain visible in the society. In an effort to inspire
In January 2012, the Association of Media and encourage more women to go for leadership
Women in Kenya (AMWIK), in collaboration positions, we celebrate women who have braved
with the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) all odds to make it in politics by documenting
Kenya and Diakonia Kenya, implemented the their journey to leadership.
project, Building and Amplifying Womens Kisumu County was chosen as a pilot project
Voices in Political and Economic Development. for many reasons. Being Kenyas third largest city
The project aimed at promoting the inclusion of after Nairobi and Mombasa, Kisumu is a County
women in the development process by challenging of many firsts. In 1969, Kisumu produced the
undemocratic social, economic, cultural and countrys first elected female MP, Mrs. Grace
political practices as well as structures that are not Onyango, who served in the Second Parliament
favourable to the progress of women and girls. (1969-1974). Earlier in 1965, Onyango made
Kisumu County was identified as one of the history as the first female mayor in East Africa
ten priority areas together with Nairobi, Nakuru, when she was elected the Mayor of Kisumu
Nyandarua, Kwale, Wajir, Isiolo, Kisii, Kericho (1965-1969). In 2006, Kisumu County was

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 5


designated the worlds first Millennium* City by help enhance the participation of Kenyan women
UN-HABITAT. in political and public life, but also contribute
Presently, Kisumu County has the highest towards eliminating barriers that continue to
number of elected female MCAs under the new hamper womens success in all fields.
Constitution. In the March 4, 2013 General We anticipate that the political achievements
Election, seven women - Pamela Apondi Omino, of elected and nominated female MCAs against
Priscah Auma Misachi, Petronilla Apondi, Benter all odds will serve to demonstrate that women
Akinyi Ogolla, Caroline Awino Owen, Nereah can do as well as men if given an opportunity to
Akoth Okombo and Marlin Akinyi Atieno - were lead. We also hope the stories and experiences of
elected members of the County Assembly in the MCAs will inspire more women to take up
Kisumu. Another 12 women were nominated to leadership and change the long held perception
the Assembly. among some electorate that politics is a preserve
The Assembly is also the first in Kenya to have of men.
an all-women duo of Speaker (Anne Atieno Adul) AMWIK and our partnering institutions
and Deputy Speaker (Pamela Apondi Omino). will continue to sensitise Kenyans on womens
The minority whip is also a woman (Carolyne leadership as well as their achievements,
Owen). The County has also been recognised as contribution and challenges in their journey to
the most balanced assembly, with 19 female and leadership. This awareness should help nurture
30 male Members of the County Assembly, thus a society that appreciates and supports efforts
meeting the two-thirds maximum threshold of towards achieving gender equity in Kenya.
either gender to elective and appointive offices, as
stipulated in the Constitution. Pamela Mburia,
We hope that this publication will not only Chairperson, AMWIK

*The Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI), a project of the Earth Institute (Columbia University), was founded in 2006 by world-renowned
development economist Jeffrey D. Sachs to help selected, under-resourced municipalities across sub-Saharan Africa eradicate searing
urban poverty and attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). MCI is helping 11 Millennium Cities in sub-Saharan Africa
become viable and sustainable each with distinct livelihood opportunities, improved access to public services and links both with the
countryside and international markets.

6 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Acknowledgements

T he Association of Media Women in


Kenya (AMWIK) would like to thank
all the women Members of County Assembly
Leadership Opportunities for Women). The
funding for the project and for this booklet has
greatly enhanced the participation and visibility
of Kisumu, who readily shared their journeys of women leaders in Kenya.
to leadership. They openly spoke to us about We acknowledge the support and the role by
their joys, frustrations, pains, achievements FIDA Kenya in the collaborative approach of
and lessons that will inspire many generations building the capacity of women members of
to come. We are truly indebted to you for your county assemblies in the 10 project locations.
time and patience during this process. We specifically recognise the support of the
Special gratitude to Lucy Githaiga (Diakonia Chief Executive Officer, Christine Ochieng,
Kenya Country Programme Manager) and Fred Senior Programme Officer, Transformative
Oundo (Programme Officer, Diakonia Kenya Justice team, Shiro Mogeni-Shilako and
Country Programme), who provided technical Lorraine Ochiel for their input at various stages
support to the project dubbed Building and of publication.
Amplifying Womens Voices in Economic We also thank Lilian Juma (Senior Programmes
and Political Development. This publication Officer), for the overall coordination of this
would not have been successfully completed publication, Jane Godia for editing the content,
without their active contribution as well as the writers who included Lilian Juma, Benard
the involvement of the entire Diakonia Kenya Ogoi and Michael Ochieng and photographer
Country Programme team. Lawrence Muriithi. We cannot forget the
We are greatly indebted to the Kingdom of oversight and support from the AMWIK Board
Netherlands and Diakonia Sweden for financial of Directors that made the production of this
support towards the Building and Amplifying work a success.
Womens Voices in Economic and Political Helen Mudora Obande
Development project under FLOW (Funding Executive Director, AMWIK

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 7


Hon Benter Akinyi Ogola Ndeda
West Seme Ward, Seme Constituency
who achieved such feat.
Although the win came as a surprise, Ndeda
who won on an Orange Democratic Movement
(ODM) party ticket is categorical that the victory
was not a walk in the park.
I did a lot of lobbying and mobilisation
among friends, especially men, to accept and
support my candidature as an equal candidate.
Relating with her, one can easily understand
why the political greenhorn won the hearts of
the electorate in West Seme Ward to secure a
place in the Kisumu County Assembly.
Ndedas strength lies in her robust socialising
skills which she perfected over the years as

F or a ward that has been led by men since


the countrys independence, another
win by a male candidate in the March 4, 2013
a businesswoman and community worker.
It is these flairs that came in handy when she
mobilised people to help her during the election
General Election was widely expected. campaigns.
However, tables turned when Benter Akinyi It was in the late 1990s that Ndeda learnt
Ndeda, a political novice, defied tradition to she could play an influential role in the
defeat three strong male opponents, instantly community. This was during the time that she
getting her name into the political hall of fame operated restaurants and canteens in various
and earning her place among the few women institutions.

8 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


While serving patrons, Ndeda would always enrolled for a certificate course in psychological
inquire about their welfare and in the process counselling at Daystar University, in 2010.
got to know much about their lives and the Besides attending to her business, she would
challenges they faced. juggle between community work and meeting
It was this attachment to people that drew family demands, responsibilities that required
Ndeda into community work within her rural her leadership and managerial skills.
home in Seme. She started working with the Born in August 1965 in Barchando Village in
community in 2002 and she came face to face Bondo District, Ndeda who is married in Reru,
with the realities that people faced, including Seme Constituency, attended Lwala Primary
challenges of poverty, hunger, unemployment School where she did her CPE in 1978. She later
as well as HIV and AIDS among others. In the joined Maasai High School for form one and
course of all this, she found herself playing the two before moving to Makasembo Secondary
role of a psycho-social counsellor. School where she did her O Level examinations
Her shift to counselling was occasioned by in 1982.
a series of tragedies in the family when two of It is at Makasembo that her leadership ability
her brothers died within a span of two weeks was planted, having been chosen a class prefect.
in 2002. Only five years earlier she had lost her She then proceeded to then Nairobi Home
father. I was now bearing the family weight. Economics College of Catering for a Diploma
Both her brothers had died of complications in Catering and Accommodation between 1984
related to HIV and AIDS. She felt guilty, knowing and 1986. Upon graduating, she launched a
the truth about the cause of her brothers deaths, catering business in Kisumu which she has
yet other family members were living in denial, operated to date.
scared of admitting the truth due to the stigma In 2004 Ndeda founded ANIGA Initiative,
attached to HIV and AIDS. a self-help group that has been supporting
Ndeda realised that she had a role to play women but has since escalated to a Community
to change perceptions and attitudes and help Based Organisation. Her leadership skills saw
her community out of ignorance. Ndeda then her appointed to the Kisumu West District

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 9


Poverty Eradication Committee in 2007 where saw the branch strengthened.
she served for a one term of five-years as Her promises during the campaigns were
chairperson. anchored on good representation and proper
Ndeda draws her inspiration from Pastor use of devolved funds to ensure that people who
Martin Bando of Christ Is The Answer voted for her got good roads, health facilities
Ministries (CITAM), Kisumu branch. His belief and quality education.
in her leadership qualities propelled her into the To meet the expectations of her constituents,
limelight. Ndeda has already drawn a Strategic Plan that
One day he selected me together with nine she would like to see implemented for the
other women to lead 10 womens groups in the projects envisaged for West Seme Ward.
church. Every month, each group would give a The priority areas include enhancing access to
presentation in the church through their team clean water, passable roads and health facilities
leader. I had worked with different kinds of for all. She hopes the County government will
women; meeting and helping them in different allocate adequate resources to address the needs
situations and this endeared me to them. of the residents.
By 2011 she was under pressure to vie for a At the County Assembly, Ndeda is the vice
political leadership position. I then started chairperson of Culture, Sports and Children
thinking outside the box and was not only Affairs Committee. She is passionate about
willing to try but determined to actually win a the County Government tackling the socio-
seat. economic challenges facing the community,
Ndeda started by being active in political and more so those afflicting women and youth.
party activities at the grassroots. In 2012, she Her development record includes supporting
successfully vied for the position of ODM party vulnerable women and youth by organising
committee member right from the Sub-Location them into theatre groups to enhance community
to Location, Constituency, up to County level. awareness on HIV and AIDS.
Since then I began recruiting women to the However, she is quick to challenge women
ODM Women Democrats Wing, a move that not to shy away from running for political

10 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


office as they can equally make it in leadership reconciliation as this will create a conducive
positions. environment for development in Kisumu
Ndeda notes that collaboration with County.
stakeholders of diverse interests and parties is Ndeda looks forward to promoting the welfare
important for promoting national cohesion and and protection of children. I will introduce a
development. motion to address rising cases of child abuse in
All leaders should focus on unity and the County.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 11


Hon Caroline Awino Pamela Owen
Kisumu North Ward, Kisumu West Constituency
winning the Kisumu North Ward seat.
Indeed the challenges came. They were abrasive.
In an attempt to scare her out of the March 4, 2013
general election, Owen was branded a prostitute
at the onset of her campaigns but did not flee
from any of it.
Instead, she surprised both friend and foe,
when she simply accepted the title, and joked
that her relocation from her ancestral home
in Siaya County to her matrimonial home in
Kisumu County was, not be a catholic nun
and, if prostitution is the word for it, then that be
her fate as a woman! She never let the insults and
vulgarities intimidate her. Instead, she kept her

A n astute politician in the real sense of the


word, when Hon Caroline Owen hit the
campaign trail ahead of the 2013 general election,
eyes on the price and won.
The strength of a building can only be tested
and proven by how firm it stands despite the
she knew well that politics had no place for the changing and challenging seasons.
faint-hearted. After winning the ODM Party nominations
She was aware that challenges were inevitable in March 2013, Owen was assured of a smooth
and they could either build or destroy her. stub at the general elections. The rude awakening
However, being a leader meant that she must when the party allegedly gave its ticket to a
take a stand and remain focused on her goal of loser instead jerked her into a whole new set of

12 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


events that led to her election on the little known Cooperation Women Network Kenya Chapter
Reform Party of Kenya, (RPK). Because of this, among many other leadership positions.
my supporters realised that the most important Her stint in the County Assembly where
thing is the individual, not the party agenda. Her she serves as a member of the Public Health,
strong will, hard work and determination saw her Environment and Budget Committees among
beat all odds to overcome the ODM Party wave others that have seen her actively participate in
and get elected on the FPK ticket. She trounced community development, including debating
eight men. motions on the Assembly floor.
The 2013 elections were not her first. In She is keen to defend devolution and ensure
2007 Owen was first elected unopposed as the that community initiated projects are given
councilor for Kisumu North Ward on the RPK priority throughout her term as the representative
Party ticket. of Kisumu North Ward. Owen envisions
Owen, the Minority Whip in the Kisumu Kisumu County as an icon of self-sufficiency
County Assembly demonstrates that she has in Agriculture, Economic Development, Trade,
not just taken a stand for herself but for the Tourism and a sanctuary of peace and security in
benefit of the people of Kisumu North Ward, the Kenya.
women and the nation at large. She remains a Owen is working on two crucial bills that she
force to reckon with in Kisumu County politics says will see Kisumu County ahead of the pack
and womens participation in decision-making in terms of embracing the spirit and of Chapter
platforms that have seen her also get elected Eleven of the Constitution of Kenya. Renown
chairlady of the Kisumu County Assembly for her stand on the anti cultural sitting astride
Women Caucus (KICAWOCA). She also position on bikes, Owen maintains women
served as national secretary of the Association ought to be weary of how wearing skirts and
of Local Government Authorities of Kenya sitting position reflect on our culture and mien
(ALGAK) Women Councilors Caucus when as a people hoping to preserve their culture
she was councilor for East Kisumu Ward and as and heritage. She further notes that the new
chairperson of the Lake Region Local Authorities traffic regulations banning the side-ways sitting

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 13


position on bikes is ill informed since the drafters herself attending political rallies. She recalls a
do not have first hand experience on that mode day when she was the only girl at a political rally.
of transportation and therefore cannot purport However, this did not deter her. Instead she was
to understand the predicament of women, such encouraged to press on because she was clear that
as myself, bound by culture, religion, status in women and girls needed to be assertive to rise
society or shear comfort, to sit sideways and into leadership and political positions.
are happy doing so. She promises to fight the Owen always admired how elderly leaders
regulation, noting that all Kenyans have a right articulated issues on political reform. The late
to choose how they ride, including the minority Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was the source of her
who sit sideways, who are mainly women. inspiration because he was wise.
When still in primary school, Owen knew what Just like her role model, Owen dreamt of
her focus in life was. Although a quiet student, she running for the presidency. I always like to lead,
was clear and emphatic about what she believed do things with people as well as help others achieve
in and wanted to do. Because of this stand, she their goals. Her entry into politics was driven by
always found herself on the wrong side with the need to serve people. Her soft-spoken nature
teachers, parents and fellow students. greatly endeared her to the electorate.
Owen grew up in the political shadows of the Her strategy has been to listen to the voices of
Odinga family, keenly following Nyanza political her constituents and not impose her will on them.
dynamics as the lakeside region shifted from I did not launch myself on the platform by telling
Ford Kenya to National Development Party, people nimetosha because you dont just say you
New KANU, Liberal Democratic Party, National want to be the MP or Councilor. Let the people
Rainbow Coalition (NARC) and later ODM. themselves tell you to go for it.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga wanted her to become Born on 20th October 1969, Owen attended
a teacher because, as a teacher, you will always Maranda Primary School before proceeding to
develop yourself career-wise and do anything you Nyakongo Girls High School where she stayed
want. Although she was very young at the advent up to form three.
of multi-partyism in 1992, Owen always found She would later relocate to Majiwa Secondary

14 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


School where she sat for her Certificate of women like to stay in the village. She would engage
Secondary Education in 1987. with women and the youth in the community to
She later attained a Diploma in Public Relations provide labour. While at it, she found that a lot of
from the International Centre for Management in young people were dropping out of school while
Nairobi. She later worked with the Coffee Research women were struggling to eke a living. Whatever
Foundation in Ruiru as a research assistant from they were earning each day would only buy food,
1989 to October 2002. Her 14-year employment firewood, and water, leaving them with nothing.
at the parastatal saw her elected secretary to the To mitigate against the challenges facing the
credit committee of the giant Jacaranda SACCO women, she decided to organise them into groups
where she served until 2002 when restructuring to empower themselves economically.
of the human resource saw her among the She quickly organised the women to start Mama
retrenched employees. The setback did not deter Power Development an organization through
her from scaling the heights of leadership. which the women would be able to support their
A mother of three boys aged between 10 and childrens education.
22 years, Owen decided to get into business, What influenced the choice of name? I thought
traversing the East African countries to supply about this name because I felt that women had a
dagaa (omena) for animal feeds. We would get lot of power and could easily make use of it.
orders from companies like Unga Feeds and Little did she know that this would be hers
Milling Corporation of Kenya in Nakuru to for the taking as today she is fondly referred
deliver some of the supplies. to as Mama Power. She is also the patron of
Later on she decided to venture into farming Mama Power Development Women Group and
after relocating to the village from her Nairobis member of Kisumu North District Education
South B estate home where she left her young Board. Owen who has bigger political dreams
family under the care of her husband to look after advises women keen on political leadership to
her ailing mother-in-law. have a broad agenda for their people instead of
This was a very rare move because not many only concentrating on womens issues.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 15


Hon Caroline Awuor Agwanda, Nominated
about her leadership skills which started at
a very early age when she was a student at
Nyabondo Girls School. In retrospect, she
realises that teachers had identified her as a
leader despite the stigma persons with disability
endure even in schools.
Children can be so insensitive to the
extent of making nasty comments about ones
impairment.
For a child or a person with disability it
takes extra skills to manage and deal with the
ridicule that comes from the society. However,
once you are above the societys standards
and expectations, the support you get from
communities is amazing.

T he visionary Caroline Agwanda has


built a reputation as a human rights
campaigner and is particularly vocal about the
Married with one child, Agwanda has
previously received good publicity about her
skills in entrepreneurship and management of
rights of people with disability. the environment.
It is this that saw her nominated by the ODM Agwanda is the chairperson of the Hyacinth
party to represent special interest groups as the and Ornaments Production Enterprise
representative for persons with disability. (HOPE), a community based organisation that
Soft spoken yet stern, Agwanda reminisces comprises largely of persons with disability.

16 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


HOPE uses the hyacinth weed to produce community leadership. Her mantra, which
outstanding products that include mats, is do not be part of the problem but always
baskets and bags. They also produce other be part of the solution, helped us settle well
African based jewellery and outfits for sale. in unfamiliar territories within the political
Her leadership has seen the organisation framework.
engage in high-level exchange and marketing We always ensure that we contribute to
programmes including attending exhibitions the development of our parties either through
in Uganda and Rwanda, as well as international funds mobilisation or technical support.
trade fairs in Finland, Norway, and New York, She was inspired into political leadership
among others. by Martha Karua, a veteran politician who
Through the support of the United Disabled was also a presidential candidate in the 2013
Persons of Kenya (UDPK) and National General Election.
Council for Persons with Disability, the She admired the courage that Karua took
organisation was able to secure a shop at to run for the top seat in the country amidst
Kisumu International Airport, which acts many challenges, which ranged from gender
as a marketing outlet for goods produced by stereotyping and violence to limited financial
persons with disability. resources.
It is actually through the capacity building What inspired me is her resilience to
and leadership programme at the UDPK that fight the war to the end. Her spirit remained
the urge to engage in politics seriously was unbowed. Now that she is sitting in the
ignited for Agwanda. Kisumu County Assembly, Agwanda hopes to
The Director of UDPK at that time, Helen strengthen ODMs performance in disability
Obande, kept reminding us that if persons mainstreaming.
with disability are not represented around the A research on Disability and Political
table, then our issues will take a back seat. representation that was conducted in 2013
Obande pushed us to fight and jostle for indicates that ODM is the most disability
our spaces within the parties and also in inclusive party.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 17


The party has adopted some inclusion and her into the current leadership role. Electoral
reasonable accommodation measures. and political leadership requires the support
Agwanda hopes to entrench this practice of those around us, from family to friends and
in policy and practice. She is also optimistic officials within political parties because every
that she will promote inclusive legislation and support counts. Her advice to women who
policies in the Kisumu County Assembly. have an interest in politics is to make their
Agwanda appreciates the role played by intention known and to engage very closely
her party members and leaders, the womens with parties as they are the main avenues to
wing, friends and her husband in catapulting political leadership in Kenya.

18 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Hon Carolyne Awuor Ogot, Nominated
employed as a clinical officer.
To ensure the centres sustainability, Ogot
went into the business of buying Nile Perch
fish bones which she would then use to make
jewellery. These were sold and the proceeds
used to buy food for the children.
Through the innovation she received attention
from media houses. The best thing that came
out of her efforts is that the fish bones, that
were an eyesore within Kisumu Municipality,
had now become a treasured resource.
Other than working with destitute children,
she also mobilised resources that would be
used towards womens empowerment.

E ven before the 2013 General Election Ogot, the secretary of Kisumu County
Hon Caroline Ogot had made a name Assembly Women Caucus is a trained primary
for herself, being outspoken on womens and school teacher with a rich teaching experience
childrens rights in Kisumu. in different rural schools between 1989 and
She had already established Shinners Centre, 1996. She attended Rapogi Girls Boarding
a community based organisation in 1997, School in South Nyanza, before joining Ahero
which works to improve the welfare of women, Girls Secondary School. She later joined New
youth and children. Kisumu High for Form Five and Six. She
With Ogot as founder and coordinator, the also holds a Higher Diploma in Community
centre prides itself in having cared for over Development from the University of Nairobi
72 disadvantaged children, one of who is now and is currently pursuing a degree in Education

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 19


at the Kenyatta University. politics through affirmative action that gave
However, while she has enjoyed working with Ogot reason to try her hand in what is known
the needy in society, it was no secret that she as the dirty game.
feared elective politics, which she saw as a big I only got interested in politics in this
headache for aspirants. new era of devolution that allows us (county
When the 2013 General Election approached, assembly representatives) to pass policies that
Ogot set her sight on a nominative position. but touch womens lives positively and be able to
she was mistaken in thinking this was the easy speak for the voiceless. The previous political
way out. When she applied for nomination as system did not offer such an opportunity and
Member of the County Assembly, Ogot realised to me this politics was not worth it.
that there was no difference between elective Ogot is the deputy chair of the Welfare and
and nominative positions in politics as both Equal Opportunities Committee and also sits
required spirited lobbying and campaigning. in the County Assemblys Health, Agriculture
At the time of sending in her application, and Labour Committees.
Ogot was not sure if the Orange Democratic The devolved system of governance has
Movement (ODM) party would nominate her. given us an opportunity to do a lot of oversight
I believe the work I did in helping women to ensure that budgets are gender sensitive and
and children in the community, as well as the monies utilised properly. It has also given me a
publicity from media gave me a higher stake platform to extend the work that Im doing in
than the other hopefuls. the community.
Working with the media in Kisumu made me Ogot minces no words in spelling out where
realise that it is the best platform one can use to her loyalty lies. I am a loyal member of ODM
push for what they want. They will highlight you and have been in every party that Hon. Raila
in the public and give you an image. I believe Odinga has been involved in.
they have the capacity to influence people. Although Ogot holds no position within the
It is the new Constitution, which opened political party, she views herself as a public
up space for women to be involved more in speaker. She has worked closely with politicians

20 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


including Peter Odoyo, former Nyakach MP, (SDA) Church was her first mentor in her
John Olago Aluoch (who has been the Kisumu journey to leadership.
Town West MP from 2007 to date), and 2013 Mama Edith realised that I was very timid
parliamentary hopeful, Farida Salim who while growing up and pointed this out,
is now a nominated member of the County cautioning me that the world out there is so
Assembly in Kisumu. hostile and I must learn to speak out.
Born 46 years ago, raised and married in In the political sphere, her role models
Nyakach, Ogot is a mother of three sons. The include Mama Phoebe Asiyo, who is the former
first born in a family of seven, she commends Member of Parliament for Karachuonyo and
her parents, especially her stern mother Kezia Mama Grace Ogot, who served as MP for
Ojenge, for teaching her strong Christian Gem.
values of honesty, integrity and respect for These leaders have shown the strength of
fellow women. Her mother, who was a nurse, a woman and proved to the nation, especially
also pushed her to explore potential to solve the Luo community, that women can lead even
and overcome challenges as a team. better. They are humble, respectful, committed
Ogot credits her philanthropic work to and focused all the way.
lessons from her father. He was orphaned at a I admire both Ogot and Asiyo for their
tender age and brought up in the hands of well- strength and capability to rise above a culture
wishers in the community. This formed the basis that looks down upon women. They were able
of my foundation to leadership and eventually to rise above criticism and abuse and did not
moulded me into service for the people, more invite negative publicity to themselves.
so the less fortunate and vulnerable in the Ogot also admires the late Princess Diana of
society. Wales for carrying herself in humility and for
At different stages of life, Ogot has come her generosity. You cannot feed people by the
across different personalities who are special word; you have to feel with them, know when
in one way or another in her life. Mama Edith they are hungry and cannot afford it and know
Watta, an elder at the Seventh Day Adventist when they are in need.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 21


You have to empathise with them and come womens leadership has not been embraced.
down to their level. You cannot stay up there Emphasising that information is power, Ogot
and expect them to feel with you. Sometimes advises leaders, and especially women aspiring
you have to learn to go down and other times for elective positions, to seek information, read
you have to rise up. and consult widely as well as work with other
Ogot has won an award for her philanthropic actors such as media.
work. In the aftermath of the 2007 post- Ogot prefers to sit down with people to plan
election violence, Ogot worked hard to provide and accomplish development in the community.
basic needs to the victims, and was awarded She wants to ensure that during this term in
the Walking the Talk Award by the Norwegian the County Assembly, resources will reach the
Embassy. people for public good.
Ogot acknowledges that despite efforts Most importantly, she wants to make sure
towards gender equality, certain gaps still that her people are well represented to get their
exist , especially in culture and religion where share from the devolved government.

22 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Hon Eunice Atieno Miruka, Nominated
colleagues first. They deny me the chance to
speak, especially when its group discussion.
Miruka is no ordinary 24-year-old. Listening to
her, one cannot help agreeing that she is indeed
in the right place and that politics is her forte.
I dont feel intimidated being the youngest
member in the county. I always counter
the bullying by insisting on speaking in the
Assembly. Some of my friends instruct our
colleagues to wait until I speak. Its just a
matter of making friends with those you can
for support.
Miruka has come to understand that in
politics men still see women as flower girls;

A t only 24 years, Kisumu County


Assemblys youngest member, Eunice
Atieno Miruka has achieved what many of her
they do not see them as leaders so women
have to stand strong to be heard. Her advice
to women is that they must face challenges
age mates would only dream of and that which head on if they want to climb up the political
some of her colleagues seem to think is a task ladder.
too big for her. Orphaned in 1996 at the age of six, a year
I am often bullied by colleagues who refer before she joined nursery class at Chepterit
to me as a child. When I want to make Primary School in Eldoret (now in Kapsabet
contributions Im told you child you cannot County), Miruka knew that she had to shed
tell us anything... can we hear from your the baby tag and chart her own path as she

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 23


puts it to record that she will pursue her highest Born in Kano on November 20th, 1990
potential in politics. Miruka was raised in Nyakach. She did not vie
Being in the Kisumu County Assembly is not for any political position in the last General
her first major assignment. Soon after sitting Election, nor did she apply for nomination.
Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education She believes working with the youth in
(KCSE) examination at Bodi Secondary School Nyakach highly influenced her nomination
in upper Nyakach, Miruka volunteered as because the youth are the ones who were
English, Maths and Swahili teacher at Soku pushing me to go and represent them in the
Primary School from January to March 2010. County Assembly.
She joined Kaimosi Teachers Training College We are in a world where men want to
from 2010 to 2012 and graduated as a primary dominate everything. So for a woman to
school teacher. succeed, you have to double your resources
She had another stint as a volunteer teacher compared to men. Men were unfair in the
at Olwalo Primary School from January to July campaign trail as they would hurl insults at
2013, when the Orange Democratic Movement women competitors to demoralise and even
(ODM) party nominated her to represent stop them from addressing gatherings in the
the interests of youth in the Kisumu County community. All in all we survived and captured
Assembly. seats.
Other than teaching, Miruka has done a lot Miruka recognises her father-in-law John
of community work with youth in Nyakach, Oketch and Ochieng Daima, former MP for
encouraging them to form groups that will Nyakach, as the people who inspired her into
enable them easily access support to improve joining politics. A virtue that she admires from
their livelihoods. her father-in-law is that he solves issues as
She has helped build the capacity of young they are. He tells the truth, is transparent and
girls in the community on how to behave while accountable.
in school and ensure they complete their basic On the other hand, the former MP saw her
education. leadership potential and urged her on. He used

24 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


to say that I could be a leader and when people abusive language on their opponents.
discouraged me, saying that I was still young Mirukas advice to the youth is that nothing
could not make it on a political platform, it is he comes on a silver platter. They should fight
who encouraged me, saying a day would come and find their own space. They should identify
when I would be able to stand on a platform to their talents, come out and implement them in
solve issues and influence people. the society.
Miruka also praises ODM as a party with Mirukas agenda during her political term is
a good profile that is keen to address societal to see change in the lives of youth. Many youth
problems. cannot find jobs because employers have high
She views politics as important in her life expectations that every potential employee
because it makes us get the good leaders that must have work experience of up to 10 years.
we want. We know they are good leaders when Look at my age now, where can I get such
we can see what they tell us. experience if I was to be employed now? I want
It is for us to choose between those who to draft a bill to enable youth get jobs even
address our issues effectively and those who lie without long work histories. This will ensure
to us. In politics we can differentiate between the youth stop lagging behind.
honest and deceitful leaders. In the County Assembly, Miruka sits in three
She laments that there are many women who committees Security and Administration,
are educated but just sit at home. They should Roads and Public Works, as well as House
come out and show their potential because Procedures and Rules.
I know they are talented but sitting on their Miruka attended Chepterit Primary School
talents. Miruka would want a society that does in Eldoret up to Standard Six from 1997-2003,
not underrate or discourage those who want then joined Mill Hill Mission School where she
to vie for leadership positions, regardless of sat her KCPE.
age and gender. Society should let everybody She then joined Bodi Secondary School in
find their spaces. She urges politicians to Nyakach from 2006-2009. She is married in
endeavour to articulate issues rather than using Central Nyakach with one child.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 25


Hon Farida Ahmed Salim, Nominated
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party
ticket for the Kisumu Central parliamentary
seat.
Although she lost the ticket to Ken Mirenga
Obura, who is the sitting MP, the ODM
nominations remind her of how relentlessly
she needs to achieve her political ambition. Her
position is that women need to strategise on
how best to engage at party primaries which is
critical in an election process. As a first timer,
one is bound to make many mistakes, but it is
a learning process and women should not be
discouraged.
In many instances Salim came face-to-

S he is measured and assertive when she face with gender based violence during her
speaks and easily appeals to her varied campaigns, including verbal and physical
audiences. Her posture, grace, charm and good violence against women.
grasp of the national and local Kisumu politics She did not give up but instead continued
is enviable. playing a prominent role in campaigning for
Listening to Hon Farida Ahmed Salim, one and publicising the party and its candidates in
immediately concludes that she is a veteran the general election.
politician. Yet Salim is a newcomer in politics. She managed to secure a chance at the partys
She made her debut into politics in the 2013 National Executive Council (NEC) and Friends
General Election when she presented herself of Raila (FORA) Movement the organs
for nomination with the hope of winning the that vigorously campaigned for the ODM

26 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


presidential flag bearer, Hon Raila Odinga. Her leadership ability manifested much
It is no wonder then that when Salim applied earlier when she was appointed class prefect
to ODM for nomination as a Member of the at Kaloleni Primary School and then head-girl
County Assembly, she got overwhelming in Kisumu Girls High School where she won
support from the party, friends and family as the hearts of fellow pupils and students with
well as the entire Kisumu community. her ability to solve problems and deal with
Salims roots are in Kisumu County where issues presented to her. This earned her the
she was born and raised. She attended Kaloleni reputation as one of the best leaders in both
Primary School until 1987, before joining schools histories.
Kisumu Girls High School, leaving in 1991. She Salim became actively involved with the
then joined Kenyatta University for a Degree in community from 2003 while lecturing at
Education, graduating in 1997. Kisumu Polytechnic. Through the community
Salim then lectured at Kisumu Polytechnic work, she confronted abject poverty and
for 15 years from1998. While at Kisumu suffering of the people around her. These
Polytechnic, she coordinated the gender challenges inspired her ambition for political
mainstreaming committee under which she leadership and strengthened her urge to
trained student leaders on gender issues as well participate in decision-making platforms
as leadership and governance. within the community.
Her friends and colleagues describe her as Being in a leadership position would provide
brave, courageous and resourceful. Salim credits the much needed platform to address the
her strength and assertiveness to her upbringing peoples needs. Salim is a founder member
in a strict Muslim family background. and the secretary of Kisumu County Women
My parents not only believed in educating Leadership Caucus (KCWLC) that aims to
girls but also taught us strong religious values empower and nurture women leaders to take
of caring for the deprived in society. My dad up leadership positions and actively participate
would always advise us to exalt God in whatever in development matters of Kisumu county. In
we do and to always pray. the County Assembly, she is the coordinator

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 27


of Kisumu County Assembly Women Caucus Management at the University of Nairobi, has
(KICAWOCA) which desires to translate the remained consistent in promoting development
number of women in the county assembly and social reforms in her community.
into meaningful participation. The nominated She played a critical role during and after
positions, for her are a yardstick of measuring the 2007 post-election violence where she
the performance of women that will in future championed peace and trained survivors,
decide whether women should be voted in or community and religious leaders in Kisumu,
not. Kisii and Homa Bay counties on how to
Farida says in order for the electorate to be overcome stigma associated with gender based
convinced by womens leadership, the women violence, self-denial and discrimination.
must work very hard and ensure they deliver In September 2012, Salim stopped teaching
services to the society and shun any forms of much to the chagrin and surprise of her close
corruption in their lines of duty. associates, but with a lot of support from her
New women leaders have to set the pace for husband and father. I wanted to be part and
other women in order to open more spaces. parcel of the decision-making platform.
In 2004, Salim founded the WINAM Self- For the time she has been in Kisumu County
Help Group a social outfit aimed at uniting Assembly where she represents the marginalised,
Muslim women. Later, she found the Kisumu Salim has committed her time towards ensuring
Muslim Development Initiative, a community that decision-making processes are transparent
based organisation focused on addressing and all inclusive.
challenges facing ordinary Muslim women, She has also constantly advocated for access
which she cites as early marriage, high illiteracy to reproductive and maternal health care and
levels and high school dropout among Muslim by the time of publishing this book, Salim had
girls, as well as reluctance to openly talk about presented two motions on high maternal and
their health issues. child mortality and the need for a womens
Salim who is currently pursuing a Master hospital in Kisumu county, waiting to be
of Arts Degree in Project Planning and tabled in the Assembly. She plans to establish

28 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


a fund for community health workers to help (Mobilising Advocates from Civil Society)
empower them to be effective and help boost Kenya and is currently mentoring young
service delivery in their line of duty within the women leaders in the Jua Jimbo project of the
County. Youth Alive! Kenya.
Salim who represents Kisumu County She also has lots of appreciation for Mrs.
Assembly in the Governing Council of County Munira Gilani, Manager of Gilani Holdings
Assemblies Forum notes unemployment has Limited in Kisumu. She has been very
given rise to high levels of insecurity, which instrumental especially in supporting me in
continues to scare away investors from Kisumu areas where we share problems. I have learnt
County. alot from her. As the first female President of
Operating under the notion that Politics is the Aga Khan Council of Kisumu, she kept on
Not War, Salim enjoys good rapport with her encouraging me to press on with my political
colleagues in the assembly. ambitions.
Being a first timer in politics, Salim has
She hopes to be the voice of reason in her
learnt to harden herself and press on through
legislative, oversight and representation roles.
the rough terrain. Politics is part and parcel
She is a member of the following committees
of our lives. It is what defines our actions, and
House Business, Justice and Legal Affairs,
therefore a critical aspect of our lives that cannot
Welfare and Equal Opportunities, ICT and
be ignored and it is not for the fainthearted.
e-governance, Privileges, Finance and Health
Salim is happy with the positive coverage she
Services where she is the vice chair. gets in the media and thanks the Association of
Salim who is a member of the Kenya Female Media Women in Kenya, (AMWIK) for that.
Advisory Organisation (KEFEADO) fondly I am now able to realise that our work is not
mentions its founder, the late Dolphine Oketch going to be in vain. she remarks.
for mentoring her into leadership through On whether she will again vie for the Kisumu
trainings and capacity building. Central Parliamentary seat, the answer is: The
The MCA is also a member of MACS Sky is the limit.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 29


Hon Jane Atieno Omollo, Nominated
leader and conscious of the need to make the
world a better place, especially for women. I
wanted to lead from a young age and to sensitise
women on leadership.
This was informed by the fact that in her home
area women are shy, they dont want to come
outyou will find a very well educated woman
who cannot even talk in front of men.
When women go to general meetings, you
will find them tying lessos round their waists to
sit on grass even when there are seats, yet both
men and women were created equal in Gods
eyes.
Omollos advice to women is that they should

O ne cannot stop admiring her humour,


high negotiating skills and powerful
voice as she discourses conversantly on national
not lower their dignity because even the men
do not tell them to sit on grass.
Wherever Omollo has traversed, even in party
politics. Precisely, she is confident, tactical, politics, she has never shied away from expressing
sociable and compassionate, factors that make her interest to lead. In ODM, I showed interest
Hon Jane Omollo a skilled politician. that I wanted to lead in the party very early and
Omollos interest in public leadership started I have done the same in many organisations
in school where she was eloquent in debate, within Kisumu County successfully.
and this often saw her getting into positions She has served as assistant secretary for
of leadership. The responsibilities honed her Maendeleo ya Wanawake (MYWO), the largest
leadership skills. She grew up aspiring to be a womens grassroots body in Kenya in the greater

30 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Nyando District. Omollo has been in politics into the station near Ahero town.
since the beginning of multipartyism when While Omollo did not apply to be nominated,
the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga led Ford she believes she may have been selected by ODM
party before it was split. She later interacted for being an active party member.
with all the other parties that were related to I have participated in many party elections,
Raila Odinga before ending up at the Orange from grassroots to county level, in which I was
Democratic Movement (ODM) party. She first elected the deputy treasurer of ODM mainstream
participated in politics by attending rallies then since 2010. I did mobilisation for ODM soon
later developed an interest in holding leadership after the nomination exercise ahead of the last
positions at the grassroots, a move that saw election.
people notice her. Before vying for the deputy treasurers position
During the ODM party nominations ahead in ODM, Omollo served as assistant secretary
of the general election, Omollo joined the race for ODM in Ahero sub-location (2004-2010).
with the ambition of becoming Member of the In 2006, she became the partys national delegate
County Assembly for Onjiko Awasi Ward. for Kisumu County until 2010.
However, she was pressed upon to step Due to lack of knowledge, she did not apply
down in favour of a male hopeful after party for nomination. I did not know that those
negotiations. Then she was the deputy treasurer interested in being nominated were supposed to
of ODM in Kisumu County. apply. However, my people were confident that
Omollo recalls with horror the violence meted I would get a nomination because they were
on women during campaigns ahead of the 2013 pushing for it and word had already spread.
general election which were both verbal and When the partys regional office set out to look
physical. for strong and active members for nomination,
She was attacked by gun-wielding thugs they invited suggestions from people on the
allegedly hired by her political opponents. ground on who their preferred candidate for
Fortunately, the location of assault was next to nomination would be. Omollo is the only
a police post and my driver brilliantly drove fast nominated member of County Assembly from

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 31


Nyando Constituency. The people said I was When people kept telling me to vie for a
the best because they had seen how I had worked political position and even assuring me that they
for the party and community. Ive always been would vote for me, I kept telling them, my time
active in the party. will come, and Gods time is the best, just give
However, when the Independent and Electoral me time.
Boundaries Commission (IEBC) gazetted Other than politics, Omollo is very generous
nominees, her name was missing. In her place to the vulnerable. Ive paid school fees for needy
was a male nominee, a Mr Washington Auma students.
whose name was abbreviated as W. Auma Oriare You know even when you give a person a bottle
so IEBC assumed from the surname Auma that of water, she or he will never forget. I think thats
it was a woman. how they judged me.
On realising the mistake, her supporters Her role models include Martha Karua, Mrs.
pushed her to pursue the matter in Nairobi. Charity Ngilu and veteran politician, Phoebe
IEBC had stated clearly that people with Asiyo. She admires Ngilu and Karua for their
complaints should lodge them within three days courage. I fell in love with Ngilu when she
and the list was published in the newspapers on declared her interest in the presidency. I asked
Saturday so I had to rush to Nairobi to lodge my myself, who is this bold young girl and what
complaint. is in her mind to emerge and declare that she
At IEBC, upon approval by the party, her wants to be president of Kenya? I supported and
complaint was confirmed to be genuine. even voted for her.
Born on February 11th, 1959 in Kakolla, Ahero For Karua, she notes: For somebody who
sub-Location, Nyando Constituency (now can face a man and tell him to his face, you
Nyando Sub-County in Kisumu) and married cannot bwogo (intimidate) me... its not a matter
in Onjiko Awasi Ward in Nyando Sub County, of fighting but when Karua makes a point, she
Omollo was nominated to represent womens wants it to be understood very clearly. When
interests. The mother of eight had never vied for she stood to talk in Parliament everyone listened
a civic seat before due to lack of resources. and Ive never heard anybody shouting her down.

32 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


She is very eloquent and straight to the point. transferred to Got Rateng in Kasipul Kabondo in
Omollo remembers Asiyo as the lady who stood South Nyanza where she did her CPE in 1975.
firm and advocated for women to be included in From 1976-1979 she attended Nyabururu
affairs of the county, including membership to Secondary School in Kisii where she did her
the Luo Council of Elders. KAPE. She later trained as a teacher at Thogoto
Culturally, Luos believe women do not grow Teachers Training College in Kiambu County
old and, therefore, cannot join the Luo Council in 1981.
of Elders. But Asiyo who is now the chairperson She taught at Okiro Primary School between
of the Luo Women Council of Elders asked 1984 and 1988, then left to venture into business
them; when you marry, you marry when you are in 1990, selling grains at Nyamakima in Nairobi
young. When the man grows old and becomes until she joined politics as an activist.
a Luo elder why cant the woman who has also Among other leadership positions she has
grown old with him become a Luo elder? Now held are serving in the Board of Governors of
women have been included in the council of Ahero Sub-District Hospital as treasurer until
elders. 2013. She is a founder of the JOJAMESHO
She thanks the civil society for continuously Sacco based in Kisumu, an organisation that
empowering women who she encourages to boasts of over 600 members.
actively engage in politics and contest for all Omollo is a member and treasurer for Water
elective positions. There are no short cuts. Resource Users Association (WRUA) established
Women must not sit back and wait for affirmative under Water Resource Management Authority
action. (WARMA) in Kisumu town.
Omollo taught in different schools before In the Kisumu County Assembly, Omollo
joining politics. She last taught in Okiro Primary sits in three committees Selection, Water
School as an Early Childhood Development and Resource Management and Legislative
(ECD) teacher before resigning to do business Delegated. Her development plan includes
and farming. She attended Karanda Primary prioritising community water projects and adult
School in Ahero for five years before being education.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 33


Hon Lydia Achieng Odhiambo, Nominated
the first form one student to contribute in the
school debating competition.
Since then, the 31-year-old County member
has been passionate about gender issues and
the need for women to equitably participate
in decision-making. She has never shied
away from having her voice heard on this.
Born in Nyabondo Location, Nyakach
constituency, Odhiambo who was nominated
to represent the interests of youth in the
Kisumu County Assembly and is currently
serving as assistant secretary of KICAWOCA,
studied at Kabete Primary School from 1989
to 1996 before proceeding to Sinyolo Girls

A lthough she missed an opportunity


to join the Kenya Medical Training
College in 2007, her passion for community
Secondary School.
She then taught at Kabete and Nyabondo
primary schools, both located in the county,
service saw her volunteer at Nyakach Network as an untrained teacher between 2007 and
for People with HIV and AIDS (NYANEPHA) 2008.
in Nyakach Constituency. In April 2011, she moved to Rwandas St
This provided an opportunity for Hon Lydia Vincent Palotti Nursery and Primary Schools
Achieng Odhiambo to sharpen her oratory in Masaka Village, where she worked until
skills. Seven years earlier in 1997 as a Form November 2012.
One student, she realised her leadership Upon her return to Kenya from Rwanda, she
potential at Sinyolo Girls High School. I was registered for a diploma in Early Childhood

34 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Development Education at Potential Institute She also looks up to Mbita legislator, Hon
of Education in Kisumu. Millie Odhiambo, whom she describes as a
Although she has always liked politics, fighter who started her political journey as a
Odhiambo says discrimination against women nominated MP. If you look at her today, she has
in politics discouraged her from vying for any climbed up the ladder. Odhiambo applauds
position in the 2013 General Election. the cordial relationship that they experience
I have, however, learnt to be confident and in the Assembly. She notes her readiness for
now I am a member of the Kisumu County effective and active participation of women
Assembly, using my position to ensure that and youth in the County Assembly.
motions and bills brought before the County Her advice to women: It matters not the
Assembly are sensitive to the youth and position you are in, just strive to be better,
womens issues. show interest in whatever opportunity and go
Odhiambo is not new to party factions. She for it.
served as youth delegate representing Nyakach Odhiambos priority during this term in the
Constituency in the Orange Democratic Assembly will be to ensure implementation of
Movement (ODM) party from 2010 to 2012. all projects designed to assist the community.
Later when disagreements emerged, she To achieve this, she counts on her honesty,
joined hands with like-minded colleagues transparency and accountability to the youth
from Upper Nyakach to form the Upper that she represents in the County Assembly.
Nyakach Youth Alliance where she was elected Her debating skills are evident in her eloquence
secretary. Her duties included Mobilising and grasp of County Assembly matters.
youth to actively and peacefully engage in In the Kisumu County Assembly, she
political dispensation. serves in the ICT committee where she is
One of Odhiambo role models in politics the vice chairperson and also sits in various
is former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, committees namely ECD, Culture and
because of the tribulations he went through Community Services, Delegated County
to open up the democratic space in Kenya. Legislation, Agriculture, Health and Selection

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 35


committees. In 2013 Odhiambo witnessed referring to me.
violence perpetrated against women and was Then came another forum where she
left in total shock. witnessed her female colleague who is an
She fondly remembers the events in one elected MCA (name withheld) face the
rally where people insisted that she talks, political baptism in a manner that sent chills
This guy said that, Lydia is very young, tell down her spine.
her to go slow, she is like somebodys project. Otieno embarrassed her that she lost
Then somebody shouted from the crowd the courage to address her supporters that
that Otieno (not his real name) will kill you, evening.

36 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Hon Lydia Atieno Ndege, Nominated
with the Centre for Multiparty Democracy
(CMD), they would assess women aspirants for
possible assistance through posters and logistics
to enable women ascend to leadership.
I chose PDP because of its manifesto as I was
impressed by the partys slogan, Mamlaka kwa
Wananchi, which means Power to the People.
I saw it as the best platform to enhance service
delivery to the people, especially the young
generation.
Vying for a political seat did not cross Ndeges
mind because it never occurred to her that she
could seek a political position. I cannot say I
was not ready, but even for you to vie, you need

I t never dawned on Hon Lydia Atieno


Ndege that she would one day represent
the aspirations of the youth through a political
a platform and PDP gave me the platform to
belong.
Ndeges nomination through the Peoples
platform. To her, participation in the activities Democratic Party (PDP) came as a surprise,
of a little known political party was only one of long after major political parties had had their
those things one does. share.
Ndeges political career started when she joined It is an opportunity that she does not regret
the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat having embraced. The nomination has given
as a volunteer only six months to the March me a platform that I will use to work not only
2013 General Election. Then, in conjunction with the youth, and especially the girl child.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 37


Prior to joining politics, Ndege who represents and women who inspired her in politics, former
interests of the youth in the Kisumu County Member of Parliament and current chair of the
Assembly worked with GMC HENNER, an Centre for Multiparty Democracy, Omingo
international humanitarian organisation in Magara, stands tall among them. Magara is also
Nairobi as a programme officer in the medical the party leader for PDP.
department for two and half years. The other person is her elder brother, Harold
The job gave her an opportunity to interact Ndege who lost the bid for Nairobis Embakasi
with a variety of leaders and ordinary people West parliamentary seat in the 2013 general
including those from low-income backgrounds election.
as well as the vulnerable. Before then, she briefly Her other long time role models include
worked for General Motors as an administrative the Nobel Peace Laureate and renowned
assistant for six months and later as a customer environmentalist, the late Prof Wangari Maathai,
care officer at Airtel. and Charity Ngilu, who is the Cabinet Secretary
The 2010 alumnus of Makerere University for Lands and Housing. Ndege admires Ngilu
studied Bachelor of Arts in Development for she is strong willed, a fighter and among
Studies, specialising in Rural Project Planning the first women to fight for the place of women
and Management. in Parliament.
Ndege attended Nairobi River Primary School At 29-years-old, Ndege grew up in a Christian
between 1991-1998 before joining Mukumu family that taught her religious values and
Girls High School between 1999 and 2000. instilled leadership skills in her. My mum used
She would later transfer to Loreto Girls to encourage us that little can become more, and
High School, Kiambu where she sat her Kenya that, in life, you have to start from somewhere
Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) in and grow gradually.
2002. After her fourth form, Ndege went for her The third born in a family of two brothers and
A-levels (form 5 and 6) at the London College one sister, Ndege appreciates her parents for
of St. Lawrence in Kampala, between 2003 and moulding her into whom she is today.
2004. Although there are quite a number of men Noting that she did not have any difficulties

38 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


learning the ropes in the Kisumu County person in society is key.
Assembly, Ndege who also sits in the Justice and Her challenge has been lack of a ministry
Legal Affairs Committee says she is working handling the affairs of the youth, women and
closely with her colleagues to develop a motion children. We dont have a Ministry for Youth
on the welfare of the youth and the girl child. Ministry in Kisumu County unlike other
This will see a more self-sufficient youth and counties. If we dont have that Ministry then
an empowered girl-child in Kisumu County equally we dont have funds set-aside specifically
once implemented. for the youth.
Her leadership qualities are also evident in the However, she appeals to women to be brave
manner in which she relates with her elected enough to pursue their goals, Those keen in
colleagues. joining politics must get out and follow their
She is not bothered by the unease that has hearts by joining the male dominated field and
characterised the relationship between elected fighting for their space.
and nominated members of county assemblies. Ndege also feels that women and youth are
Despite lacking monetary resources and even still not regarded as equals in leadership and
infrastructure like ward offices and bursaries, decision-making. Especially as a woman, men
like her elected colleagues, Ndeges main worry think you are a flower girl.
is how she will use the opportunity to contribute She advocates for skills development among
to the welfare of the youth in Kisumu County. youth. The youth need to focus more on
Four years from now, I want it to be said that utilising their skills instead of waiting for the so-
I helped 20 girls or so. My contribution as a called free monies from the government.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 39


Hon Malin Atieno Akinyi
Kobura Ward, Nyando Constituency
Born in Pap Onditi in Nyakach District,
to Mzee Erastus Akinyi and Peres Omollo,
46-year-old Akinyi is better known for her
community work where she volunteers in
several local non-governmental organisations.
Through these, she has helped raise school
fees for needy children as well as supported
womens and youth groups to access vocational
trainings.
It was through her involvement in these
activities that she was encouraged by members
of her community to vie for the then Kochieng
Ward in the 2007 General Election.
Dorothy Awino of Caucus for Womens
Leadership and Jennifer Opiyo of Economic

S he was not even known within party


circles before 2007 because she had
never engaged in active party politics other
Development (ECONDEV), encouraged me to
go for it. They also showed me how to address
the public and handle political challenges,
than being a member of ODM. especially those propagated by men.
Hon Malin Atieno Akinyi, the elected However, upon joining the political race,
Member of County Assembly for Kobura Akinyi was chided for being poor and not
Ward in Kisumu Constituency admits that she having a vehicle among other material
had never nursed political ambitions before possessions that are used to identify political
the 2007 General Election. leaders.

40 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


She recalls being warned by some members husband taught in various primary schools in
of her community that Dala ok chak gidhako (a the whole ward for a long time.
new home cannot be established by a woman), Akinyi also credits then Kisumu based ODM
in reference to the race for Kobura Ward. political activist, the late Joseph Okeyo Oteen,
However, Akinyi braved all this and pulled for supporting her on the ground.
a surprise win against seven able male rivals. Her re-election was fuelled by the successful
Like other female candidates countrywide, development projects she initiated in her first
Akinyi had to endure emotional violence even term as councillor.
as planned physical attacks on her failed to She established six water points besides
take shape. She was also a victim of clan-based facilitating the construction of two classrooms
politics, with some saying that my clan cannot each in Migingo, Rabuor and Alendu primary
lead twice. schools in her Kochieng ward. She also
Akinyi made history and went on to become pushed for the construction of Mbaga Bridge.
the first woman to be re-elected in the ward Because of these development initiatives,
and the whole of Nyando Constituency, since people encouraged me to vie again even as I
1963. She built on the new constitutional wanted to opt out of the race.
dispensation which advocates for womens Akinyis academic journey started at Kisure
representation. The fact that my party, ODM, Primary School in Nyakach Constituency
encouraged women to vie for these posts also where she attended classes one to four between
motivated me a lot. 1975 and 1978. She then joined Kogola
In 2007 Akinyi made history by becoming Primary for classes five and six between 1979
the first woman to be elected in the area. to 1980 before relocating to Kisure Primary for
She partly attributes her landslide victory in her CPE Examination in 1981. She proceeded
2007 and re-election in 2013 to strong family to Kibos High School in 1982 for forms one to
networks and friends who mobilised material four until 1985 when she sat her Certificate of
and financial support. Secondary Education examination.
My family is so much loved in the ward. My Akinyi was aggressive from childhood. As

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 41


the first born in her family, she used to do Kisumu. Having gained skills on information
all sorts of domestic chores regardless of her technology, she was engaged as secretary at the
social status. institution for four years from 1995.
She was also close to her father because she In her academic tray is also a certificate in
believed that men were strong and wise. My County Management, undertaken at the Kenya
father was an opinion leader and a political College of Accountancy (KCA).
activist who would interact and socialize with She is currently pursuing Political Science at
many people who visited our homestead. As the University of Nairobis Kisumu Campus.
a day scholar, I would walk long distances Through support from the Centre for
through the Kibos sugar belt plantations to Disease Control (CDC) and the Society of
go to school waking up as early as 4:00 am to Women in Kenya (SWAK), she was trained in
prepare in time for the tedious trips. Community Development and Social Work.
It was not easy as Akinyi also had to endure With the knowledge I started a computer
persistent lack of school fees, since what her bureau which is still running today.
father earned was not enough to be shared Her intelligence and commitment to
among all siblings in their polygamous family. results propelled her to the helm of the
After completing form four, Akinyi joined Implementation Committee as chair, even as
Victory Bible College in 1988 for a two-year she sits in the Health, Children and Social
course in Theology, after which she volunteered Services, Selection as well as the powerful
in the church. It is while in the church that her House Business committees.
leadership journey was nurtured. I served as a Akinyi is the one who tabled a motion to
Sunday School teacher for a long time because gazette dispensaries and health centres built
I loved children. through Constituency Development Funds
Akinyi then joined Gulf Consultants and Local Authorities Transfer Fund (LATF)
between 1989 to 1994, by then a Computer as beneficiaries of medical supplies by the
and Information Technology College in Government.

42 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Hon Nelly Beldinah Osok, Nominated
her mental clarity as she chronicles her lifes
journey.
In late March 2013, the retired teacher was
contended with leading a quiet life as an all-
round subsistence farmer specialising in
planting cassava, maize, vegetables, finger
millet, sunflower and producing sunflower oil,
when news came that she had been nominated
by Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)
party to the Kisumu County Assembly to
represent the interests of women and youth.
Osok had not applied for nomination nor
did she see herself as eligible for a political
seat. She had resignedly thought nobody

A t first glance, one is struck by her stamina


and confidence, as well as rich, full
voice and beaming room presence that make
would bother with her if she stood for election
or even offered herself for nomination because
of her age. However, Osok knew who she was
her a pleasure to watch and hear. At 75 years going to support from the county to national
and being the oldest of the 20 female members level.
of Kisumu County Assembly, Nelly Beldinah I dont know what happened. I was called
Osok would be expected to look frail and worn by someone who told me, we saw your name
out, just like many other septuagenarians, yet somewhere, then I said, how, where? then
this is not the case. she told me her son had seen my name in the
Osok is humble about her achievements newspapers, among those nominated to be
and ones imagination is further ignited by Members of the County Assembly by ODM.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 43


Then I bought the papers and saw my name. uplifting their lives and during that time I made
During this time, Osok had never imagined up my mind that I wanted to be a leader.
herself occupying a political seat, as majority Her husband, a former deputy chairman
of those who make it in politics are noise of Kisumu County Council Authority and a
makers. one-time nominated councilor, also played an
Some politicians brainwash ordinary citizens influential role in her life, as he encouraged
by giving hand outs as a strategy to remain in her to follow her dreams in life.
power which makes campaigns hectic, full Now Osok has fully embraced her position
of violence and very expensive, especially as Member of the Kisumu County Assembly
for women, thereby adversely affecting their which provides her with an opportunity to
(womens) growth and empowerment. offer something to the community and to help
However, Osok notes that her passion for those who are ready to learn farming.
helping her community engage in farming She now has better influence that she uses
may have helped her get the nomination. I to help members of her community access
think people remembered me for what I do bursary forms. Those who did not know
and they saw that I had something to offer the me earlier now know I can do something for
community. them. Im also trying to push more families in
This does not mean that Osok, who was born Kisumu County to embrace farming.
in 1939 in Maseno District, had never nursed More importantly, Osok counts it a blessing
political dreams. Her familys association to hold an influential leadership position in her
with powerful and influential politicians such sunset years. Nothing differentiates her work
as Prof Anyang Nyongo, the former MP for from that of her younger colleagues. In fact,
Kisumu Rural Constituency, now Senator for many would rate her highly as she has curved
Kisumu County, as well as Secretary General a niche in championing for infrastructural
of ODM got her interested in joining politics. development in the county.
I admired the way Nyongo used to advice This has seen her come up with a motion
people in the community, geared towards on health to regulate services at county health

44 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


facilities such as Chulaimbo District Hospital. Kisumu in standard one in 1950 and sat for the
Her views are that substantial resources Kenya African Preliminary Exam (KAPE) in
whether from government or donors should standard eight. She then joined Ngiya Teachers
be channelled towards helping grassroots Training College in 1958 and completed her P3
women. teaching course in 1959.
Osok lauds ODM for championing It was here that Osok was identified by the
constitutional change and reforms in the board of Ngiya TTC to be in charge of class
country. It is only ODM which has been at the one at the Ngiya Demonstration Centre
forefront for real reforms with the devolved where she served for two years before officially
system of governance as one of the living launching her 28-year-long teaching career
examples. with the Teachers Service Commission from
In the County Assembly, she sits in the 1960 to 1988.
Agriculture, Early Childhood Development She later registered for her Ordinary Level
and Selection committees. and Advanced Level certificate examinations
According to Osok, both elected and as a private candidate and was then promoted
nominated members of County Assembly are to S1 Teacher, an equivalent of a diploma level.
equal legislators in the House so there is no She was trained again by the City Council to
need for superiority complexes from those manage pre-primary education.
elected. Her call is for all to work in unity for While working under the Teachers Service
the development of the county. Commission, Osok taught in schools managed
Her passion for agriculture is evident as she by the Nairobi City Council.
discusses various farming initiatives which she These were namely Morrison Primary in
attributes to her rise in the community. Her Bahati, Pangani Primary School now known as
farm in Maseno has served as a community Eastleigh Primary School, Riverbank Primary
demonstration field frequented by women and School, Madaraka Estate Primary School and
youth who are eager to learn farming. Kilimani Primary Schools for a total of 26
Osok joined Sawagongo Primary School in years.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 45


Before retirement at the age of 50, she was at the school, noting that no child failed exams
identified by Magadi Soda Company, through during her tenure.
secondment by Teachers Service Commission, Osok praises the Association of Media Women
to start a school Magadi Pre School for in Kenya (AMWIK) and other organisations
the workers children. including FIDA, Kenya Female Advocacy
She taught and served as the schools Organisation (KEFEADO), Diakonia and
headmistress for seven years (two of which she UN Women for their commitment towards
served under Teachers Service Commission) empowering women to leadership. She says
between 1988 and 1994. AMWIKs training on effective use of media
She prides herself with creating a solid helped her to have courage in what she is now
foundation for many children while she taught doing in the community.

46 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Hon Nereah Akoth Okombo
Manyatta B Ward, Kisumu East Constituency
This gives a glimpse of a day in the life of the
honourable Member of the County Assembly,
whose compassion for the poor and socially
deprived is touching.
Okombos office, situated in the heart of
Manyatta B Estate is always packed with people
of all walks of life, and she makes time for
everyone as she juggles politics with class work
and a young family.
Most of the young girls are joining form one
in various schools but lack adequate school
fees, she explains. Okombo will listen to
everyone, counsel them and occasionally dip
into her handbag to help those in need.

A s we wait for our appointed interview


time with Nereah Akoth Okombo,
elected Member of the County Assembly for
Okombo impresses with her youthful
strength and energy which shines through
her adaptability to the people in her ward. On
Manyatta B Ward in Kisumu East Constituency, this date, even with her advanced pregnancy,
the honourable member is busy attending she does not show a sign of exhaustion as she
to a long queue of the Wards residents, who attends to everyone.
include the young and old, women and men, With this scenario one then understands why
all waiting to have an audience with her over she was overwhelmingly elected in Kisumu
their problems. East Constituencys Manyatta B Ward, and why

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 47


many local politicians view her as a force to where she studied Pharmaceutical Technology
reckon with. and Social Work. Okombo attributes her
She draws a lot of lessons from her upbringing immense knowledge on governance to a series
to which she owes her election as a Member of of empowerment programmes she underwent
the County Assembly to represent Manyatta B through the Federation of Women Lawyers
in Kisumu East. (FIDA-Kenya), Kenya Female Advisory
Growing up in the political shadows of an Development Organisation (KEFEADO), Civil
uncle, she would marvel at his ability to organise Society Network and Youth Agenda.
communities to discuss key developmental She uses this experience to execute her duties
issues and how communities would positively well in the County Assembly where she chairs
respond to them. the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee. She
My late uncle, Yashon Audo Omoto, singles out the late Dolphine Oketch, founder
taught us to be organised and disciplined at of KEFEADO as her mentor, acknowledging
all times. He was strict but also patient. This that the interaction with many people in
helped strengthen my passion for community social work polished her leadership skills by
development. identifying community needs that could only
Okombo was brought up in a Christian be tackled through political representation.
family and was very close to her father, the late Oketch had a programme to empower
John Omoto, a Kanu political activist in the women. She used to call us for womens
1990s. He used to organise political rallies and empowerment meetings and I admired
campaigns as well as lobby for good policies her support for womens leadership and
and legislation. empowerment besides her stand against
The 32-year-old MCA studied at Alego retrogressive cultural practices.
Primary School in Kendu Bay from 1987- Other than her husband, Okombo received
1994. Between 1995 and 1998, she was at minimal support from family members who
Asumbi Girls Secondary School. She later thought she was wasting resources. They told
joined Nairobi Technical Training Institute me that it was a big joke and that I should

48 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


instead save the little I had for family use. in party campaigns for other candidates,
The first time politician is glad that she took among them, The National Alliance (TNA)
the leap of faith to throw herself into the election party Secretary-General, Onyango Oloo, in
pool after a lot of pressure from the electorate. his 2007 bid for Kisumu East Constituency
I received a lot of backing and goodwill from parliamentary Seat.
them to vie for the position. Okombo observes that women are vulnerable
Okombo served as a social worker in the Kazi to violence during political campaigns as they
Ngumu Integrated Project between 2007-2013. have to withstand insults, verbal and physical
The community-based organisation funded violence.
by USAID operates in the peri-urban areas However, she is hopeful that as society
of Kisumu County to empower and address progresses, political violence against women
challenges facing vulnerable members of the will be a thing of the past, and this especially
society. At Kazi Ngumu, she was part of a team for the volatile Kisumu.
implementing a HIV and AIDS awareness She notes the major role that money plays in
project through AFYA II and later AFYA plus. election campaigns and acknowledges that the
Although her hope of becoming a lawyer party contest for her seat was a tough challenge.
did not materialize, her love for orphaned and A win for me was no mean feat.
vulnerable children in the community saw her However as a politician, she knows that there
establish Manyatta B Development Group, are no permanent enemies in the game. She has
which together with KEWASCO are supplying reached out to her competitors to draw them
water to the community. into development programmes of the ward.
She has also organised her constituents into Okombo has been able to take on the
womens and youth groups, encouraging them new responsibilities in her stride. She is not
to apply for UWEZO and youth funds. In her intimidated by the new procedures but urges
tray is a rabbit-keeping project targeting a different institutions, especially the county and
youth group within the ward. national governments to implement capacity
Before joining politics, Okombo participated building programmes for new leaders. In

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 49


Kisumu County Assembly, representatives well as advice wisely. I may not read my back
are all legislators regardless of their gender or but somebody else can.
political affiliation. With regards to her political future, she says
She is developing a Bill on investments and one does not have to be in politics to help the
investors which will soon be tabled before the people. However, she intends to use her current
assembly for debate. position to empower the community through
Okombos challenge is how to address the education initiatives.
high levels of illiteracy, which has seen the Most importantly I want to ensure the
emergence of illegal groups in Manyatta Village County Executive becomes more accountable
as a whole. She is wary of children being to the people of Kisumu. I also look forward to
exploited in late night hawking within the city a future where rampant gender discrimination
centre as well as in local entertainment joints. in the cosmopolitan region will be a thing of
To this effect, she is working with colleagues the past.
in the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee to Okombo is currently pursuing a degree in
table a motion before the County Assembly Political Science at the University of Nairobi,
that will see a mechanism developed to protect Kisumu Campus.
children from abuse and exploitation. She is also a student of a County Management
Okombos consultative approach to leadership course at the Kenya College of Accountancy
has enabled her listen to and absorb criticism as within the county.

50 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Hon Pamela Akinyi Odhiambo, Nominated
clan within Manyatta and is married in the same
County in Kanyakwar Clan in Manyatta B. She
attended Manyatta Primary School in Kisumu
where she sat for KCPE in 1990 before proceeding
to Magadi High School in the same county.
The daughter of a businessman, from a young
age she would juggle between school and helping
her parents in their business of selling paraffin,
mangoes and other foodstuffs at Manyatta market
in Kisumu. She won her parents admiration as her
efforts saw the family business expand rapidly.
Such success encouraged her to believe that with
determination and focus, success was indeed within
every persons reach believing in building on small
For those who dare to dream, there is a whole gains to achieve ones dreams. In both primary and
world to win. These words describe Hon Pamela high school, Odhiambo became a household name
Akinyi Odhiambo who rose to become one of the in games where she was best player in netball and
most successful businesswomen and influential volleyball bringing credit to the institutions.
politicians in Kisumu East Ward. Her story reminds Upon completing high school education,
one that it does not matter what qualifications one Odhiambo decided to engage in business on a full
has, it is the vision that makes the difference. She time basis, selling fish and also doubling up as a
contends that if success were to be pegged on ones Tuk-tuk tricycle owner. She also volunteered as an
academic record then she would not count herself Early Childhood Development education teacher
among the successful. at the Young Women Christian Association
Odhiambo was born and raised in the Kasagam (YWCA) in Kisumu from 1994 to1996.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 51


With success in the business also came Odhiambo, a trained monitoring and evaluation
Odhiambos popularity. This saw her increasingly professional says some of her achievements include
get involved in community projects within Kisumu building roads in Kolwa Central and ensuring
East Ward where she was seen as hard-working, bursaries are given to needy children in Manyatta
honest and focused. B Ward. Odhiambos key priority as member of
She was also actively engaged in politics, County Assembly is to promote access to education
campaigning for Mr John Ondele, who won the for all children. She passionately supports
Kondele Ward seat in 2002, and went on to win education for girls. So far she has managed to take
two consecutive terms. more than six girls back to school.
Her work paid off when the politician later She credits herself with the establishment of the
supported her election as member of the Manyatta Kwoyo Dispensary in Manyatta B in 2011-2012.
Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Prior to her election, she was already supporting
board from 2008. There she met area member the community health and sanitation project
of Parliament, Shakeel Shabir, who she also (KOWESO), an initiative for promoting girls
campaigned for in the 2013 general election. education where the community donates shoes to
Odhiambo says Shabir promised to reward any needy children at Wandiege and Magadi primary
Ward that produced a lot of votes for him. Odhiambo schools in Manyatta B.
has also sat in the boards of Nyamasaria Secondary Odhiambo hopes to enhance the access to
School, Kisumu East District Education Board, the information on government funds such as the
CDF board of Kisumu East Constituency and is a Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Women
member of the Constituency Roads Committee Enterprise Fund and the recently launched Uwezo
(Kenya Rural Roads Authority) fund.
Though her nomination as a Member of County As a sports woman, she promises to promote
Assembly in Kisumu County came as a surprise, sports among youth and the use of sports as a
she believes her active involvement in the political peace building strategy. She proposes that more
campaigns and her community development resources be geared towards the empowerment
record played to her advantage. grassroots women.

52 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Hon Pamela Apondi Omino
Central Kisumu Ward, Kisumu West Constituency
City Council and further ascending to the position
of deputy speaker in the Kisumu County Assembly.
Elected under the Orange Democratic Movement
(ODM) party, she has seen the highs and lows of
Kisumu politics.
Born in 1962 in Maseno, Kisumu District, Hon
Pamela Apondi Omino exudes confidence as she
narrates her impressive political record over the
past two decades.
Omino was born and raised in a political family,
thereby following on the footsteps of her father, a
retired banker who contested for councillorship
in Kisumu town in the 1988 elections and lost

S he is not new to politics and boasts of an narrowly. She is also a niece to the former Deputy
extensive political career having served her Speaker of the National Assembly and a one
electorate for four consecutive terms, three as time Member of Parliament for Kisumu West
a councilor and now as Central Kisumu Ward Constituency, the late Hon Job Omino.
representative. Self-motivated and confident, Omino started
Omino fondly referred to by her community as honing her leadership skills when she was a prefect
Pamjos is a tested and tried politician, a virtue that in Kericho Township Primary School where she sat
makes her a woman of the people whose popularity her CPE in 1974 and later in Lugulu Girls High
saw her get elected councillor for the Aerodrome School in Bungoma District between 1975-1978.
Ward Kisumu Municipality, from 2007 to 2012, While at Lugulu Girls High School, I was greatly
rising to the position of deputy mayor of Kisumu awarded for good leadership. I also doubled up

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 53


the roles with being chairperson of the Christian on to chair the Committee on Culture and Social
Union. Services in Kisumu Municipal Council. I made
After high school, she stayed home for two history by becoming the first woman to chair that
years before getting married to Jossy Orwa, then committee in the history of Kisumu Municipal
a shopkeeper at Otonglo market in Kisumu Council.
town. Together, they owned several stalls selling Omino was a force to reckon with. She teamed
maize flour and other assorted grains. She says a up with then Kisumu Mayor, Hon Prisca Auma
combination of internal and external challenges to champion for gender equity and equality in the
conspired to eventually make her business almost municipality, besides articulating issues affecting
an impossible venture. residents of Kisumu Municipal Council without
With the emergence of political pluralism in fear. In 2007, she was at it again, winning the Ward
1992, Omino made her debut into elective politics. seat for a third consecutive term through ODM
She got elected for a five-year term between 1992- party. She then contributed her time and energy to
1997 to represent women in the FORD-Kenya party promoting peace and reconciliation following the
structure. Then in 1997 and with the platform 2007 post-election violence that also rocked the
already laid, she was elected the second woman lake side city of Kisumu.
councilor in Aerodrome Ward on the National During her third term as councilor for Aerodrome
Democratic Party (NDP) ticket. This propelled Ward, she was elected chair of the Water and Energy
her to the position of chair Committee on Social Committee, which automatically gave her a slot
Services. Omino, an unapologetic feminist and a as a director of Kisumu Water Services Company
political activist, would later surprise friend and foe (KIWASCO).
when she was re-elected in 2002 on the National She also served as the chair for the Lake Victoria
Rainbow Coalition (NARC) ticket. She attributes Local Authority Cooperation (LAVLAC), a
her win to focus and hard work. It is ones work movement for women in the local authorities in
and behaviour that sells itself and speaks to the East and Central Africa. Her success in politics
people. Defeating close to ten men was no mean has not been without challenges. In 2011 I lost
feat then for a woman from the region. She went with one vote to then incumbent Mayor Sam

54 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Okello (nominated), who was then seeking re- thrilled by the political progress which has seen
election. I almost lost hope when two women who women rise to positions of leadership. In Kisumu
were also contesting for the seat withdrew from County, we boast of seven women elected directly
the race in favour of a male candidate. I saw this to the County Assembly.
as a blow to womens leadership as a whole and Since joining politics, Omino has maintained an
doubled my efforts, as I saw their withdrawal and active presence in her partys activities, including
support for the man as a strategy to put me down working for and promoting its policies and
completely. Omino says it is her experience in manifestos as well as entrenching them in the
politics, development record and political ideology grassroots. She is grateful to her supporters who
combined that gave her victory. come from all the sectors of the community.
Although contesting in the huge Central Kisumu As a visionary leader, she has been keen not to
Ward was a challenge, she attributes her win in the make empty promises but instead pledge projects
March 2013 General Election to her performance that she is sure of initiating and completing. She
in the previous three terms as councillor for cites the face-lift of Kanyametha School, various
Aerodrome Ward. Omino who also holds a water points and community group projects in
certificate in Public Relations from the University Aerodrome Ward as being her brainchild.
of Nairobi could not have achieved this were it not In the Assembly, she also serves in the Speakers
for encouragement from friends. panel by virtue of being the Deputy Speaker. She
At first I thought there was no need to become also sits in the Liaison Committee besides chairing
the deputy as a woman had already been elected the Committee of the whole House.
speaker but somebody asked me where I had Her relationship with other house members
obtained that law, and then advised me to go ahead has been cordial. Omino would like to see more
and contest. She went ahead to contest and won resources and initiatives to empower women and
garnering 26 out of 35 votes. ensure many get into positions of decision-making.
Omino is happy with the progress the country has She is already working on a five-year Strategic Plan
made constitutionally and especially the freedom for development activities in her Central Kisumu
people are enjoying today and is particularly Ward.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 55


Hon Pamela Awuor Oyoo, Nominated
said; mama you have worked for women and
children for many years and helped many people,
why dont you look for nomination?
Hon Pamela Awuor Oyoos quick response
was that she neither held any party leadership
position nor did she know anyone in the partys
top ranks, so getting nominated would be out of
question. However, her children were relentless
and urged her to give it a try, further reminding
their mother of how she had always trusted in
God, with the slogan, God always provides. My
children said, mama, God may give you this
position and I said, lets apply and see.
They then googled Orange Democratic

W hen her husband was retrenched Movement (ODM) manifesto and address to
from work in 2012, she took a very which they would send the application. She never
risky gamble later that year, applying to Orange bothered with the outcome until the day people
Democratic Movement (ODM) party for called to ask if she was the one whose name
nomination as Member of the County Assembly, had been published in the papers as an ODM
thereby quitting her job at the Kisumu Lake nominee.
Basin Development Authority, after a successful Oyoo refused to believe she was the one as
27-year career as a librarian. the name appearing had a different identity
One day as we were reading the newspapers card number. It was not until the National
with my children, we learnt that nominations Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC)
would be done 45 days after election. My children asked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries

56 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Commission (IEBC) to publish all the three names platform to champion the womens agenda.
of nominees and their identity card numbers that In the 2013 General Election, Oyoo campaigned
Oyoo confirmed she was indeed the one. for ODM, her main aim not to be nominated as
For this reason Oyoo believes her appointment a ward representative, but to participate and help
to the Kisumu County Assembly is God given, entrench policies that were friendly to women.
this even if it was not her idea to apply for the Now Kenyan women are enjoying the two-
position as her mind was already set on large thirds gender principle of affirmative action in
scale sugarcane and maize farming to supplement the Constitution and this is not enough. Kenyan
her familys growing needs. She knew she would women are still disadvantaged.
have to dig deeper into her pockets to cater for She cites verbal and physical abuse against
her four children three in the university and women during campaigns as factors derailing
one in primary school. womens bids for political leadership.
The born-again Seventh-day Adventist Church Oyoo draws her inspiration from a group of
faithful who enjoys working with women, eminent women, including Nominated Senator
children and the elderly, says indeed God did it Janet Ongera, who previously served as the
for her. Executive Director of the Orange Democratic
Oyoo who was born in Nyakach in 1965 but Movement (ODM), Lands Cabinet Secretary
raised in Kisumu, was nominated under the Charity Ngilu, as well as veteran politicians Grace
gender top-up category. Although mainstream Ogot and Grace Onyango.
politics was the last thing on her mind, she had Im inspired by Ongera for the furthest she has
severally meddled in politics while working at gone in the ODM fraternity. I admired the way
the Lake Basin Development Authority where she managed the party and enjoyed listening to
she was elected to serve in the institutions Sacco her as she is quite brilliant and understands her
as honorary secretary, from 2010 and later work. Ive always aspired to stand up for women
nominated as delegate for the Cooperative Bank, the way she does.
a position she holds to date. These endeavours Oyoo also admires Charity Ngilu and the
thrust her into politics where she used the 2013 presidential candidate, Martha Karuas

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 57


fighting spirit. They are among the few women In Kisumu County Assembly affairs, Oyoo
involved in the fight for multipartyism. During is seen as an outspoken, open minded, active
that time people never used to talk freely before and eloquent debater, with a sharp focus on her
the repeal of section 2A (making Kenya a multi- agenda. She wishes to see a county, which is able
party state) but they kept fighting and were ready to feed its people and provide all basic services to
for anything. Besides, Karua speaks her mind the community by the end of her five-year term.
irrespective of what people say. You can depend She is also keen to use her strong Christian
on her for the truth. values to change the mind-set of people and
Oyoo also admires veteran politicians Grace further believes that her work in the Assembly will
Ogot former MP for Gem and Grace bring women and men together for a common
Onyango the first woman to be elected mayor goal.
of Kisumu and in Kenya and also the first woman Oyoo attended Maseno Girls Primary School
to be elected Member of Parliament. She describes and completed her CPE in 1979. She proceeded
these two as true champions for women. to Kisumu Girls High School where she did her
I admire them for coming up on behalf of A-Level exam in 1984.
women when women were still ignored and In 1985 she worked with a Dutch consulting
could not speak in front of people. Onyango had company, DHV Consultants, under the Lake
the courage to become a parliamentarian and Basin development Authority for one year. When
a deputy speaker at a time when women were the contract ended she was seconded to the
down. institutions library as an assistant.
Oyoo has worked as a volunteer in several During this time, she joined Kenya Polytechnic
womens organisations, including Noble Charity College and obtained a certificate in Library and
Home for the Destitute in Kibos, Kisumu County, Information Management. In 2008 she graduated
where she helped establish a home for the destitute from Kenyatta University with a Bachelor of
and elderly and has been its treasurer since Science in Information Studies (Library option).
inception. She has also worked with womens and She is now set to pursue a Masters in Community
church groups in the county. Development from Bondo University.

58 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Hon Petronilla Achieng Omondi
South East Nyakach, Nyakach Constituency
a chance in elective politics in 1997 due to what
she claims were rigging in party nominations.
If you talk to people in Nyakach Constituency
and you mention Mama Pajero, they will tell
you I was to be their MP in 1997.
I got overwhelming support in the National
Development Party (NDP) primaries, but was
rigged out.
What happened in 1997 was so bad that the
people of Nyakach even sought an alternative
ticket for me, they came to me with Social
Democratic Party (SDP) ticket. But she stood
her ground and rejected the peoples party,
maintaining her loyalty to the NDP. It would
have meant that I was not serious about my

A lthough she is serving her first term


in elective politics as Member of the
County Assembly for South East Nyakach
party choice if I just jumped ship like that.
She was disappointed to a point of not
participating in the 2002 General Election, a
Ward, Hon Petronilla Achieng Omondi fondly decision she quickly defends. I am an honest
referred to as Mama Pajero, has enjoyed high person and I would rather have the truth. I did
standing in her community. not see anything that would have convinced me
For close to two decades, the people of of any change to allow the people have their way
Nyakach have referred to Omondi as their in 2007.
Member of Parliament. This is after she missed Over the years Omondi volunteered as the

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 59


peoples watchdog, which earned her the name Girls High School as a form one student
Mama Pajero, a powerful all weather vehicle illustrate her poor background. I not only
because of the ease with which she would reported to school without school fees but
traverse the constituency in the course of her was also the only girl in sandals, a feature that
work. attracted the attention of then School Principal,
A woman of the people, as she describes Mrs Patricia Ododa.
herself, Omondi is a good listener, a virtue she I remember I cried when the headmistress
has carried into the Kisumu County Assembly. made fun of me and exclaimed to fellow teachers
Although a politician, she does not believe in in the staffroom that wonders will never cease!
political lies and would rather stand by the truth She even doubted that I am the one who got the
even in her campaigns. highest marks at Kibuye Girls Primary School.
What I have realised is that if they still voted Fortunately, Ms Diana Brain, one of the teachers
for me in 2013, then it really means that nobody came to my aid and offered to pay my school
wants to be cheated. I always tell my electorate fees and ensured that I had uniform and books.
what is possible and what is not. In the process, the principal ended up paying
Omondi is multi-talented. She was an athlete my first term school fees.
and member of the school choir as well as In a turn of events, Ododa was transferred to
debating and drama clubs at Kibuye Girls Bunyore Girls High School in 1972 but could
Primary School where she did her Certificate not leave Omondi behind and relocated with
of Primary Education (CPE) and later Kisumu her there where she completed her A-levels
and Bunyore girls schools respectively. education.
These talents concealed her poor family After high school, Omondi joined Brooke-
background where she could not afford school Bond Kenya Limited in 1973 as a copy typist.
fees. I could be chased away for school fees but Here she got sponsorship to undertake a two-
during the sports season I would be recalled. year Diploma course in Secretarial Studies
Despite all odds, she ranked tops in at Queensway Secretarial College in Nairobi.
examinations. Her dramatic entry into Kisumu Upon completing the course, she served as

60 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


company confidential secretary, rising through Born in November 1955 in Sigweng Kondiek
the ranks to an administrative position in the village in Ugenya and married in Nyabondo
Engineering Department. Village, Upper Nyakach Location, Nyakach
Along the way, she also trained in Psychology Constituency, the mother of four honours
Counselling, acquiring numerous skills that she her father who treated all his children equally
later used to provide psycho-social counselling regardless of gender, which in turn boosted her
and peer education in the Voluntary Counselling self-esteem.
and Testing (VCT) to the companys staff. Omondi who serves as assistant treasurer
Her experience in psycho-social counselling in KIWACOCA has always admired Grace
would later benefit her neighbours in Nyakach. Onyango, the first woman to be elected Member
Although she wanted to have a very quiet life of Parliament and mayor for her strength amidst
at home after retirement, this was not to be as difficulties.
biting poverty hindering womens economic She has also been inspired and intellectually
empowerment swung her into action. stimulated by the leadership of former British
Upon her retirement from Unilever Tea Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Kenya Limited (Formerly Brooke Bond Kenya In 2013, being aware of devolution and gender
Limited) in October 2011, she directed her requirements in the Constitution, Omondi
energy to offering psycho-social counselling saw a better opportunity to serve her people
to women affected with HIV and AIDS in at the county level rather than at the national
Nyabondo, Nyakach Constituency. platform.
Omondi fondly recalls being close to her She appreciates the word of encouragement
grandparents who cultivated the sense of from friends, family and the electorate in South
leadership in her, as they would address her East Nyakach Ward.
with nicknames of various heroes. She appreciates the Kokelo clan who
She was to realise later that the heroic reorganised themselves during campaigns and
references not only inspired but also fostered gave her a lot of support in kind which could
leadership skills in her. have cost a lot of money.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 61


In the Kisumu County Assembly, Omondi agencies that have invested a lot of resources for
chairs the Children, Gender, Culture and womens empowerment. She further calls for
Community Services Committee. She is also strategies to ensure that both men and women
a member of the Budget and Appropriations, as well as institutions understand and respect
Liaison, Planning, Housing, Idustrial gender mainstreaming, noting that this will
Development as well as the Procedures and ensure women are empowered and respected
Rules committees. by the society.
Omondi is committed to ensuring the As an avid gender and human rights defender,
improvement of infrastructure in her ward, Omondi denounces retrogressive social,
including schools, health facilities and roads. cultural, political and economic activities that
She acknowledges the significance of the county stand in the way of womens progress and
government. This is the only institution that empowerment.
can really push development to the people Women shy away and withdraw from
in the grassroots and hence the importance mainstream politics after emotional, verbal
of harmony between the different arms of and physical abuse during political campaigns,
county government. Omondi recognises non- especially for married women with teenage
governmental organisations and government daughters and sons.

62 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Hon Prisca Auma Misachi
Kaloleni/Shauri Moyo Ward, Kisumu Central Constituency
from many and within a short span of time she
became a household name in Kisumu and beyond.
She is yet to disappoint, as her winning ways
attest.
Misachi is renowned for her record as the most
elected woman in Kisumus and perhaps in Kenyas
civic history. She has had the privilege of being
elected a record five terms and prides herself in
having served in three successive governments
of presidents Daniel arap Moi (1983-2002),
Mwai Kibaki (2002-2013) and presently Uhuru
Kenyatta.
In the 1983-1987 and 1987-1992 terms, Misachi
served as councillor under Kanu, then the only

S he made her political debut in 1983 when


she was elected councillor for Kisumu
Stadium Ward, the area she represents to date.
party. However, in the advent of multiparty
politics when she refused to abandon KANU and
join Ford-Kenya, then the popular party in Luo
Then Hon Prisca Auma Misachi had the audacity Nyanza led by the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga,
to dream big in spite of the widespread stigma and the doyen of Kenyan opposition politics, she lost.
discrimination against women leaders at the time, Due to her loyalty as KANU life party member,
when, within few days of her election in 1983, she Misachi lost to Lawrence Akinyi Oile who won the
vied for the Kisumu mayoral position, which she ward seat and went on to be also elected Kisumu
narrowly lost by a single vote. mayor.
However, the daring move won her admiration From 1992 to 1999, Misachi refused to barge

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 63


and leave Kanu, even as new populist parties Stadium and Kibuye in Kisumu Central General
continued to emerge and this sturboness cost her Electionon an Orange Democratic Movement
dearly. She was once again defeated in the 1997 (ODM) party ticket. However, she lost the mayoral
General Election thus staying in the political cold seat in 2007 to Councillor Sam Otieno. In the 2013
for the two terms. However, being a woman of General Election she was elected Member of the
great courage and who never gives up, Misachi County Assembly (MCA) of the same ward on an
used the time out in the cold to strategise, joining ODM ticket.
the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) led by Raila Born in Uyoma, Rarieda Division in Bondo,
Odinga in 1999. Siaya County in 1949, the widowed mother of four
She would then go ahead to recapture her ward reveals her source of inspiration as the brilliant
seat in the 2002 General Election on a National trade unionist, the late Tom Mboya for whom she
Rainbow Coalition (NARC) ticket when LDP worked as a secretary. I remember how people
teamed up with the National Alliance Party of would visit Mboya and he would solve all their
Kenya (NAK) of Charity Ngilu and Democratic problems. Then, Misachi decided that she wanted
Party (DP) of Mwai Kibaki to form NARC, which to play a similar role. I realised it is good to listen
won the 2002 General Election with Kibaki as its to what disturbs people and see if you can solve
presidential candidate. In 2002 Misachi became it or alternatively listening helps to reduce your
the deputy mayor of Kisumu and in August own tension as hearing that there are other people
2004 she was elected unopposed as the Kisumu who have the same problems (as yourself), then
Mayorunder NARC, becoming the second woman you realise that you are not alone she is quoted as
mayor of Kisumu after Grace Onyango, who served saying Women and Political Leadership in Kenya;
between 1965 and 1966. She is proud to have been Ten Case Studies (Nyokabi Kamau, 2007).
the mayor in 2006 when Kisumu was declared the As a young girl Misachi had not imagined
worlds first United Nations Millennium city. herself becoming a politician. She came to Nairobi
In 2007, Misachi was re-elected councillor to pursue secondary school education at Ngara
of then renamed Kaloleni-Shauri Moyo Ward Girls Secondary School after her completing her
after the merger of three wards namely Kaloleni, studies at Linea Primary School in Uyoma. She

64 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


later enrolled at The Church Army School where this is where she developed her interest in politics.
she studied up to form two then left to work for She joined active politics in 1983 when she was
the family of the late Tom Mboya. elected ward representative for Stadium Ward.
The cultural problems facing Kenyan women Politics aside, she has also been busy empowering
today have contributed to her resolve to working women. She is also a patron of Minelik, a CBO,
harder. Culture dictated that girls be withdrawn that empowers women on financial matters.
from school because they would get married Besides the late Tom Mboya, she sees former
anyway to allow parents to pay fees for their sons. I members of parliament, Grace Ogot and Phoebe
was a victim and had to discontinue my schooling Asiyo as her role models for their persistent push
but I was not discouraged from pursuing better for affirmative action.
things in life. After her life with Mboya, Misachi Misachi says she never makes any promises
worked at Kericho Planning Office as secretary during campaigns and her motto is always that
before she was transferred to the Ministry whatever problem emerges, they as a community
of Planning in Kisumu. Later, she joined the will try and solve it. She describes her relationship
Provincial Planning Office in Nyanza in the same with other Members of the County Assembly as
capacity. In 1971, she joined the Kenya Commercial cordial: What I have learnt as a leader is that we
Bank as a secretary for one year before moving to need to come together and speak in one voice to
British American Tobacco (BAT) as a Personal alleviate poverty and promote development.
Secretary to the Divisional Marketing Manager in Misachi is happy that devolution has provided
Kisumu. She worked for BAT from 1972 to 1983. space for more women to be involved in politics.
While in BAT, Misachi joined Kianda College Her message to women is: They are very good
which merged with Strathmore College in 1993) managers and if they speak with one voice, their
for a Secretarial and Office Management course voices can be heard in the county assembly.
and managed to increase her typing speed to 100 Misachis plan is to work with everybody in the
words per minute. It was while working at BAT Assembly and to empower all women because she
that people encouraged her to join politics. She believes Kenya will be peaceful if a woman is in
related well with people, especially women and control.

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 65


Hon Salome Kamonya Lungafa, Nominated
Born in 1965 in Mudungu Village, Gavodia
sub-Location, Vihiga County, Lungafa
effortlessly campaigned for the ODM in her
native Maragoli community, a zone that had
been literally swept by Presidential candidate,
Musalia Mudavadis United Democratic Forum
(UDF) party wave, and managed to convince
many voters, particularly women, to vote
overwhelmingly for ODM.
Lungafa was also a chief campaigner for
Mrs Rozaah Buyu, who contested the Kisumu
West parliamentary seat, but lost with a small
margin.
Interestingly though, Lungafa did not vie

H on Salome Kamonya Lungafa is the for any position but did what many political
sort of woman who lives for others candidates have tried to do without success,
and believes that one can bring change in the winning votes without giving hand-outs.
society without spending a single cent. I did this through walking to the voters
So strong is her conviction, that, in the run- bases and speaking to them in their mother
up to the 2013 General Election, and without tongue. I did not need any payment but wanted
any pushing from any quarters, Lungafa to build the party and make it strong. With
mounted a penniless campaign for her ODM, being a national party, I wanted to see
dream party Orange Democratic Movement other tribes also come in Lungafa was driven
(ODM), and which, in her own words, paid off in her passionate campaign, by the fact that
satisfactorily. ODM party leader Raila Odinga does not give

66 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


money during campaigns but only sells his Lungafa was inspired to join active politics
policies to the people who in turn vote for him. by veteran politician and womens rights
Raila brought devolution to us and did not ask campaigner Rozaah Buyu, who has fought
for any cent from us, but we voted for him. hard for gender equity and equality as well as
It is no wonder, then, that the ODM women empowerment, particularly in Kisumu
presidential candidate garnered an impressive County.
77,825 (46.44%) against Musalia Mudavadis Now a nominated Ward Representative,
82,426 (49.19%) votes in Vihiga County, a feat representing gender in the Kisumu County
Lungafa is proud to have contributed to. Assembly, Lungafa understands Buyus struggle
The party also bagged three out of six to empower women economically through
parliamentary seats in Vihiga County County table banking, an initiative started to improve
Woman Representative as well as Luanda and the economic status of rural women in Kisumu
Emuhaya parliamentary seats. West Constituency.
The party also got six out of 25 elected A community health worker in Ojola Unit
members to the Vihiga County Assembly. (comprising Ojola and Rota dispensaries) in
Lungafa did not apply for nomination West Kisumu Sub-county, Lungafa initially
but believes her hard work paid off as she is wanted to contest for a County Assembly
convinced the party nominated her to the position but was unable to do so because of
Kisumu County Assembly in recognition of bureaucracy and cumbersome procedures
her efforts. People should not claim they are both in political parties and the electoral
working yet their deeds cannot be seen or felt. commission. Consequently, she chose to
She is noted for her simplicity and humility actively campaign for the Orange Democratic
which could have possibly further contributed Movement (ODM), which she says is the
to her success during party campaigns and saw only party that has brought people together
her political status rise. regardless of their economic background, tribe
Born and bred in Maragoli in Western and gender.
Kenya, and later married in Kisumu in Ojola, Lungafa who sits in the Health, Justice and

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 67


Legal Affairs as well as Legislation committees governmental organisations that have invested
lauds the leadership of the Kisumu County in supporting womens empowerment to ensure
Assembly for creating an enabling working more are in leadership positions. We still need
environment for all members of the County help to empower those in the grassroots to
Assembly. She plans to push for a bill that will enable more women look forward to elective
ensure health workers who have volunteered positions and not to fear politics.
for long are put on the county government Lungafa attended Gavodia Primary School in
payroll. Sabatia from 1973-1979, sat for her CPE, before
While politics and religion can be a difficult act joining Kigama Secondary School in Maragoli
to balance, Lungafa sees no problem in mixing from 1980-1983.
the two. It is good to be in the Assembly as a She holds a Diploma in Early Childhood
born-again Christian to encourage colleagues Development Education from Egerton
because most people think politicians are University, Kapsabet, where she studied from
worldly people who dont know the word of 1986-1987.
God. When we mix with them it makes sense She also holds a Diploma in Community
and helps people to understand that politicians Health from the Jaramogi Oginga University
also know the word of God. in Bondo, formerly Bondo Teachers Training
Lungafa alongside few other colleagues College.
have introduced morning glory lessons for A born-again Christian and preacher, Lungafa
everybody in the Kisumu County Assembly holds a certificate in preaching from Kapsabet
where meetings are held every Tuesday from Bible School and is currently preaching in AIC
7.30-8.30 am. churches and mothers union at Osiri East
She applauds the government and non- District Church Council.

68 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Hon Susan Adhiambo Omollo, Nominated
appointed timekeeper, as this entailed being in
charge of operations at the institution. It is while
serving in this position that Omollo realised she
could lead.
Omollo is fondly referred to in the community
as Mama because she is approachable, charitable
and does not waver in her endeavour to advice
and counsel members of her community who are
facing various challenges. She has also initiated
income-generating activities for women such
as poultry farming as well as village saving and
loan schemes.
Omollo acknowledges that her work in the
community is what earned her the position of

H on Susan Adhiambo Omollo grew up


counselling fellow pupils, especially
girls, to overcome peer pressure and other
Member of the County Assembly and promises
to use it for the community, which borders
Nandi and is prone to ethnic conflicts due to
challenges at school, home and around the cattle rustling and politics.
village. Her strict parents also ensured she Prior to joining politics, she worked as a
performed her duties well and her efforts earned nurse aide at Kobala Clinic in Nyakwere, South
her an appointment as a school timekeeper at Nyanza from 1992-1997, a job she got after
Ahero Girls High School, where she learned in training at Sindo Private Health Centre from
the early 1980s. 1990 to 1992. She resigned after five years to
She recalls how then, one had to have start her own business, which enabled her to
exceptional qualities and high discipline to be freely interact and express her opinions, further

Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017 69


exposing her leadership skills. Omollos passion always violated to the extreme during political
towards addressing community concerns has campaigns.
earned her a lot of admiration, which she also Over the years, women have been sitting back,
attributes to her nomination by ODM to a doing domestic chores and leaving leadership
special seat representing women in the County and governance to men.
Assembly. Women must be in leadership positions to
She believes as a Member of the County effectively participate in governance and other
Assembly she has a good chance to address development issues.
issues affecting her community. She recommends the need for civic education
The County Assembly is the right institution for women and formation of womens and
to crusade for inclusivity regardless of gender, youth groups to attract resources for their
colour, socio-economic status or even religion. development.
It is only through politics that one can really Omollo who sits in the Planning and Tourism
influence development policies beneficial to the committees of the Kisumu County Assembly is
society. Omollo is the Secretary for the ODM currently working on a strategy to economically
Women League, Muhoroni Constituency. She empower women and youth in the villages
notes that democracy is about the people and and most importantly, ensure effective and
my people belong to ODM. Who am I not to be transparent distribution of devolved resources
a member of ODM? to everybody.
She regrets that majority of women Omollo was born in March 1970 at West
countrywide do not vie for elective positions, Kabodho, Kotian Sub-Location in Nyakach.
where many have valid reasons but engage She is married in Kabonyo village, Kobura Sub-
in voting and other activities as second-class Location in Kano, Nyando Constituency but
citizens. lives in Muhoroni where she has been operating
Omollo views economic hardship and lack a business.
of a level playing ground in the political arena She attended Kusa Primary School before
as womens major challenges. Women are proceeding to Ahero Girls High School.

70 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


1 2 3 4 5

6 7 8 9 10

1. Eunice Atieno Miruka 2.


Caroline Agwanda 3. Carolyne
Ogot 4. Carolyne Owen 5.
Benter Akinyi Ndeda 6. Farida
Ahmed Salim 7. Nelly Osok 8.
Pamela Omino 9. Jane Atieno
Omolo 10. Lydiah Atieno Ndege
11. Malin Atieno 12. Susan
Omollo 13. Nereah Okombo
14. Salome Lungafa 15. Pamela
Oyoo 16. Petronillah Omondi
17. Lydia Odhiambo 18. Priscah
11 12 Auma 19. Pamela Adhiambo 13 14

15 16 17 18 19
Notes

72 Women On The Move Women Members of County Assembly of Kisumu 2013-2017


Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK), Hse No. 6, Wendy Court, David Osieli Rd, Westlands.
P.O. Box 10327-00100, Nairobi, Kenya Tel: + 254 020 4441226/ 0722 201958/0737201958
Fax: +254 020 4441227, Email: info@amwik.org, Website: www.amwik.org

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