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Special Post-Election Issue

Issue Number 36 • April 2013

Bright future for the disabled in the new political dispensation …By Joseph Mukubwa

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he face of the country’s political arena has changed with the recent election of people with disabilities in political positions. As the results were announced for the six elective positions, names of people living with disabilities featured prominently. The first notable one was lawyer Tim Wanyonyi who was elected Member of Parliament Westland Constituency. Despite the challenges he faced of campaigning on a wheel chair, Wanyonyi went on to beat several rivals to clinch the seat previously held by Local Government Minister Fred Gumo who has since retired from politics after two decades. Wanyonyi, is looking forward to be sworn in while on a wheel chair together with the 289 other men and women. He joins former Samburu East Sammy Leshore who was elected Senator for Samburu County. Leshore has been on a wheel chair ever since he survived an assassin’s bullet forcing him to use a wheelchair for the rest of his second term in the august House. They will be joined by four others who will be a man and woman who will be nominated to the National

Assembly and another man and woman who will be nominated to the Senate. The four will be people living with disability. Others who have trailed the path of politics while physically disabled include the late MP for Mumias Constituency Dr Elon Wameyo who was elected in 1979 and served until 1997. The later former Gem MP Dr Oki Ooko Ombaka became blind in the middle of his tenure after being elected on a Ford Kenya ticket in 1992. Lawyer Josephine Sino was a Nominated MP by Safina party in 1998 and served for one term.

interpreter. They educated them on the Constitution and offered civic education in relation to the elections, reminding them of their rights and responsibilities as citizens. According to Josephine Aska, Chief Executive Officer Federation of Deaf Women Empowerment at the organization was started four years ago. Initially it targeted people with disabilities but later discovered that even normal people wanted to join the programme as it was an interesting group. “Initially, the trick was to look for better ways to convince them using the signs and later the people got used,” explains Aska. She adds: “We have ofIn the pre-election periodthere fered civic education to hundreds of were a number of organisations that people who keenly listened to us. Most targeted people living with disability of the people in Nyeri and Kirinyaga Lawyer Tim Wanyonyi who in creating awareness around the new counties responded very well to the campaigned on a wheel chair and political dispensation and voting. programme.” managed to beat several rivals to Among the voter-education groups Aska notes that basic education was Federation of Deaf Women Em- clinch the seat previously held by Local on the Bill of Rights impressed many. powerment Network which focused Government Minister Fred Gumo. However, she observes that most had on people who were hard of hearing. Picture:Kenyan Woman Correspondent difficulties in understanding issues Indeed, as many organisations around devolved government. struggled to offer civic education on “We use sign language and an the eve of the General Election, this where they are not able to talk and are interpreter while educating which special group made up of deaf mem- of hard hearing, they walked the ex- is the easiest way, although it is a big bers went beyond borders. tra mile to educate over 800 people in challenge to many,” she explains. Despite them being in a position many parts of the country through an Through funding from the UNDP

Awareness

…By Albert Mutua

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…By Joseph Mukubwa

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Nyeri county new team from left former Mathira MP Nderitu Gachagua, Nyeri women rep Priscilla Nyokabi and Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe recently immediately after they were announced winners at Nyeri Moi Primary School. Picture: Joseph Mukubwa for Nyeri County. Her priorities include matters touching on the youth and education as well as ensuring there is piped water in all homes within the county. She has had her input in various boards of schools within the county. “I also serve on the Karima Boys’ School Board where I prepared the strategic plan that saw the school start a progressive journey from mean grade 5.8 to last year’s 8.8 becoming the best boys’ school in Nyeri South District,” she explains.

She is also a member of the Gatugi Girls’ and Muirungi Secondary schools boards.

Record

Previously she served as a programme officer with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Kenya chapter. “In early 2004, I joined the Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists as an Assistant Programmes Officer and rose through the ranks to Senior Programmes Officer,” says Nyokabi who

has now moved from the courts to politics. In August 2009, she joined Kituo cha Sheria as the Executive Director when the  predecessor Dr Ekuru Aukot joined the Committee of Experts on constitutional review.  She is a recognised human rights lawyer and has travelled across the globe in advancement of the human rights agenda in Kenya and globally. This is what she will want to exercise as she serves the people of Nyeri County.

Sebisubi leaves a mark in the race for Kinango seat …By Teryani Mwadzaya

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ehmat Nadzua Sebisubi may have lost her bid for the Kinango Constituency parliamentary seat in the just concluded General Elections but will firmly be remembered for her brevity in challenging the male dominated political field. Sebisubi, who was contesting on Unity Party of Kenya ticket, did not shy away from the hotly contested race which had attracted seven male aspirants including the incumbent Samuel Gonzi Rai who retained the seat. By remaining firmly in the race, Sebisubi managed to build her social, political and economic profile

Funds

The Federation of Deaf Women Empowerment Network has over 3,700 members countrywide with 420 of them coming from Nyeri County and over 100 from neighbouring Kirinyaga County. Aska, who is interested being nominated to represent the disabled notes that many of their members are also interested in the special seat and their being deaf should not be used as a barrier to ascending political positions. She urges Kenyans to embrace the disabled as provided in the Constitution so that they can represent their own in the County assemblies, Parliament and Senate. The Network has offices in Central, Coast, Rift Valley and Western provinces. However, Aska urges more donors to chip in and fund the group saying lack of resources has been a major challenge.

Women post poor performance in Taita Taveta County

Human rights defender clinches Nyeri county seat ormer Kituo Cha Sheria executive director Priscilla Nyokabi has been elected the Nyeri County Women representative. The National Alliance (TNA) party candidate garnered 215,418 against her closest rival Mukami Wachira who got 62,725 votes. Other contestants were Ann Nyambura (DP) 17,225, Sheila Githaiga (Narc) 17,088 and Cathy Irungu (Mazingira party) 12,456. Nyokabi, 35, who is an advocate of the High Court holds a degree in law from the University of Nairobi. She hopes to develop teamwork within the next three months which will help in drafting a development plan for the county. Ambitious, hardworking, selfdriven, self-motivated, positive and pragmatic, Nyokabi has huge plans

under Amkeni Wakenya the group received KSh1.2 million which they used to inform and educate hundreds of voters. “Amkeni-Wakenya helped us most in funding and capacity building. They improved our work very much as well,” says Aska.

in the community. Sebisubi had promised to introduce projects geared towards alleviating poverty if elected. Records from the Kwale District Development Plan 2004-2008, indicate that poverty levels in the area remain high with about 50 per cent of the population living in absolute poverty. Leadership she believed that a woman can take charge of public affairs and offer alternative leadership based on integrity and rule of law. However, she faced the customary laws of the Durumas, who just like their Digo counterparts, use traditional systems of governance that are purely dominated by men to resolve cases of murder, adultery,

fornication, divorce, marriage and theft within the community. “Although I garnered 674 votes against the 20,000 votes bagged by the winner, I am happy that I managed to remain in the race upto the last minute and trounced some of my male opponents,” she said during an interview. Her campaign mainly focused on promoting girl-child education which resonated well with the womenfolk. “Although I lost the elections, it is my sincere hope that the MP-elect will work towards the realisation of people’s aspiraSebisubi lost in the 2013 elections tions,” Sebisubi reiterated adding but still believes in her course. her ‘dreams’ will not fade into Picture: Teryani Mwadzaya oblivion.

he March 4 General Election was a historical event that took place under the new constitution. The process of electing six leaders as opposed to three in the past elections was a gruelling ordeal. In Taita Taveta county things were not different as there was a huge turnout of voters to exercise their democratic right. Taita Taveta has four constituencies namely Voi, Mwatate, Wundanyi and Taveta with over 120,000 registered voters. Security was beefed up within the County despite few reported incidents in Taveta and Wundanyi constituencies where some leaflets were dropped warning people not to vote for a particular candidate. However, despite women turning out to vie for positions that included governor, senator as well as MP and women’s and county ward representatives, they posted a dismal performance. According to Edina Damian Milimito who was contesting for the position of a County Assembly representative and the only woman among eleven aspirants, the challenge was when the IEBC refused to clear her for lack of an identity card.

Hiccups

“The IEBC refused to clear me for the seat for lack of an ID after I lost the original copy a few weeks before the elections,” said Milimito, a veterinary officer. However, all was not lost for the immediate former Taveta MP Naomi Shaban who trounced her closest rival Ruth Lelewu of ODM in a race that had attracted nine candidates. Taveta has 24,499 registered voters with about 66 polling stations. According to results released by the IEBC Shaban clinched 6357 votes against her closest rival Basil Criticos 6,251, Mike Banton 4,190, Stephen Odiaga 1,396, Ruth Lelewu 1,180, Muli Kimenzu 654, Jerry Kimaro 302, Raphael Nzuki 179 and Patrick Ngoto had 105 votes. The entire voting process was termed as unfair by other candidates in Taita Taveta County. Lelewu cited discrimination against women candidates. “We really had it rough as our opponents especially men dished out money during the campaigns but Shaban managed to retain her seat on a TNA ticket,” she said.

Kenyan Woman Issue 36  

Kenyan Woman - Advocating for the Rights of women The Kenyan Woman is a monthly publication of AWCFS

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