Kisumu’s nominated MCAs eye elective seats
As political party nominations are scheduled to be held this month, all those women who were nominated to the Kisumu County Assembly will be seeking various elective seats during the August polls.
The County Assembly has 19 female representatives out of whom seven were elected and 12 nominated to meet the two thirds gender rule.
The Nominated Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) have in the past have alleged discrimination by their elected counterparts saying they have been unable to perform their duties effectively because in most instances their motions are shot down.
However, the MCAs have said they are ready to face their male counterparts and seek elective seats.
Farida Salim who is contesting for the Shauri Moyo Ward says they have been facing a myriad of challenges as nominated leaders including not being able to access funds for development.
“With zero allocation for development, it has been very difficult to implement projects,” says Salim adding that they have been using their salaries “which sometimes is not enough”.
Having served as a nominated MCA, Salim says she has the knowledge and experience to serve in an elective post and is motivated by the fact that she properly understands the three main roles of an MCA which include legislation, implementation and oversight.
Salim reiterates that women have to come out and vie for the elective seats because “there is no political goodwill to ensure the gender bill is enacted”.
According to Salim, it’s unfortunate that nominated MCAs are seen and regarded as flower girls who should only be seen and not heard, with other people having perceptions that they were just given seats.
“Many people do not understand that nominations are meant to fill gender gap,” she explains adding that “this is a stop gap measure that can only be addressed if the electorate votes for women”.
Salim notes most nominated MCAs have been labelled flower girls and accused of having had sex in exchange for the slots. “It has been very demeaning and demoralising to put up with such labelling,” she says.
Caroline Ogot who will be vying for the Central Nyakach seat will battle it out with the incumbent Elijah Omondi. She says nominated MCAs do not have access to some resources within the county and are hence not able to influence development or push for projects to support women and youth.
“Most of the time, the nominated MCAs have been labelled flower girls but our record in the Kisumu County Assembly proves otherwise hence it was time we also went to the battle ground to fight for the elective positions,” she says.
Pamela Odhiambo, who was also nominated, will be vying for the Manyatta B ward that is currently held by Nerea Okombo.
Odhiambo says elected MCAs are always attacking them in the assembly simply because they were nominated.
“Currently we are used to it and because we have gotten enough trainings and are not afraid to get to the battle ground,” reiterates Odhiambo.
Her sentiments are echoed by Lydia Odhiambo who will be vying for the South East Nyakach seat that is currently held by Petronilla Omondi.
Odhiambo says they were nominated once and don’t expect to be nominated again hence the reason why they have to go for elective positions.
A young MCA, Odhiambo notes, youths issues are not being well articulated in her ward and many a time resources are not distributed properly hence the need to elect leaders who have their best interests at heart.
“We have various dispensaries that are not well equipped and somebody needs to do something to bring about change,” she says.
Salome Lungafa hopes to be nominated to vie for the West Kisumu Ward that is currently being held by Joseph Otiende. The remaining women are yet to decide the wards in which they will be vying and others may not be vying at all.