Magundho has become the wise soldier in the battle for Yimbo East Ward
Judith Magundho is among a few women who have joined the political fray in Siaya County .
She is running for the Yimbo East Ward seat in Bondo Sub-county and has stepped up campaigns to unseat the incumbent.
She contested for the Bondo parliamentary seat in 2013 but lost. “I have decided to shift focus to a ward in the forthcoming General Election because I’m best suited to beat the incumbent,” says Magundho adding that she wants to write off the wrongs of the current leadership.
Magundho is not new in the public service and has previously worked for the Kenya Power and Lighting Company before she moved to work with an international NGO that deals with production, printing and supply of Bibles.
She has also served as the chairperson for the Maendeleo ya Wanawake in Bondo and Rarieda constituencies where she was able to implement several projects among them table banking.
Magundho also helped women to start small businesses and together they were able to mobilize resources and start a Savings and Credit Society (Sacco) where scores of women have been able to access loans for their businesses.
Speaking during an interview with the Kenyan Woman, Magundho says she has also spearheaded an initiative that has made sure teenage mothers are allowed back to school. “The initiative dubbed Girl Child Project also seeks to ensure that young girls are educated on their reproductive rights,” she says adding that “the girls were also educated on their rights within the community”.
Magundho has also been at the forefront of spearheading HIV and Aids programmes among women, men and youth. This has not only helped to endear her to the community but has served to reduce infection rates in the area.
“My experience in both public and private sectors has prepared me well for the task ahead,” she explains.
She notes the current leadership has ignored the youth, women and less privileged individuals in the society saying that if elected she will bridge the gap between leadership and the people.
Mangudho believes that she has enough ground support to challenge the incumbent.
She will be banking on her resource mobilization strength and the wide network that she has built with the electorate.
“Our people are yearning for a leader who embraces consultation and team work. That is the new and fresh face of leadership that I want to bring on board,” she says.
A graduate of the University of Nairobi with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business Administration, Magundho who has been traversing the ward campaigning, believes that her academic qualification and expansive experience will give her an edge over her rivals.
Majority of her supporters are women and youth. “I want to be among the women who will be elected in the Siaya County to not only address women’s issues but also ensure that the youth are engaged in productive activities.”
The major challenge Magundho is facing as a woman aspiring for a political seat is the lack of resources to facilitate activities at the ward level and run a rigorous election.
She also has to grapple with discrimination where most voters including women prefer to rally behind male candidates despite the several civic education campaigns that have been going on in relation to women and leadership.
“Further, in areas where male opponents think that you as a woman has an upper hand, they hire goons to disrupt your rallies,” says Magundho.
Through this time that she has been in politics, she has learnt that resilience, patience and confidence can yield returns. “I have also learnt to be tough and how to choose the battles to fight,” she explains.
Magundho says that women must be encouraged to seek elective seats at the political party level as this will ensure that they are visible and can negotiate for party tickets.
“This will get them involved in party affairs so that they know what is happening all the time and give them a head start as party officials to win nominations during the primaries.”
Magundho notes most women are unable to get access to the party structures, understand how the party works and position themselves appropriately.
She calls for strategic civic activities aimed at supporting political participation of women. “This will help to increase the electoral turnout of women and raise their visibility in politics including those running for different seats.”
Says Magundho: “Women aspirants must also be involved with the grassroots women and youth way before they think of contesting.”