Meet the only elected female MCA in Vihiga County
Mrs. Gladys Madere Analo continues to attract admiration from various quarters after trouncing her opponents in the just concluded polls to become the only woman to be elected as Member of the County Assembly (MCA) in Vihiga County.
Mrs. Gladys Madere Analo was elected MCA for Busali ward, in Sabatia Constituency on Amani National Congress (ANC) party ticket.
According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) public portal, she garnered 2, 781 votes, against her closest rival who managed 1, 654 votes.
All the eight competitors were men. The former MCA – Mr. Benedict Kiwanuka Kilaya, vying on an independent ticket finished fifth with 926 votes.
“I am so happy and grateful to the people of Busali for giving me this chance to serve them,” she says with a big smile written all over her face. “In 2013, Vihiga County Assembly had two elected female MCAs, and I had hoped for that number would go up this time round but unfortunately it did not happen,” she adds.
She is saddened by the fact that no other woman was elected MCA in Vihiga County. “One of my very first plans is to start having meetings with women and encourage them to vie for positions and how to stage successful campaigns in future”.
Mrs. Analo said that campaigning for an elective seat is not about resources, it is also about strategy. “Winning elections is strategy and not having massive resources for campaign,” she said.
She says she sailed through because the community at large embraced her. She said, “I am here today because men, women and youth embraced me and willingly decided to vote for me.”
After being announced the winner, she was called by five contestants who ran against her. She says they conceded defeat and pledged to support her in the bid to uplift the lives of residents of Busali ward.
It has taken her 10 years to be able to carry the tag of an elected MCA today. Her journey in politics started way back in 2007 when she was nominated a councilor in the defunct local authority.
“In 2007, I was nominated a councilor by the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) after running various errands for the political party in Sabatia Constituency, among them being an agent during the 2007 general elections,” she remembers.
In 2010, a new constitution was ushered in and with it came the county governments which replaced local authorities.
Mrs. Analo ran for the MCA seat in Busali ward in 2013 and finished second, behind Mr. Benedict Kiwanuka Kilaya. She was then nominated MCA by the defunct United Democratic Forum (UDF) party.
“Being a nominated MCA is not a good thing. Your elected colleagues mock and call you demeaning names such as a flower girl. Nominated MCAs should be strong in order to survive. Their focus should be on serving the people and not the side-shows,” she said.
Being strong and showing commitment to her work perhaps made her survive the storms in the male dominated assembly. As a nominated MCA, she served in the speaker’s panel, besides managing to push for various legislations.
The trained accountant says that this time round, her work is cut out. She plans to introduce a host of bills in the County Assembly aimed at improving the lives of residents of Busali ward and Vihiga County in general.
She wants to introduce bills and motions touching on key sectors and issues such as education, agriculture, health, empowerment, access to water and improvement of the road network in line with her manifesto. She has her eyes set on the chairperson of the Vihiga County’s education committee.
Mrs. Gladys Madere Analo has a feeling that the last Vihiga County assembly did not perform well due to what she termed as some elected MCA’s ‘dinning with the executive’.
“One of the key roles of an MCA is oversight. You cannot play this critical role well if you dine with the executive. It is about the people you represent – not yourself,” she said.
She is however quick to absolve the previous county assembly from further criticism, saying most members of the county assembly did not understand how devolution was supposed to work. She reminds in coming MCAs that the county government Act and the Constitution should now be their bible.
She said that the county assembly should focus more on strengthening public participation. She says public participation on various issues should start from wards, not constituencies as it has been the case. “Wananchi should also be allocated enough time for public participation”.
Analo will be turning 50 years old in December this year. She has been married for 29 years, and blessed with five children who are now adults.
She says her husband, children, close relatives and friends have always supported her political career. When she decided to join politics, her husband readily supported her and during campaigns for the August 8th elections, he played a key role.
Mrs. Analo advises the new Vihiga County governor Mr. Wilbur Otichillo to fulfill the pledges in his manifesto and work for the people of Vihiga County. “The governor is transparent, accountable and has an enviable track record. I believe the people of Vihiga County are in safe hands,” she said.
She urged fellow MCAs to put aside their perceived political differences, unite and work hand in hand with the new governor for better public service delivery.
Mrs. Analo said she fully supports the new salary and allowance structure for state officers gazetted on July 7th this year, by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
According to the new pay structure, an MCA is entitled to a monthly salary of Ksh. 144, 375 among other benefits. “As leader, it is the zeal and passion of working for the people that matters most, not salaries and allowances,” said Mrs. Analo.