Newcomer seeks to trounce veterans in Kisumu Women representative’s race

Huldah Atieno Odhiambo is determined to clinch the Kisumu County Women Rep seat to help empower women in the lakeside county.
Huldah Atieno Odhiambo is determined to clinch the Kisumu County Women Rep seat to help empower women in the lakeside county.

Kisumu County Women Representative’s race has already taken shape ahead of the August Eighth general elections with one political new comer seeking to defeat veterans.

Mrs. Huldah Atieno Odhiambo is what many unbiased observers can call a political greenhorn. She officially and actively joined the race for the Kisumu County Women Representative’s seat in February 2017.

“I wanted to get into politics way back in 2013 but my husband was not ready for it. I am a married woman and I respect that authority. In 2013 I wanted to vie for Seme parliamentary seat but he was not ready. So I had to wait until February 2017 when he gave me permission,” she said.

She says people ask her where she was all this time, and her answer is ‘I had to wait for Authority’. Of course she spent a lot of time convincing him by sharing her vision in politics before he finally said yes.

They have been married for nine years. Her husband is now her biggest supporter and the pillar behind her journey in politics.

Contenders

Mrs. Odhiambo is vying as an Independent candidate in a race that has attracted Jubilee party’s Beatrice Anyango, Citizen’s Convention Party leader Mrs. Grace Akumu and Mrs. Rosa Akinyi Buyu who is vying on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party ticket.

“I am so glad I am vying as an independent candidate because I can make my own independent decisions without being influenced or intimidated by party leadership. I am free,” she says.

Mrs. Buyu defeated outgoing Kisumu County Women Representative Mrs. Rose Ogendo Nyamunga in the ODM party primaries earlier this year. “I know I am up against very formidable competitors but I refuse to be intimidated. I am in this race like anyone else and I cannot just be wished away,” said Mrs. Odhiambo.

Mrs. Buyu is a house hold name in Kisumu County politics. In 2013, she vied for Kisumu West Parliamentary seat on an ODM ticket but lost to Mr. John Olago Aluoch who vied on a Ford Kenya Party ticket. In fact, Aluoch decamped to Ford Kenya after losing nomination battle in ODM to Buyu.

On the other hand, Mrs. Grace Akumu is not only a party leader, but the wife of a former Member of Parliament (Mp) which gives her an edge in crafting a winning strategy to emerge victorious in the contest. Mrs. Akumu is the widow of former Nyakach Mp the late Dennis Akumu.

Approach

Mrs. Odhiambo says that she is building her campaigns through meeting and interacting with resourceful and likeminded people.

“This is politics and truth be told, you cannot work in isolation. I am an independent candidate, and that basically means that I have to work closely with other independents in order to achieve what I want to achieve,” she said.

Among the people she is closely working with is Kisumu County governor Mr. Jack Nyanungo Ranguma, who is defending his seat as independent candidate, after losing to Kisumu Senator Professor Peter Anyang Nyong’o in the ODM primaries.

The 50 year old Huldah Atieno Odhiambo has a Masters degree in Community care and HIV.  She is a professional HIV and AIDS counselor. She says she has dedicated her adult life to community care, women and HIV.

She said she decided to vie for the Kisumu County women representative’s seat in order to help empower women folk in the lakeside county. “If you touch a woman, you have touched everyone in the society. You touch a woman and you touch children, the middle aged and the elderly,” said Mrs. Odhiambo.

Manifesto

Her manifesto outlines many issues, key among them being empowering women, access to health and education. “When a woman is sick, the entire home is sick. I want to see how a sick woman can be able to easily access proper medication and move on with building her home,” she says.

Her biggest challenge so far has been raising funds for campaigns. All the same, she is very thankful to various organizations coming up with different mechanisms of supporting women in politics to put up spirited campaigns.

“Like the other day we were in a United Nations meeting with officials from the gender ministry in Nairobi, and they said they were willing to help us by paying for airtime for talk shows for us to sell our policies through various electronic media platforms. I personally really appreciate that, I don’t take it for granted,” she said.

Mrs. Odhiambo says she is confident of emerging victorious in the race, since her campaign is based on issues and not personalities. “I have no time for blame game. I am addressing issues that affect the community and coming up with a road map of how to solve them when elected.”

She says Kisumu County has enough resources to afford each resident a better life. “When people see and listen to me, they should rest assured that I am contesting for this seat to bring visible change. Change in the empowerment of women and economic revolution of communities in Kisumu County,” she said.

According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Kisumu County has a total of 1, 027 polling stations with a total of 539,210 registered voters.