Despite the controversy that has hit the nomination of representatives to the East Africa Legislative Assembly, one man is happy as he is one step closer to a long held dream.
Kenya is required to send nine representatives to the regional parliament, and second on the list of Jubilee Party’s nominees is Dr Joe Muriithi Muriuki.
He is easier to recognise as Joe Muriuki, the name that in the late 1980s and the early 90s, became synonymous with HIV as its bearer shrugged off the stigma that was associated with the virus and declared his positive status to the nation.
Mr Muriuki’s life has changed since then.
He left his job at the Nairobi City Council, moved back home to Nyeri for a while and then became one of the Kenya’s foremost advocates for treatment for HIV.
Today, he is a lecturer and is collecting data for his PhD in Public Health at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
But presently he has left his teaching post as he seeks to represent Kenya at the Arusha-based regional assembly.
“I felt that people living with HIV and Aids needed a voice in Eala,” he told the Saturday Nation. “I put it in my application that I will represent a marginalised population and provide a balance in the assembly.”
He cited his experience interacting with Eala over 10 years in the formulation of the East African HIV/Aids Management Act.
He was a member of the regional task force that worked on the law.
Mr Muriuki realised during this time, and later in his six years at the HIV Equity Tribunal in Kenya, that there is a need for countries in the region to coordinate and work together in the management of the disease.
For now, he has joined the rest of the nominees in lobbying for the seats to be decided in a vote in two weeks’ time.
There are five Cord nominees for the four slots the Opposition has been allocated but five for the 15 selected by the Jubilee Party.
Others on Jubilee’s list are Mutea Iringo, Charles Onsongo Mochama, Eunice Wanjiru Karanja, Abubakar Ogle, Adan Mohammed Nooru, Simon Mbugua, Irene Cherop Masit, Justin Bundi, Nelson Dzuya, Canon Naomi Jillo Waqo, Chepkemoi Saida Stacey, Florence Jematia Sergon, Justus Mate and Pius Atok Ewoton.
Lobbying has already began, with the nominees reaching out to MPs and their leaders in the House.
Regional and gender balance are likely to play a role, meaning at least one of the five women has to be elected.