Women journalists go for elective seats

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By ERIC WAINAINA
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A number of women journalists have plunged into politics and won tickets from their respective parties to fight it out for a place in the National Assembly.

As the campaigns for the August 8 General Election kick off officially, indications are that the journalists turned politicians are only a step away from national politics, after trouncing their rivals in the party primaries.

In Kisii, former Royal Media Services Egesa FM’s host, Dorice Aburi, who is popularly known as Doris Donya Toto, won the Jubilee Party ticket for the county’s Woman Representative seat.

Ms Donya, an alumni of Consolata Institute of Science and Technology in Nyeri, floored the incumbent Mary Otara by more than 20,000 votes to win the ticket.

The popular vernacular radio presenter garnered 54, 694 votes against Ms Otara’s 38, 545 voters. However, they will still meet at the ballot as her rival is vying as an independent candidate.

Should she succeed in the race, Ms Aburi will follow in the footsteps of Nyamira Woman Rep Alice Chae, who was also a presenter at Egesa FM.

In Kakamega County, former radio journalist Lydia Pamela Nyangala is making her second attempt to clinch the Woman Representative seat on Amani National Congress ticket.

She is battling for the seat against six other candidates who include ODM’s Elsie Busihile Muhanda, Ms Fatuma Shaban Osundwa of Ford Kenya and Ms Mercy Shitsugane Luseno.

Ms Nyangala who is popularly referred to as “Senje” (Luhya for auntie) narrowly lost to Ms Rachael Ameso Amollo in the 2013 General Elections but is confident of improving on her performance.

“I do not have much money and sometimes I approach relatives and friends for financial support to organise my campaigns,” says Ms Inyangala, a mother of seven.

She quit as head of the Kenya Broadcasting vernacular Radio Ingo in 2013 to join politics and has remained unbowed in her pursuit for the dream to become the next Woman Representative for Kakamega County.

Ms Nyangala said she was prepared for the challenges ahead and was confident of victory this time around.

Her familiar voice as a former presenter at Mulembe FM and Radio Ingo appears to have done the trick for her as she traversed the twelve constituencies for votes.

The aspirant was a household name in the region while she worked as presenter on at Mulembe FM and later joined Ingo FM.

In Central Kenya, the region has three broadcasters who are seeking elective seats. They won in the Jubilee Party primaries in Kiambu and Muran’ga counties.

Former Kameme broadcasters Gathoni Wamuchomba and Wanjiku wa Kibe, who was head of Radio at Kameme FM, won tickets for the Kiambu Woman Representative and Gatundu North parliamentary seats respectively.

Ms Kibe garnered 10,169 votes to beat incumbent Kigo Njenga who got 9,589 votes to bag highly coveted Jubilee Party ticket.

Mr Kigo will be defending his seat as an independent candidate, but Ms Kibe, says she is unmoved and is confident of a win.

Ms Sabina Wanjiru Chege, a former Coro FM host won and will be defending her Murang’a Woman Representative seat.

Ms Chege’s opponent in the primaries was also a radio presenter. Ms Waithira Muithirania, who until her entry into politics last year, was the Inooro FM’s breakfast show host.

She garnered 211, 639 votes while Ms Muithirania who managed 99, 728 votes.

Other women journalists who were elected to the current Parliament in 2013 elections include Ms Danita Ghati, the Migori County Woman Representative who has lost the ODM ticket to defend her seat in the coming General Election.

Senator Naisula Lessuda, who was nominated to the Senate by TNA, is running for the Samburu West Parliamentary seat on a Kanu ticket.

The youthful Lesuuda is a former reporter and news presenter with the national broadcaster Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC). In her 20s, Ms Lessuda is among the youngest members of the current Parliament.

Before her nomination to the House by the now defunct TNA Ms Lesuuda founded the Naisula Lesuuda Peace Foundation (NLPF) whose objective is to promote peace and empowerment among the youth and women.
Additional Reporting by Benson Amadala.

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