News / Africa

Women Candidates in Mombasa, Kenya Debate Platforms

Mombasa county candidates for women's representative debate at the Little Theater in Mombasa, Kenya, on February 21, 2013. (VOA/Jill Craig)Mombasa county candidates for women's representative debate at the Little Theater in Mombasa, Kenya, on February 21, 2013. (VOA/Jill Craig)
x
Mombasa county candidates for women's representative debate at the Little Theater in Mombasa, Kenya, on February 21, 2013. (VOA/Jill Craig)
Mombasa county candidates for women's representative debate at the Little Theater in Mombasa, Kenya, on February 21, 2013. (VOA/Jill Craig)
Jill Craig
The Kenyan constitution of 2010 requires that a women’s representative be elected in each of Kenya’s 47 counties during the next general election, which takes place on March 4. The requirement highlights the under-representation of women in Kenya’s government.

University students from the Coast region held a debate Thursday night to showcase the platforms of their Mombasa county candidates. The event, held at the Little Theater in the coastal city, was hosted by the Visionary Coasterians, a group of students studying at universities around Kenya, but whose homes are in Mombasa. Their aim is to affect positive change in their community.

Many of these students traveled long distances to return home to help with the event.

Chairman Lawrence Nzinga says they were willing to do so because they wanted to hear from the candidates for women’s representative, whom he feels are often overlooked on the campaign trail.

"Because we have found that most of the media, they have considered governors and other posts but women representatives, which are very important, particularly in Coast region... they have neglected them. So we have decided to bring them so we can listen to their manifestos," he said.

Topics covered during the debate were as diverse as education, drug use, early marriage and teen pregnancy, prostitution, and access to financial capital.

One of the women giving her position on these issues was Mariam Bashir Hussein Ali, who goes by the name of Mama Kukukali. In Swahili, this translates directly to "Mother of Harsh Chicken." As an activist, Ali says she was given this nickname because she is ferocious when it comes to protecting her chicks - those who are marginalized and disadvantaged in her community.

"Yes, I can say, we have more skills [than men]," she said. "First of all, a woman is very transparent and a woman, you cannot find a woman who is corrupt. And a woman is a mother, and it’s not easy for a woman to do harmful things to the people. So, a woman leader is better than a man leader."

Taxi driver James Nyagutu says women in the Coast region have been neglected and he feels very strongly that they should be better represented in the Kenyan government.

"You know, women have been marginalized for a long time because men think that the women are the weaker sex. But it’s better we have someone to represent them, someone who can air their grievances, their views, so that the government can take care of them," he said.

Felix Myue works as a parking attendant in Mombasa’s central business district. He says that financial management is key for elected officials and believes that women are better with money than men, whom he says often squander the family’s finances. 

"When they get money in the pocket, they just sneak on the way, they go out drinking and whatever and whatever. But even we see, women at home, they know very well how to take care of the rest of the family," he said.

Nyagutu admits that at the Coast, there are some strictly ingrained views about the proper role of women, but thinks these are giving way to more egalitarian opinions.

"Those old babus [grandfathers] - they are the ones who thought that the women’s place is to give birth, and cook food in the kitchen, wash the dishes, just that. To just stay at home. But these days, it’s no more. Women are working, they are getting educated to very high levels. They have PhDs, they have everything, so we cannot deny them the opportunity, the opportunity to serve,” said Nyagutu.

There are 10 women running for the position of women’s representative in Mombasa County.

The 47 elected women’s representatives from around Kenya will be included in the membership of the National Assembly.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid