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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs