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)
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid