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

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess 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.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
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 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 US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
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 S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
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 Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. 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.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs