When she made a rapturous entry at the Maunguja City Polytechnic in Kisauni this week, everyone present got curious to know who was that young girl receiving so much attention from the women.
She was mobbed and immediately forced to join the jubilant, dancing women as the crowd swelled around her and escorted her towards the dais.
Many thought it was Governor Hassan Joho — who was the chief guest at this year’s International Women’s Day — who was about to make a grand entry.
Only to realise it was Sadaf Deen, who is set to become the youngest Woman Rep aspirant at only 20.
She seemed at ease with the unprecedented attention she created and enjoyed being in the middle of hundreds of women who had come for the celebrations.
As soon as she settled down in a chair at the dais, I approached her to ask why, at her age, she had decided to venture into the murky waters of politics.
What, for example, had driven her that direction when she had a big future in the world of business where she had already shown signs of success.
“These women you see here and the youth out there have encouraged me so much to be a leader. And I want to lead them by bringing change and empowering them. I have confidence. I am up to the task,” she said.
Her long black hair flowed freely down her shoulders and when some wind blew, it exposed a beautiful face.
The confidence in her is what struck me (and others around) most as she narrated her resolve to go for the Mombasa County Woman Rep position.
Sadaf said she has five main agendas for the people of Mombasa, which she refers to as “My Hi5 agendas”.
They include offering good leadership for the people, empowerment of women and youth, better health care, development of businesses and finally, equity in distribution of resources.
She owns a clothes manufacturing firm and an events management company, but Sadaf has not been known to be a girl of great means, the type needed to fund campaigns.
So, how does she expect to run expensive campaigns?
“I have a team that will aid me in implementing my manifesto, which will also help me look for resources. My campaign is going to be funded by friends and well-wishers,” she said.
Talking about her young age, whether she thinks it will have an influence on her political career, Sadaf said her agenda is what matters.
“I believe that every woman is beautiful in their own way, so I can’t really say my beauty has any impact…..but my brain does. As for my age, let me say that age is just but a number.
“We are living in a generation that anyone can easily tell the problem that faces women. I believe that women in Mombasa are fully behind my political bid and will elect me to serve them”.
Those critical of her desire to represent the people of Mombasa argued that she will not be able to campaign because she is handicapped in Kiswahili, the language of communication particularly at the Coast.
“I know Kiswahili and I can converse with my electorate to sell my agenda. That is not a problem,” she asserted, adding that she has stayed in Kenya since she was born “and I have only stayed abroad during my studies”.
She denied she is Governor Joho’s project. She said that even though the governor had supported her business events in the past, he was not the one who asked her to join politics but a desire to serve the people.
She is the fifth born in a family of six, said Sadaf, adding that no one in her family has ever been in politics, “but politics has always been my passion since I was small”.
She admitted having received great inspiration from ODM leader Raila Odinga to pursue her political career.
That could also explain why she decided to run for the seat on ODM ticket.
“I decided to join ODM since I want to grow politically and be mentored. I have been following what Raila has done for the country and I want to walk that path,” she said.
She disagreed with the old notion that politics is a dirty game and whoever ventures into it has high possibilities of being soiled.
“The notion of politics being dirty is a perception that people have. If you have the peoples’ interest at heart and your aim is to serve and not enrich yourself, you don’t really need to have anything dirty done,” she noted.