Six of the nine candidates who are seeking the Kilifi woman rep’s seat in the August 8 election say they will prioritise on improving the lives of women and youth in the county.
The seat is currently held by the fiery Aisha Jumwa who is now contesting for the Malindi Constituency seat on an ODM ticket.
The six candidates who include Juliet Riziki (independent), Priscilla Munga (Wiper), Gertrude Bahati (Federal Party of Kenya), Josephine Chizi (Kanu), Ummu Kulthum (independent) and Betty Medza, also an independent, have outlined their plans for Kilifi County, arguing that they will pay special attention to the plight of the youth and women.
They say these special interests groups have been side-lined for years in development.
In a recent debate organised Human Rights Agenda (Huria), Pamoja for Transformation and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), in Kilifi, the women gave the county’s residents a glimpse of what they plan to do should they be elected.
The debate, held at Mnarani Club, was the first one for candidates in various elective positions in the August 8 election.
The other three candidates eying the Kilifi woman rep’s seat are Amina Mnyazi (Jubilee Party), Gertrude Mbeyu (ODM) and Witness Tsuma of Kadu Asili.
The six women did not disappoint during the heated discussion as they gave animated responses to questions from panellists led by Pwani University lecturer, Prof Halimu Shauri
Key on the agenda was how they would utilise the annual Sh49 million National Government Affirmative Fund (NGAF) reserved for the woman rep’s office.
Ms Riziki pledged to devolve the operations of the fund to all wards and open offices in each of them.
This, she argues, will ensure that services reach the county’s 35 wards. Ms Riziki opted to run as an independent after losing the ODM ticket to Ms Mbeyu.
Ms Chizi, on the other hand, promises to improve healthcare for women and children.
She banks on her experience in the health sector and argues that through her work, she has been able to encounter first-hand, challenges that women and the youth go through to access healthcare in rural Kilifi.
“Having been a nurse for 33 years, and working in different parts of the country, I witnessed a lot of challenges that women go through. My first agenda will be women and youth empowerment through initiating various projects. This is possible because there is a kitty that can do that,” said Ms Chizi.
On her part, Ms Bahati, who is a teacher by profession, said her focus will be to fight the rampant poverty in the county by, among other things, starting income generating activities for women and lifting them from despair.
“I want to make sure that Kilifi women and youth are empowered to overcome life’s hurdles and set up a good example of excellence in the region,” she said.
Ms Munga on her part said her quest for the seat was driven by the lack of equality and equity for women in the county. She argued that the challenges “are real” in Kilifi and have led to many women living as a marginalised group because of poverty.
“The problems facing the Kilifi woman can be easily identified and that is what I want to basically throw my weight behind and bring change,” said the Wiper candidate.