These are the women breaking new ground in Kenya’s politics
I can’t remember a time when we were this excited. Over 50 women who have been elected to parliament in recent years have come from a background as ordinary Kenyans, farmers, small businessespeople, or entrepreneurs—or all of the above. They span all of the ages, from the young mother who has dedicated her life to women’s rights to the grandmother who lives on an acre of farmland.
Over the past ten years, the number of women MP’s increased by more than 12,000. In particular, female MPs have been making strides in advancing women’s rights in Parliament. In the last ten years, we have witnessed the emergence of female MPs who are not just new to politics, but are also champions of women’s rights. This is not a story of two-time MP’s who returned to office.
Nyasha Omogbeng is the first woman from her constituency to be elected to Parliament. She is also only the fourth woman from the Nyeri West Constituency.
Nyasha Omogbeng became the first woman from her constituency to be elected to Parliament when she took the oath of office on 27 September 2012 when she was appointed as the minister of local government and housing, within the ministry of health and child welfare. She was appointed as Minister for Child Welfare at a time when the issue of child sex abuse was becoming more prominent at a time when the Kenya government was becoming an international donor.
In the course of her term, Omogbeng became the first female minister in the entire history of government to be appointed on the basis of gender.
Nyasha Omogbeng is today, not only the first woman to be minister in the history of the United Republic in Kenya, but also among the most educated women in the Kenyan media industry. Her media company, Jomashu Media, is today a household name in Kenya.
I have written extensively about the work of Nyasha Omogbeng—her achievements in politics, her contributions to our media industry, and the impact she has had on women in her constituency. I have also talked to people who have worked closely with her. I would like to share the story of how she started out as a political novice to become a champion of women’s rights.
My family and I were growing