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Kenyans Decided on The Least of These – The ‘cursed’ woman and a teenager.
The “cursed” woman, Ms Peris Pesi Tobiko – The MP-elect
She beat the ‘curse’ and seven male candidates to triumphant to victory in a culture that oppose women from accepting any leadership position. This is a story that reflects the conflict of cultural beliefs, respect, women’s autonomy and religion. The Masai's culture does not allow women to seek leadership positions. So because she was deviant, she was ‘cursed’ by the elders for defiling the traditions of Masais and so was everyone else who would support her bid. She was discouraged from vying for a seat as a Member of Parliament (MP) and was fortified to go for the women representative position instead by her then current party, Orange Democratic Party (ODM). She decamped ODM due to discouragements and joined The Alliance Party (TNA) who welcomed and supported her ambitions. Though the ‘curse’ from the elders scared her to the point of almost giving up, she was rejuvenated by the Masai youths who encouraged her to ignore the threats from the elders. Any Kenyan knows very well that crossing paths, or brushing shoulders with the elders, is considered a “taboo” especially when they are threatening to ‘spit’ a curse on you. This was indeed a very bold move by Ms. Tobiko that will give other women voice and encouragement that with determinations, one can achieve his/her goals. As a strong advocate of women’s liberation, power and autonomy, I find this very uplifting. This is a great inspiration to all women, not to disrespect their elders, but to reason with them and assume some of the old traditions that do not make any sense in the current democracy. The traditions that discourage autonomy and community development.
Ms. Tobiko’s story really excites my heart every time I read about it. I can insert a religious perspective here as well because she beats seven men. The number ‘Seven’ biblically signifies totality or completion. The seven men here represent total masculinity, strength, power etc. To me, this means that the men could have been a hundred or more and she would still have triumphant to victory because God had purposed it, and not even a human curse could alter that destiny. Sister Peris has just proven that no ‘curse’ can ever hinder what God has predestined in one’s life. Ms. Tobiko was elected to represent Kajiado East. She promised to fight the war of problems in education, poverty, joblessness, and many other issues affecting Masai women.
Teenager, Kibiwott Munge – The youngest MP-elect
He is only 19 years old. The election of a teenager sends a strong message that the face of politics in Kenyans is truly changing. The wonderful residence of Lembus Perkera County Ward did not let the age be a deterrent factor. They believed in the teenager and overwhelmingly rallied behind him making him the youngest ever to be elected for any political post in the Kenya’s political history. Mr. Munge is the second youngest elected Member of Parliament after Proscovia Alengot Oromait 19 of Ugandan, who was the first in entire East African region. The teenager wants to improve the livelihoods of the Kenyan youths. This population represents a big bubble which seems to have been marginalized. The youths feel lost without jobs and direction after completing their studies.