Adversity opens the doors of opportunities
A beautiful baby girl had been born in the era of a single ruling party to a humble family; in a small town in Kenya where at the time; Teargas, strikes, and police brutality were the order of the day. The nfamous Nyayo House Chambers is where “criminals”opposing the then government would be sent. They would be tortured and severely oppressed but they did not relent, until they got what they were fighting for…multipartism in Kenya.
Meanwhile; I was growing up fast, being the firstborn in my family I would occasionally be left to look out after my other siblings and this made me mature and take up responsibilities early in life. Life was perfect… perhaps; that’s what I thought, oblivious of the struggles my seniors were going through. But one thing for sure that I can vividly remember, the then president promoted soil and water conservation, planting trees and burning thousands of ivory to discourage and eradicate poaching! Am sure many citizens did not understand what was going through his mind then, I mean after all Kenya had more serious problems to deal with like eradicating hunger, disease and ignorance. Imagine waking up everyday and viewing mt Kenya not so far away from your house free of charge! It’s a spectacle! Some tourists save up all their life to at least step in Africa once in their lifetime! And here I was enjoying the magnificent view every morning, indeed how Great are thy’ works?! Everyday before leaving for school I would look at the mountains and make a wish…
The Batian peak was clearly visible from my house at the foot of Mt Kenya. The beautiful forest canopy, with thousands of tree species was the home to thousands of bird and tree species. What a marvelous view that was! The skies were blue, and the snow was ever present at the very top of the mountain. Tourists would pass my village in land cruisers all headed to the mountain either for camping, mt climbing, bird watching, among many activities the forest had to offer. The British soldiers locally known as “Jonnis” used the mt Kenya forest for their training before they returned to their countries for deployment. Rivers and streams flowed throughout the year with very clean, cold, and clear waters like crystals. The breeze from the mountain was always refreshing and although the daytime temperatures were high, nights would be extremely cold but we were accustomed to the weather.
However, as the years went by and greedy politicians ascended to power all this was taken away from my fellow villagers and I. The illegal logging saw thousands of trees cut down in a span of 5-10 years. Bird species no longer had homes, water towers were disrupted and streams
and rivers suddenly dried off. People inhabited the reserve forest, encroachment was on the rise and sudden wildlife and human conflict was no longer a secret. Wildlife corridors were disrupted and wildlife like elephants, started attacking farmlands in the forest and destroying food crops planted there. In return, elephants were killed and war zone was now all set…battle lines had been drawn. Having witnessed all that took place, I felt that I could only influence decision making, represent both human and animal rights to co exist. My desire for politics at this point could not be overturned! I had by this time started ‘my little thing’ of conserving the environment as I was the environment and wildlife captain in my school.
I started planting trees in my village, and training my people on rain water harvesting so that they could stop relying entirely on water from the seasonal rivers. By the time I was completing my first Degree in Environmental Science at Kenyatta University I was teaching women around the Lake Naivasha Basin how to make “jiko kisasa” a modern stove in partnership with like minded stakeholders. This stoves reduced wood fuel consumption upto 50%. Womenfolk in my area, had to endure the forest risks to collect firewood from the forest. Great risks came by as a result: women would be raped while collecting firewood, they would be attacked by wild animals such as elephants and snakes, they would be imprisoned for trespassing into the forest for days without trial among a wide range of dangers.
The youth are most vulnerable to poaching in areas bordering parks, game reverses and conservancies. This is due to the ever rising rate of unemployment which is currently over 60%. Moreover, we have lost wildlife worth billions to our economy through poaching. Most recently,
the world witnessed the Last Male Northern White Rhino become extinct before our very own eyes!
What will we as a nation tell future generations we did to save the other almost extinct species of wildlife? The late Professer Wangari Maathai and former Tetu legislator, did a commendable job in protecting riparian zones, forests, water towers and environment at large. We may not fit in her shoes, but our promise is we will do our best.
Degradation of the environment throughout Kenya left me no choice but to love politics so that with my fellow like minded politicians; could at the very least minimize illegal tree and water harvesting, if not completely eradicating the vice.
There has always been this burning desire inside of me, to represent my people and to contribute towards restoration and sustainable development. However; my journey has not been easy, it has been full of challenges. Resources to mobilize and train communities on importance of conservation has been a huge setback. The lack of political goodwill to fight illegal logging, poaching and allocation of forest land has also fallen on deaf ears. Most politicians don’t understand conservation leave alone importance of conserving trees and wildlife.
I represent women throughout Kenya, who are voiceless and table grievances affecting women and youth. With like minded politicians we are fighting for: Inclusivity: women, youth and marginalized groups to be part of government Gender equality and strict observation and application of the 2/3 gender rule in government.
Sustainable Development goal- goal number #15 life on Earth is basically the Environment Respect to rule of law. We will fight to the bitter end to see that regimes respect the above.
In 2013 and 2017 general elections, I supported different women in campaigning. We fund-raised for the women, organized caravans and camped in their different constituencies to ensure a higher number of women in the assemblies and county governments.
Although the number of women elected was slightly higher than that of 2013, women still have along way to go. They should not relent the battle must continue.
Recently, Fellow youth and myself released a joint statement congratulating his excellency Uhuru Kenyatta and his excellency Raila Odinga for the “golden handshake”.
However there are issues we strongly believe that, they must address.
These issues are:
These issues are of paramount importance and they must be addressed with immediate effect, they are a time bomb. That notwithstanding the future is bright. There is a lot of hope that better days are coming and electorate are going to vote for issue based politics, workable ideas and meaningful agenda.
To those who are skeptical they should ask the multiparty fighters if they ever thought the single regime would end anyway… Indeed adversity opens the doors of opportunities.
I look boldly into the future, and I am believing that soon I will represent my constituency in parliament and serve this great nation.
God bless you
God bless Kenya