SPEAKER TO TAKE ASSEM­BLY TO WARDS >

New Nairobi County Assem­bly Speaker Beatrice Elachi pledges to take House ac­tiv­i­ties to the wards.

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - COUNTY NEWS - BY LIL­LIAN MUTAVI Lmu­tavi@ke.na­tion­media.com

Ay­oung girl from west­ern Kenya came to Nairobi com­pletely un­aware that she would one day be a house­hold name and land a plum job in the city county assem­bly as its Speaker.

Ms Beatrice Elachi had just com­pleted her Form Four ex­am­i­na­tion at Moi Girls High School, Vokoli, be­fore she came to Nairobi in search of the “big dream”.

The for­mer Se­nate ma­jor­ity chief whip does not shy away from me­dia and is a strong de­fender of Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta and his deputy Wil­liam Ruto.

When she ar­rived in Nairobi, she set­tled in Kangemi where she served as a youth leader at St Joseph par­ish. She later joined Africa Nazarene Univer­sity where she grad­u­ated with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree and later a mas­ter’s de­gree in Peace and Se­cu­rity Stud­ies. Speak­ing to Na­tion, she said the Speaker’s job was a sur­prise.

“Never in my wildest dream did I imag­ine I would be­come the Speaker es­pe­cially in Nairobi,” said Ms Elachi.

She thanked her bosses who pro­posed her for the po­si­tion and for get­ting the op­por­tu­nity to serve res­i­dents.

Ms Elachi un­suc­cess­fully con­tested for the Dagoretti North MP’S seat dur­ing the Au­gust 8 elec­tions on a Ju­bilee ticket.

She plunged into pol­i­tics in 2002 by get­ting in­volved in ac­tiv­i­ties that tar­geted women and got her first job as a pro­grammes of­fi­cer at the Na­tional Coun­cil of Women of Kenya.

At the time, the coun­try was gear­ing up for the 2005 ref­er­en­dum, which was or­gan­ised in two camps: those who sup­ported the Con­sti­tu­tion and those who were against it.

She sup­ported the gov­ern­ment side which was the “yes” camp. This and her work with women re­sulted in her be­ing spon­sored by the for­mer Chief Jus­tice Willy Mu­tunga to work with women through Ford foun­da­tion.

Dur­ing the ref­er­en­dum, she started work­ing with the for­mer min­is­ter John Michuki who men­tored her in pol­i­tics.

Af­ter the vi­o­lence that broke out fol­low­ing the 2007 elec­tion, she was rec­om­mended to be part of the ‘Kibaki Tena’ team and was re­quested to go to the var­i­ous IDP camps es­pe­cially in Rift Val­ley. “The ex­pe­ri­ence made me look be­yond the things we see, be­yond how we play our pol­i­tics, and how we ig­nore small things. This is why our fab­ric is so tat­tered and we should re­think what we want as Kenyans go­ing for­ward,” said Ms Elachi.

In the Se­nate, she was very vo­cal and has moved a num­ber of mo­tions. This in­cludes a Bill in July 2013 that suc­cess­fully lob­bied the gov­ern­ment to rein­vent the Na­tional Youth Ser­vice in or­der to en­cour­age more youth to join it af­ter high school.

The Speaker said she will push for nom­i­nated mem­bers to have an of­fice and aid where they can serve res­i­dents.

Ms Elachi will also make com­mit­tees hold sit­tings in the wards in a bid to en­gage res­i­dents in their work.

“I hope things at the assem­bly will be done dif­fer­ently by tak­ing com­mit­tees to the ground and pick­ing the is­sues that they will bring to the assem­bly for gen­er­a­tion of re­ports and im­ple­men­ta­tion,” she said.

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