YVONNE KHAMATI: FROM DIPLOMACY TO POLITICS
YVONNE KHAMATI/ “When I went for an elective post in Makadara I lost badly. I was beaten up; beaten in the polls and beaten up physically because the electoral ground at that time was quite hard especially for a young woman without the experience in the p
You win by working hard, making tough decisions and building coalitions. John Engler American politician
Twice in her life, Yvonne Khamati has made it to history books. The first was when she ran for the Makadara parliamentary seat in the 2002 elections at only 21. The second was when she was appointed as an Ambassador at 25.
“I actually started out on my career in diplomacy when I was just 18, when I represented the youth during the Kyoto Protocol negotiations at The Hague,” says the Nairobi senatorial aspirant.
“It was the foundation that led to my successful career in diplomacy a few years later.”
Khamati, 34, is the daughter of celebrated scholar, the late William Ochieng’, who also served in Daniel arap Moi’s government as a Permanent Secretary.
“For me leadership and service to the people is inborn,” she quips.
In 2014, the African Leadership Magazine, an online outlet published in the UK, named her in a list of 20 youngest Power Women in Africa.
The list consists of individuals the magazine describes as “young, extraordinary and inspiring African women”, who are making the most dramatic impact in individual African countries in politics, business, technology, policy, diplomacy and media.
The article defined her in these glowing terms: “She is a doer, resolute in her resolve to change, to build, inspire and transform. She is out there making it happen. She is a change maker, trendsetter, visionary and thinker, builder, and a young global leader. She is at the vanguard of Africa’s imminent socio-economic revolution and its contemporary renaissance.”
Her diplomatic career blossomed quickly after the first appointment. She rose from the position of Deputy Ambassador at the AU to the Head of Chancery and deputy permanent representative of the Kenya Mission to the United Nations Office in Nairobi.
However, her path has not always been strewn with roses. Take her initial foray into politics for example. She explains without any show of bitterness: “When I went for an elective post in Makadara I lost badly. I was beaten up; beaten in the polls and beaten up physically because the electoral ground at that time was quite hard especially for a young woman without the experience in the politics of city.”
But she considers the ordeal a blessing in disguise. “It was a stepping stone for other young leaders who took the challenge and made it through in leadership,” she says.
”I am glad I contested for a political seat at a tender age because it opened the doors for more young women.”
She has officially declared her interest in the Nairobi senate seat.
“FOR ME LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE TO THE PEOPLE IS INBORN,”