NJERI THORNE: SHE WANTS TO LIGHT UP LANG’ATA
NJERI THORNE / “I don’t think they [woman reps] are taken seriously. The position has been sexualized: I hope this is something that the next dispensation can change.”
NJERI Thorne has, since 2013, been seeking to understand why most women are reluctant to contest for political seats in Kenya.
Despite women’s very powerful mobilisation character and the fact that they do a lot in community building, they are not involved in politics, and their voices are rarely heard.
Thorne concludes women themselves are afraid of politics. Or they don’t know how to get involved in politics; they lack resources; or it’s just the case that Kenyans just prefer male leadership, generally.
Since establishing these facts she has been appearing on TV shows and writing political opinion columns in the national newspapers, encouraging women to run for political positions and defuse the notion that political positions are the preserve of men.
“I have been writing opinion pieces hoping to normalise the fact that women should have a voice in politics,” says the Lang’ata parliamentary seat aspirant. Thorne regrets the fact that the 47 Woman MP positions created by the 2010 Constitution as part of Affirmative Action lack relevance.
“I don’t think they [woman reps] are taken seriously. The position has been sexualized: I hope this is something that the next dispensation can change.”
The 36-year-old mother of two says her decision to join elective politics is to enact laws that will empower women, the youth and the less unfortunate.
“I would like to go to Parliament and legislate in favour of the people…It is not necessarily a female agenda, but it is something I feel very strongly about,” she explains.
“I will be great in legislation, I can articulate issues well; I have got different ideas, I am able to stand up and debate in Parliament.”
Thorne says most of the current leaders have lost touch with the electorate. They are unable to come up with innovative ways to solve the modern-day problems that face Kenyans, especially the youth and women.
Lang’ata is viewed as a Cord stronghold, but Thorne declares she understands it; its constituents and the problems they face.
“The constituency is very cosmopolitan and mostly made up of young people. I have a good chance because I am young.”
Lang’ata residents, she says, are grappling with a high rate of insecurity, heavy traffic jams, shortage of water and burst sewers and lack of jobs for youth.
She is promising to double the number of jobs by creating a 24-hour economy. If elected, she will bring electricity to every part of the constituency. She will also improve security, so that businesses can stay open for longer hours and employ almost double the staff because they can do two shifts.
“I WOULD LIKE TO GO TO PARLIAMENT AND LEGISLATE IN FAVOUR OF THE PEOPLE… IT IS NOT NECESSARILY A FEMALE AGENDA”