Meet Migori's 'iron lady' Rahab Rob set to be first female MP

Wednesday July 12 2017

Ms Rahab Robi with ODM party leader Raila Odinga. She is determined to beat all odds and break with the past, in bid to become the first woman MP in Migori County. PHOTO | VIVERE NANDIEMO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Ms Rahab Robi with ODM party leader Raila Odinga. She is determined to beat all odds and break with the past, in bid to become the first woman MP in Migori County. PHOTO | VIVERE NANDIEMO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By VIVERE NANDIEMO
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Ms Rahab Robi is determined to beat all odds and break with the past.

She has thrown her hat in the political ring, and is contesting for the Kuria East Constituency seat in Migori County.

With the exception of the Woman representative seat, she is the only female candidate running for a parliamentary seat in the whole of Migori County. Consequently, she says, hers is partly a bid to defeat male chauvinism which is singled out as a key issue in scaring away women from contesting parliamentary seats.

When she made known her intention to vie for the seat, Ms Robi says she was discouraged by many who thought that she was either not serious or stood little chance.

DISCOURAGED

“People told me that Kuria East is not ready for a woman MP and that I was wasting my time declaring my candidature. But I was determined,” said Ms Robi, who is running on the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) ticket.

As the only woman in the Kuria East parliamentary race that has attracted six candidates, Ms Robi says she is ready to fight it out.

“I am ready to serve my people regardless of my gender. I am determined to prove that women too have the impetus to lead,” Ms Robi said in an interview with the Nation.

The ODM candidate joined politics when she was nominated to the Migori County Assembly in 2013.  

In the primaries for the August 8 poll, she trounced popular politician Tyson Kemege to clinch the Orange Democratic Movement ticket.

VOCAL ON EDUCATION

A former teacher at Nyamanche primary school in the region, Ms Robi has been vocal on the education and state of girls in Kuria community.

She has been involved in campaigns against retrogressive traditional practices such as female circumcision and child marriage.

She founded the Rahab Robi Peace Foundation, which campaigns against these practices.

“My vision is to foster peace through bringing people together,” she says.  

The five aspirants whom she must beat to realise her dream as the first female MP for the constituency include Jubilee Party’s Marwa Maisori, who has been endorsed by the outgoing MP Shadrack Manga who opted to retire from politics.

OTHER CONTESTANTS

Other contestants seeking the seat are former Migori county executive for trade Mr Thomas Maneno running as an independent, businessman Mr Chacha Mabanga of Peoples Party of Kenya, former Kiambu County Secretary Mwita Paul Tosha (ANC), businessman Mr John Busunkwi (KANU) and Mr Zacharia Chacha (Vision party).

Ms Robi says she is ready to face the competition, “I am concentrating on my bid to liberate my people from poverty. I am not bothered by sideshows of my competitors,” she says.