WOMAN TO WOMAN: I believe in working together and not confrontations

Saturday October 7 2017

Elizabeth Ayoo is Homa Bay County Assembly

Elizabeth Ayoo is Homa Bay County Assembly Speaker. PHOTO| FILE 

By ANGELA OKETCH
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Elizabeth Ayoo is Homa Bay County Assembly Speaker

Tell us about yourself.

I am 36 years old, born in Kisumu County in a family of three girls. My parents were strict disciplinarians — that is the reason I grew up to become a High Court advocate and an educationist.

 

What kind of a person are you?

I am religious. I put God first in everything I do. I believe in teamwork and achievements.

 

What about family?

My husband hails from  Kasipul Kabondo constituency in Homa Bay County. We have three children.

 

What is your working day like?

I get into my office in the morning and begin with looking at what is in my diary.

I do conduct assembly sessions, study bills and petitions according to the Assembly Standing Orders. All this depends on assembly calendar.

When not in the assembly, I am always in my firm handling cases.

 

What were you doing prior to becoming speaker?

I have worked in various universities both in administration and academic positions and even promoting girl child initiatives in Nyanza by providing sanitary pads.

I have also advocated for control of tobacco use before and after assent of the Tobacco Control Act 2007 both nationally and internationally as provided by the Framework for Tobacco Control Convention. I have also been a high court advocate.

 

How are you prepared to manage the assembly?

I know what I am getting myself into and understand that my job is now political. I believe in consultations and not confrontations.

I am, however, loyal and greatly indebted to the people of Homa Bay County who look upon their duty bearers to change their lives.

As a woman, I know it might be difficult given that I am mostly leading men but with God’s guidance I know I will manage.

 

Given your tight schedule, do you get time for your family?

Family is very important and I spend time with them whenever I am free. I create time for them because they have played a pivotal role in who I am today.

 

What else do you do in your free time?

I read knowledge-oriented books, go to church, visit friends and enjoy playing with my children.

 

Ascending to a political seat, is your basket already full even before you settle down?

It’s true that my basket of activities is already full because I will be striving to restore public confidence in an assembly rocked by corruption scandals and incompetence.

During the just concluded election, 38 out of 40 MCAs lost their seats.

This was attributed to accusations of incompetence and lack of effective oversight of the executive by the MCAs.

 

Some male MCAs are not ready for a woman’s leadership; how will you handle such characters?

MCAs in the Homa Bay County Assembly have educational background and academic qualification that make them competent and equal to the task.

In the assembly there are engineers, accountants, economists, teachers and other ward representatives with vast experiences.

I trust that they shall help in moving the county’s development to greater heights. The fact that women can lead is a reality in today’s world.

I believe in harmony and working together because confrontation is not beneficial to the public.

 

Your election as the speaker brings the number of women in senior leadership position to four in Homa Bay County. How does it feel?

My election affirmed the county’s commitment to affirmative action after election of four women in the county to the National Assembly.

 

Your critics have accused you of being a project of gubernatorial candidates who seek to have control of the assembly in 2022 elections. What is your opinion?

I owe my rise to this position to the people of Homa Bay who had trust in my ability. I understand that politics is part of my position but we will cross the bridge if we hopefully reach 2022 General Election.

 

MCAs in most assembles across the country have been accused of holding the Executive banch of county governments hostage with unrealistic demands. How will you handle this?

I will ensure the MCAs undergo training on all development programmes and initiatives being implemented by the county government to enable then perform their oversight roles satisfactorily.

 

Any challenge?

Politics is about interests. Sometimes there are people who come with interests to sway your decisions but you want to ensure that the rule of law supersedes your actions and deeds.

 

Highlight some of your successes...

I have promoted girl child initiatives across Nyanza and also inspired thousands of girls in the country whom I have made to believe that they can achieve their goals in life no matter their background.

 

Who has been the most influential person in your life and career, the special person that you have always looked up to for inspiration?

My parents have been inspirational to my life and my career. They moulded me to be who I am today.

 

What inspires you?

I am inspired by actions which make positive change in the lives of ordinary persons and belief in God before everything.

 

What advice would you give to women?

Women should work hard to pursue their dreams no matter where they are or their social background. Women can change societies if given opportunities. They should grab any opportunity that comes their way and use it to transform the society.

 

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

Working on issues that change the lives of ordinary residents of the county who look up to leaders for change.

 

What separates you from others?

The ability to put interests of the vulnerable first before my interest or desires