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Get Out Of Your Cocoons, Women Politicians Told To Fight Out For Political Space.

Kiambu County MP aspirant Gladys Chania Mwangi has advised Kenyan women to get out of their political cocoons and fight it out for their space if at all they ever wanted their voices to be heard and respected.

Speaking at the Sentrim 680 Hotel in Nairobi where she was the chief guest at the International Women Leadership Conference, Chania said that the success of women leadership squarely depended on themselves and they should never blame men for their own woes.

“For us (women) to succeed in politics, we must get out of our mental and political cocoons. We are the way we are because of the decisions we make. Women cannot be transformed if they aren’t transformed themselves. We should never blame these men for what we create for ourselves. Mkikataa kujipanga wenyewe mtapangwa,” she said.

She added that the reason why women failed in politics was that they were too dependent of men for free or easy way up, a factor that led to them being political sycophants to be toyed around by men. She therefore advised them to learn to be independent by influencing support by being ‘strategically smart’ in their political moves.

Chania clarified that the Kenyan political scene was not for the faint hearted and therefore women had to be brave enough to withstand the heat that came from their political opponents.

“You cannot behave like flower girls and expect to be treated with dignity by these men. Kama huwezi kustahimili joto ya uongozi, just keep off. Learn to fight your own battles.”

Co-convener Susan Gitau who is also the Director of International Professional Counsellors Centre (IPCC), Thika, said that IPCC had partnered with Maisha e.V from Germany in a bid to discuss the strategies and methods that would assist more women to participate and win more seats in the coming General Elections.

She took the participants through the myriad of challenges women candidates in Kenya went through to get elected. She called on women to develop solidarity with each other rather than pulling each other down. She called on them to be aggressive and to persist because nothing will come easily for them.

“Women should stop waiting for the men or the government to give them space. They need to develop solidarity between each other, to support other women and even develop skills for leadership and advocacy,” she said.
The Conveners and The brains behind the Conference

On her part, Gretsa University Lecturer Lucy Kahenya asked women to brand themselves to gain recognition from the populace. She advised them to form synergies by team working with others with different skills and abilities if they wanted to elevate themselves to leadership.

Zulfa Hakim Mohammed, Nairobi MCA asked fellow women to brace themselves for character assassination as the political scene was for the ‘thick-skinned’.

“This is the right time for women and youth to embrace technology as this is our ticket to creativity and penetration to the political scene,” said Young Sophie Tiro Katampoi from Amani Africa Communities in Nairobi.

She asked them to be peer mentors as they rallied behind prospective women candidates as this was the only way to guarantee more representation by women.

Present at the occasion included The Executive Director of Maisha e.V Virginia Wangari Greiner, Johnson Kinyanjui, a counselling Psychologist and a 2017 Njoro Constituency aspirant, Dr. Garnet Parris from Frankfurt Germany, Simon Kabochi of Chartered Insurance Institute and Peter Gichaga of Masculinity Institute Kenya.

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