Mishi Mboko- I can’t stand lazy men who fight women

Mombasa Women Representative Mishi mboko addresses crowd during NASA meeting at Bomas of Kenya Photo: Boniface Okendo

You are a jolly good dancer. Do you party a lot?

I only party during community celebrations. Doing a jig and celebrating brings people together. Dancing to me is a way of telling the youth that I can be young at heart, nimble and fit as they are.

Why do politicians dance at public rallies instead of discussing serious issues?

Any good politician needs to spice his or her rallies through entertainment, free talks and jokes. When we dance, we are telling our voters that we are sharing good times with them.

Why didn’t you defend your Woman Rep seat?

As a role model for women in political leadership, I had to pave way for another woman to increase our numbers in Parliament. Also, the Woman Rep position is an affirmative action seat. Therefore, after you are empowered, you must mentor and bring others on board to further our agenda as women in politics in this country.

What would you attribute to your decisive win in the ODM nominations?

I won because I am a servant leader close to my electorate. I have also done a lot of work towards empowering fellow women, the youth and people living with disability.

How did you manage to get the support of a community that is divided by tribe and religion?

We do not discriminate and are not guided by bias. My secretariat is cosmopolitan just like the electorate I wish to represent. Mine is a group of people from diverse backgrounds, all working in harmony for the common good.

Why do you want to be an MP?

To provide the effective representation my people deserve and have gone so long without. I feel the need to continue to legislate on important issues affecting our people. Women need to get to Parliament, but not only through the Woman Rep avenue as there is a lot to be improved in the perception of women leaders in this country. Kenyans are yet to believe that what a man can do in leadership, a woman can do even better. I am also keen on utilising the bursary fund effectively to promote the education of girls and orphans because I have observed some irregularities in  distribution.

You are an extremely aggressive politician. Why?

Politics unfortunately sometimes requires a level of aggression to drive home the point and ward off intimidation. This is especially when wresting power from non-performing leaders so that you can fight all the misconceptions about women perpetrated by lazy men. What such male leaders do is seek to maintain the status quo and so that they can continue taking advantage of society for their own selfish interests. I do not believe that a woman will be stepping out of line just because she is running for MP.

Why is it like being a woman in a male-dominated Kenyan parliament?

It is a challenge, somehow, but we have now mastered the game and overcome the hurdles bit.

Word on the street is that women reps are of no use. Is that a fair assessment?

Not really, only that some important roles have been left to constituency MPs. Also, Women Reps have little funding to execute their mandate, unlike MPs.

What was your greatest achievement as a Woman Rep?

I initiated many income-generating projects for women, youth and people with disability. Table banking and Saccos have the potential to uplift lives. I made them my priority and my ideas have been replicated in many other parts of the country. I also engage in mentoring and nurturing talent among local youth who come to me with their artistic ideas. I ensure they get support for decent start-ups. For instance, we have established music production centres, where the youth record their songs as well as get guidance on music composition.

I have also set up tailoring schools in villages at subsidised fees, which take in young girls who for some reason or another may have discontinued their education. We also have set up rehabilitation centres to help drug addicts in our society, among many other projects.

Which Kenyan female politician do you respect most?

Hon Phoebe Asiyo who mentored me into a political leader.

What do you intend to do about drug abuse and child prostitution at the Coast

We can make a difference through affirmative action and with ample funding. We need to ensure that existing rehabilitation centres such as the Approved School in Likoni are running effectively. We have also invested in sensitisation efforts. That is in addition to passing the correct legislation to protect young girls from child abuse.

Do you see Nasa winning this election?

Yes, Nasa will absolutely take the leadership of Kenya.

In four years, you have become more famous than some more experienced male MPs. How come?

I have been vocal and consistent on public issues throughout my political journey. I am fearless, assertive and aggressive in advocating for the rights of my people. I am also loyal to my party and have always been steadfast on issues affecting coastal people, especially historical injustices.