Daddy’s girl arduous journey in politics
Harriet James @harriet86jim
At 24 years, many are still figuring out what their purpose in life could be. There are some rocking life to the fullest and others just starting out their careers.
Many are self-conscious as they move into uncharted territory in their life, whether in career or love life.
For Daisy Konainza Nyongesa, at 24, she was nominated as a senator representing the youth on an Orange Democratic Movement party (ODM) ticket.
As her father, Gerishom Nyongesa a farmer and a businessman recalls, Daisy, a firm believer, got the news after she came from a one-week fast in March 2013.
“I knew she was involved in politics particularly with the affairs of her party—mobilising people, but we never anticipated that she would reach that far.
Her mother was busy washing the utensils and I was selling fuel at my filling station when she told us the great news,” he reminiscence.
Nyongesa says the family knelt down and prayed for their daughter who had a challenging task ahead.
House of knowledge
For five years, (between 2013 and 2017), Daisy also served in three house committees in the Senate: Implementation Committee, where she served as the Vice Chairperson, Education Committee and ICT Committee.
She moved several motions, statements and bills that she did collectively with Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association —for instance, Procurement and Asset Disposal Bill that ensures inclusion of one third gender in tender process, women, youth and people living with disabilities.
She further supported Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) Bill when she was a member of Education Committee.
“According to her, the Senate is a house of people full of wealth of knowledge. She enjoyed her time as a senator.
Being a youth and a woman, she received massive support from her colleagues,” says her father.
While there has been proposals to abolish the Senate, Daisy feels it is a key house.
“She feels the Senate is supposed to be purely an upper house, but because of the amorphousness in the constitution, it is just the other House.
Some people feel we can do without it, but you can’t have devolution without Senate. Their mandate is to protect counties and its people,” says Nyongesa
In addition, the Gender Bill has been hitting a bumpy road. Nominated positions see to it that one gender does not exceed two thirds.
It also assists in the inclusion of youth and persons living with disabilities in all categories of leadership.
Daisy, as her father recalls, began showing leadership skills while in secondary school.
“While in secondary school between 2003 and 2006, at Moi Girls’ Nangili Secondary School, Kakamega, she was made a prefect,” Nyongesa recalls.
In 2008, Daisy joined Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology to pursue a degree in Education.
“Daisy got actively involved in politics while in campus. In 2010, while still in the university, she participated in grassroot campaigns for the New Constitution,” he adds.
But even while doing this, she faced many challenges as a young woman. “It’s not so easy being in politics as a youth and a woman. There is lack of goodwill from male counterparts.
A lot of mud-slinging is involved. Lack of resources may also hinder work flow, especially because everyone looks upon a leader for help.
But my daughter was determined to break the glass ceiling,” he says
Daisy is thankful for the mentorship of former nominated Senator Janet Ong’era who was also ODM Executive Director.
Ong’era is currently, Kisii county Woman representative.
Ong’era oriented her into politics and vote mobilisation through training under Programme for Young Politicians in Africa.
It is through her guidance that the now 31-year-old served as the Kakamega county Orange Young Democrats League Secretary General from 2011 to 2015 when she was elected as the youth representative to the ODM County Coordinating Committee.
“My only daughter is a hardworking girl and a go-getter. She was a Christian Union leader and served in praise and worship team. At the university, she became the Women Caucus Leader.
This resulted to her joining national politics by being a member of the Western Youth Alliance that campaigned for the 2010 Constitution and eventually ODM,” Nyongesa says.
While campaigning for the Constitution, Daisy toured the former 24 constituencies of Western region.
She interacted with the political class. By the year 2013, the election period, the mother of two was a full-time ODM chief campaigner.
“She was in charge of youth mobilisation in western region. The leadership saw her efforts and rewarded her with the nomination,” he adds.
Daisy is an all-round person who though was busy in politics, she furthered her education and pursued a Master’s Degree in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at Moi University.
And since she was still young, she didn’t put her social life aside. She would go out with her peers. “I was not married at that time, but I was dating.
I also met several suitors who pretended to love me, only to realise it was love for money. However, I sailed through without scandal,” Diasy says.
Shey got married in 2015 to Nabwera Nabii, a politician. She is a mother of two boys; one aged two years and the other, seven months.
She is also a step mum to three other children who are aged 22, 14 and 11.
“My daughter holds great conviction that youth have a zeal and knowledge to lead and participate in governance.
She has led the way in my family and I celebrate her because has been a good example to the rest in the family,” he says in conclusion.