Drive for unity is unstoppable, say women leaders

Women leaders dance to a gospel tune at Migori stadium yesterday during a Team Embrace Kenya event. They distributed wheelchairs, driving licences and motorbikes. [Caleb Kingwara, Standard]

Team Embrace Kenya took their campaign to Migori County where they said their drive to unite Kenyans was unstoppable despite attacks from some political quarters.

Women leaders at the Migori rally challenged those opposed to the peace and unity calls to tell Kenyans their agenda, even as they drummed up support for the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Although many of the women leaders behind the initiative failed to make it to the rally after their flight was canceled, a team of six led by Migori Woman Representative Pamela Odhiambo and Homa Bay’s Gladys Wanga said they will ride on the handshake to drive development. 

Yesterday’s rally was also attended by Public Service Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia who unveiled a series of development projects in Awendo and Migori towns.

Also present were Nominated Senators Emma Mbura, Judith Sijeny, Anne Kanyi and Rehab Wangui. Wanga said the nation was yearning to break political marginalisation and election fuelled violence. 

“The handshake has brought the peace and stability we have yearned for for so long. We are now on a path to healing. If there is anyone opposed to that, they should tell Kenyans they want us to go to war and remain torn along the ethnic divide,” she said. 

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She said the Kisumu port is being renovated thanks to the peace pact. 

“When complete, Kisumu port will will serve all the counties sharing the lake and those around it because it will improve how we trade with one another and with the neighbouring countries,” she said. 

She said the handshake has also led to efforts to revive the sugar industry, with real prospects of breathing life into the dying industry. 

Prof Kobia said the State had already compiled data on the number of pregnant teens and those with children to enable it gauge the level of the problem and advise policy direction.

She said following reports that one in five teenage girls were either pregnant or had a child at the end of last year, the Government is now exploring the causes with an aim of stepping up remedial measures which can contain the situation. 

She said efforts to step up sex education and counseling in schools were already underway. 

“We have data on those dropping out of school and this will help us gauge correctly the problem. We have also proposed a policy to have them go back to school,” said the CS. 

Teenage pregnancies

Kobia said local authorities had been instructed to steer community efforts against teenage pregnancy, with measures such as banning disco matangas (funeral discos). 

She had earlier launched an ICT centre in Awendo and issued cheques to youth and women groups. 

Latest reports by the Ministry of Health’s Demographic and Health Survey show that teen pregnancy and motherhood rates in Kenya stand at 18 per cent.

About one in every five adolescent girls has either had a live birth, or is pregnant with her first child.

These rates increase rapidly with age, from three per cent among girls at 15 years to 40 per cent among girls aged 19 years.

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Team Embrace KenyaRaila OdingaMigori County