Essy Okenyuri poised to replace Soipan Tuya as nominated senator

Essy Okenyuri poised to replace Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Nominee Soipan Tuya at the Senate. [Eric Abuga, Standard]

The UDA youth leader Essy Okenyuri will have to wait for the substantive appointment of Cabinet Secretaries to know whether she will be nominated to Senate.

UDA could proceed to gazette Ms Okenyuri to replace Nominated Senator Soipan Tuya if she is approved by the National Assembly as Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary.

A source within the party said, they will officially forward the name once the National Assembly completes vetting of nominees to the Cabinet.

Okenyuri missed joining the Senate after the electoral commission picked the first eight UDA female nominees. She had been gazetted as number nine on the list.

In 2017, she was appointed by former President Uhuru Kenyatta as the head of Jubilee youth campaigns in Kisii county.

Okenyuri is a former student leader at Maasai Mara University. In 2017, she had hoped that she would be nominated to the National Assembly after she dropped her Woman Representative bid for Kisii to join the Jubilee presidential campaign team in the county.

According to advocate Enock Ongiti, party lists don't change after elections. "She stands a chance to replace Soipan. It is like the process is cast on stone," he said.

"It's her time now to represent the youth and female interests in the legislation process at the Senate. The zeal, hard work and determination in her are worth emulation," he added.

Okenyuri co-founded Kisii Youth Alliance, a Community-Based Organization in Kisii county that helps youths to create and access opportunities to improve their livelihoods.

The graduate of Kenya High School was among youthful politicians who were the face of the UDA in Kisii for President William Ruto's campaign.

In a past interview, she said she had been advocating for skills development to alleviate poverty and inequality in Kenya.

Okenyuri who was a former researcher in the Strategy and Delivery Unit of the Office of the Deputy President participated in developing concept papers to support the implementation of Technical and Vocational Training Institutions in at least every sub-county.

"This is in line with the government's agenda of equipping youths with technical skills to tackle youth unemployment. At my age, I believe I have a lot to offer our country at the legislation level," she said

A UDA MP from the region said the nomination will be left to the party to decide.

"Legally she deserves the position. We are all proud of her strides and we could mind having a second female senator from Kisii. We are ready to give women a chance to lead as promised by our party leader President Ruto," the MP said.

UDA nominated senators are Veronica Nduati, Soipan, Miraj Abdulrahman, Gloria Orwoba, Joyce Korir, Karen Nyamu, Peris Tobiko and Maureen Mutinda.

Nominated Senator George Mbugua represents persons living with disabilities while Nominated Senator Raphael Mwinzagu represents the youths.