I defied gender discrimination to become governor
By - Jan 1st 1970
Homa Bay Governor Gladys Wanga has recalled how she defied the odds of gender discrimination to become a governor.
The bias occurred during campaigns for the county governorship ahead of the last General election.
Such discrimination included being called names by her opponents to discredit her candidature.
One of the memorable names is Thapki. Thapki is a stage name of an Indian woman who acts in a vernacular television broadcasting in Dholuo.
Thapki acts like a stammerer, with the inability to speak consistently. Her inability to make complete statements makes people perceive her as an underdog in a competition.
They called me Thapki
But Wanga has now recalled how her male counterparts referred to her as Thapki.
Speaking during the launch of distributing bursary cheques worth Sh100,000 at Namba Nyokal Chief’s camp, East Gem ward in Rangwe Constituency, Wanga told residents that God is the one who enabled her to win the election.
She said was running against politicians of high caliber who had a lot of resources but she managed to get the victory.
Her main competitor was the former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero who ran as an independent candidate in the general election.
Earlier, she ran against a number of male politicians in the search for an ODM party ticket. They included her ODM party chairman John Mbadi, her Deputy Governor Oyugi Magwanga, former Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata, former County secretary Isaiah Ogwe, businessman Jared Otieno, and former Finance CECM Nicholas Koriko among other leaders.
“I am happy before you and I thank God that a person who was being referred to as Thapki during campaigns is a governor today,” Wanga said.
She told residents to cooperate with her leadership so that she delivers the services they deserve.
Wanga said her administration is ready to fulfill the social contract she made with the people of Homa Bay when she was campaigning.
These pledges include improving healthcare, promoting education, promoting agriculture, and the blue economy among others.
“I am going to ensure transparency and accountability in serviced delivery to the people of Homa Bay,” said Wanga.
She expressed hope for her success in achieving her objective of delivering services to the people. She has bought and installed a computer tomography (CT) scan machine worth Sh45m at Homa Bay County Teaching and Referral Hospital.
Since the time memorial, Homa Bay residents have been traveling to other counties like Kisumu, Kisii, and Bomet to seek the services of a CT scan machine.
“Residents have been traveling to other counties to seek CT scan services due to lack of the machine in any hospital in this county. But I have managed to install the machine in my first 120 days in office,” Wanga said.
In a speech aimed at inspiring women and school girls, Wanga told residents not to stop pursuing their dreams because of gender discrimination.
She argued that any person can achieve any dream regardless of their gender.
“There is no woman who has been a governor here in Nyanza region. My success means every woman can succeed in what they want to achieve in life,” Wanga said.
Say no to pre-marital sex
She told schoolgirls to avoid being hoodwinked into a sexual relationship to enable them to learn successfully.
“Let nobody cheat you that you are beautiful. If you accept sex, it will interfere with your education and your future life will be ruined. Simply say no to anybody who wants to have sex with you,” Wanga told the girls.
She also told parents to talk to their children about sexuality to enable them to know the danger of premature sex.
“Parents should not assume that children do not know sex and shy from talking to them. Let every parent talk to their daughters about the danger of premature sex,” Wanga said.
The governor called on every stakeholder to make efforts of preventing teen pregnancies among girls in the county.
“Let every stakeholder come out to fight teen pregnancies among our girls. We want our girls to go to school successfully and become productive people in the future,” Wanga said.