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Meet the girl whose voice boys follow

UREPORT
By Innocent Tsawala | January 20th 2017

She is the first woman to be elected as chairperson to the Masinde Muliro University Students’ Organisation (MMUSO). She is also the second female to lead a students’ body in Kenya. Campus Vibe’s Innocennt Tsawala spoke to Winnie Nyandiga Opiyo

I gather you are the first-born child in your family...

Yes. I am the first child in a family of two. I was brought up in Nairobi. My father passed on when I was three years old and so, my brother and I have been brought up by a single parent.

Tell us about your education journey...

I started my schooling at City Primary School till class seven, then Kariobangi Adventist School for class eight and later to Buruburu Girls High School. Currently, I’m in my fourth-year pursuing a degree in criminology at the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST).

Have you been a leader before?

Yes. I was a class prefect in primary school. I was also the assistant head girl at City Primary School. I also got to head a social club at Kariobangi School. I’m now the chairperson of MMUSO.

What made you venture into politics, especially given the discrimination against women?

It all depends on perception. I’m a leader just like other men out there. The society’s perception is wrong. They should move away from the notion that women cannot do anything if they are elected.

How do you win a campus election?

Determination. I know what I want and I go for it. I also have strong support from people around me who develop good strategies for me. Thus, my politics is mature.

How do you deal with criticism?

I respect people’s opinions. Criticism is good as it keeps you on your toes. But I must be careful they don’t derail my goals.

Who is your mentor?

My mother. She has raised me since I was a child till today.

Who do you look up to in matters politics?

Hon Millie Odhiambo, the Mbita MP is my inspiration. I love healthy competition and courage such as hers, especially given that she is the only female legislator at the moment elected from the Nyanza region.

Are you in any national political party?

I’m an ODM die-hard. I would like to vie for a national political seat in future, though I haven’t decided which one.

Your status?

I’m single. My mother told me a private life is a happy life!

Hobbies?

I love adventure, listening to music and talking to people who matter to me. I also enjoy cooking and eating. My favourite food is ugali and mboga kienyeji with some beef.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

A married and successful young woman chasing after my dreams.

What can you tell other women wishing to become leaders?

Once you have a dream, go for it. Nothing beats you when you go for anything. Don’t be discouraged to drop your dreams by other people’s opinions. Women should go for top political seats and come out in large numbers to vote for their own in the August elections.

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