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Monday, 20 Feb 2017 14:03 EATabdirahmancajab@gmail.com
Fatuma Ibrahim Ali's name has remained etched in all spheres of live in Wajir since she ventured into politics. The current Women Representative for Wajir County would use her achievements to defend her seat during the August 8 general elections, but she is having none of that.
Fatuma has chosen an altogether different course, setting her sights on the Tarbaj Constituency seat currently held by Mohamed Elmi. Her campaign for the position has caused waves with constituent enamored by her solid accomplishments in the region and in the National Assembly since 2013. Many voters here are waiting with bated breath to see if the MP will make history as the first Somali woman elected on a constituency seat. Fatuma is the first woman to seek a constituency seat in Wajir County.
Even though many women in every part of the world continue to be largely marginalized from the political sphere especially where men are their contenders, often as a result of discriminatory laws, practices, attitudes and gender stereotyping, Hon Fatuma Ibrahim has incredibly overcome these obstacles with great acclaim, and often to the benefit of the society at large. Fatuma stands by the notion that the playing field needs to be level, opening opportunities for all.
As she unleashes her interest for the next step of constituency political leadership, the women rep has kindled a fire of activism among the youths and women voters many expect will carry her to the National Assembly. Mr Elmi, the constituency's current representative, is retiring from politics on grounds of personal choice, and Fatuma believes she is the right candidate who will propel Tarbaj to the next level of economic and social development.
Speaking to the Kenya Free Press, Fatuma shows her thirst to seeing a Tarbaj that is better than it is now, through what she terms as installation of quick transformation measures to elevate Tarbaj's phase of being less developed sub-county in the devolved era. "I am not happy with the situation of the basic amenities in Tarbaj, ranging from schools, hospitals, water sector, electricity, children enrolment in schools, communication service providers.
"Once in power, I promise to embark on rekindling the hopes of my people, through my manifesto of establishing proper health care system, drawing measures to curb the water inadequacy, and creation of value for the hooping water trucking expenses as well as better education system", she said.
In her tenure as woman representative, Fatuma has been instrumental in ensuring the allocation of bursary funds for less fortunate scholars in both secondary school and university students. For instance in 2015 her office saw more than 600 students from across the county benefiting from scholarships. In 2017, she is targeting 800 students.
The MP has also brought two medical camps in Wajir District Hospital which saw more than 1,000 attendees given free medical services for some of the gravest illness such as eye and dental problems. Over 600 eye patients were successfully operated and 80 others given spinal cord check-ups. Others had numerous minor surgeries. Her target as per her help in giving better healthcare to the Wajir people will be covering 500 patients in this year.
On party politics, Fatuma remains poised to maintain her party ODM, and she speaks of her unwavering loyalty to her party leader Raila Odinga, distancing herself from what she refers to as "parties that are against devolution". She told these reporters that "any party that is against devolution is not a party of choice for Wajir residents".
From a casual observation, there is no doubt that Fatuma is redefining the political history of the male-dominated North Eastern region. Voters of Tarbaj Constituency have a rare opportunity not only to select someone whose development record is already well-known, but one who would open the path to prosperity for all people regardless of their gender.
The writers are contributing reporters for the Kenya Free Press based in Wajir County