July 25th 2017

Entertainment / Celebrities

Khatra Mowlid Keynan stands out in crowded Wajir Women Rep race

"I have worked closely with communities in addressing some of the most basic needs such as food, shelter and security. I have also handled disputes, including gender base violence. I am the most versed of the lot when it comes to dealing with the developmental needs of poor people," she said.

By Abdirahman Rashid Farahabdirahmancajab@gmail.comThursday, 06 Apr 2017 13:55 EAT

The candidate addressing supporters from atop her car during today's rally. (Photos: Abdirahman Rashid Farah/Kenya Free Press).

A new candidate for the Wajir women representative position today got a rousing reception at a rally in Wajir Town, signifying the increasing vibrancy of politics in this once sleepy town. Ms Khatra Mowlid Keynan has emerged as a forceful champion for women's rights in the run-up to August general elections when Wajir voters will choose the successor of Ms Fatuma Ibrahim, the incumbent who is vying for the Tarbaj constituency seat.

The women representative position is being hotly contested, with more than seven aspirants coming up to stake a claim for the seat that Fatuma has held for the last five years, traversing the county and inspiring women to leadership in this hitherto conservative region. Besides Khtra, Oray Adan, Barey Diis, Halima Abdille (who is currently an ODM nominated senator), Halima Shina, Fatuma Gedi and Farhia Abdille are also in the running, among many others.

However, Khatra, who is running on the ticket of the Kenya Patriotic Party (KPP) has marshalled substantial following among the voters. She today addressed a mammoth rally in Wajir Town. Having arrived at the local airport to a grand reception from supporters who were waiting to receive her. She was received by songs and dancing before she addressed the a rally.

A native of Wajir Town, Khatra was born and bred here, and also attained both her primary and O level school certificate in Wajir County. She aspirant holds bachelor degree in sociology and is pursuing a Masters in political science from Kenyatta University. Before venturing into politics, she has worked in different parts of Africa particularly in Somalia as a humanitarian, gender and youth programmes manager for more than 10 years.

In her manifesto, Khatra promises to work for the women’s empowerment across the country. She wants to support the women attain higher levels of social development, and has identified the pathway to her goals as tackling issues of maternal healthcare, girl-child education, supporting young women by role modelling and empowering the women's voice in community participation.

Her programmes will therefore involve working with women groups, supporting people with disability, supporting small and medium women-owned or women-led groups, changing the face women in Wajir County by increasing the participation of women leaders at community forums, and using her office to promote games and socially-empowering events for female students in different schools in order bring unity among enlightened women and school girls.

Asked by this reporter why she was the best from other contenders, she cited her experience in the field of humanitarian, gender and youth program manager for more than 10 years. "I have worked closely with communities in addressing some of the most basic needs such as food, shelter and security. I have also handled disputes, including gender base violence. I am the most versed of the lot when it comes to dealing with the developmental needs of poor people," she said.

While Khatra is running for the seat on KPP, which is affiliated to Jubilee Party, and fully supports President Kenyatta as the next president of Kenya come 2017 election, she has not endorsed the Jubilee Party's Momahed Mohamud as the gubernatorial candidate of choice. "I am reserved at now as to whom I am supporting as Wajir governor," she told this writer at at interview after her rally.

She said that Uhuru appealed to her given the programme by his wife, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta's 'Beyond Zero' campaign, which she hopes to cooperate with in raising awareness and funds for maternal programmes in Wajir County and northern Kenya.


Part of the crowd at Khatra's rally today.

On matters related to negotiated democracy, she said she said she does not support boardroom power-sharing, seeing it as "a way to lock out youthful leaders". She said everyone should be allowed to run for any seat, expressing concern that negotiated democracy could bring conflict, dissatisfaction and lack of unity among the communities.

Khatra said once elected, she would bring a bill in the parliament that support women representative's funds like CDF, national government funds and county funds which will support the electorate. She said MPs and Governors are elected like us we too need funds that we can rely on to support our electorate.

On devolution, she urges the people of northern Kenya to hold fast to the concept, saying it had brought them significant development in a short time. She cites as an example Wajir County, which had tarmacked some roads and created massive employment opportunities.

Abdirahman Rashid Farah is a contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Wajir County





Stay Connected