Entertainment / Celebrities
Monday, 24 Apr 2017 17:51 EATekariuki@kenyafreepress.com
Rita Ndunge Ndunda, who is the underdog in the race for Machakos women representative seat currently held by Dr Susan Musyoka, is putting a fight of her life for the position and is optimistic of winning come August 8. Running on Governor Alfred Mutua's Maendeleo Chap Chap party, Rita promises to radically change women representation in Machakos.
"I have travelled widely throughout all the eight constituencies and I intend to do more in the coming days," she told this writer in an interview at Mlolongo over the weekend. Rita is currently focused on just one goal, winning the MCC nomination over her sole opponent Francesca Mutinda, but thereafter she promises to take her campaign to every village in Machakos County and persuade voters to give her the position.
A great mobiliser who has endeared herself to women and youths, Rita believes she is the right choice for the position, pointing to the developmental work she has done over the last four years through Mashinani Initiative, a community based organisation that she founded and leads.
Using the NGO, she has helped vulnerable groups in Machakos including widows, orphans and the disabled people in accessing economic opportunities. The initiative has supplied wheelchairs to accident victims and the people who need them at no cost. She has also contributed to women's table banking initiatives, because to her improving people's incomes is the only sure way of addressing poverty.
She has always included the youths in her programs and works closely with university students and other youth associations. In turn, some of these groups have endorsed her for the seat that she is seeking. If she wins, her priorities include working more closely with less fortunate including the widows and the orphans who are neglected by the society.
"At the moment Machakos County receives Sh56 million annually for the Affirmative Action Fund but we don't have much to show for it. This is because the current administration is not in touch with the grassroots, there is a connection with the grassroots that is missing from the current leadership," she said.
As part of her efforts to promote womenfolk, she has partnered with a club in which single mothers, divorcees, victims of domestic violence and vulnerable women come for support. She is advocating for the rights of the girl child in education and has mobilised various actors to challenge early marriages, sexual abuse and other practices hindering women's progress.
A mother of two, Rita, 38, is herself a widow, having lost her husband over two years ago. Born in Kola village in Kalama, Machakos Town sub county, she went to Mbooni Girls High School and has a BA degree in sociology and communication from the University of Nairobi and a diploma in crime prevention and management from Kenyatta University.
Rita, centre, during a campaign stop at Kyangala, Kalama.
Before venturing into politics, she was a senior manager at the NSSF, prior to which she was a senior police officer. Working with NSSF exposed to her to many countries where she traveled and made contacts, including the USA and European countries. It is those connections she has tapped into when fundraising for Mashinani Initiative.