Gladys Wanga floors Evans Kidero in Homa Bay

Gladys Wanga

Homa Bay Governor-elect Gladys Wanga (left) and her deputy after being declared the winner of the gubernatorial race on August 12, 2022.

Photo credit: George Odiwuor | Nation Media Group

Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga has made history by being elected the first female governor from Nyanza.

Ms Wanga emerged the winner in the tightly-contested gubernatorial race that initially had 10 aspirants before the number was reduced to three after other politicians withdrew from the contest after a consensus meeting in March. She was declared the winner this morning with 244,559 votes.

Her closest challenger, former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero got 154,182 votes. Mr Mark Raudi of United Democratic Alliance came third with 1,244 votes.

Ms Wanga thanked Homa Bay residents for believing in her. 

“Azimio presidential running mate Martha Karua asked women to give me a chance and they have heeded that call,” Ms Wanga said after being declared the winner.

 Her journey to victory was, however, not easy.

 After being given the ODM certificate, the outgoing MP was tasked with the responsibility of campaigning for the Azimio la Umoja coalition party.

She headed the women's campaign team alongside Kitui governor Charity Ngilu. But the tough opposition that Dr Kidero had put in Homa Bay prevented her from engaging in campaigns outside the county.

Gladys Wanga

Homa Bay Governor-elect Gladys Wanga receives her certificate from County Returning Officer  Fredrick Apopa on August 12, 2022. Looking on is her deputy Oyugi Magwanga.

Photo credit: George Odiwuor | Nation Media Group

She only accompanied Mr Raila Odinga in a few rallies before concentrating on her gubernatorial campaigns.  

 "It's a miracle, we never imagined it would happen," she said after being declared the winner by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission County Returning Officer Fredrick Apopa.

She extended an olive branch to Dr Kidero and promised to accommodate everyone in her government.

"We will deliver service to everyone. Whether you voted for us or not is no longer an issue," Ms Wanga said.

 She called for peace in Homa Bay and asked Dr Kidero to support her.

 Ms Wanga's victory has made her go into history books as one of the female politicians in the country to break the glass ceiling even in areas that are perceived to be for men.  

 Since joining active politics in 2013, Ms Wanga had set her eyes on bigger goals ahead.

Her victory has also reaffirmed her spirited efforts in working hard for leadership as she overcomes many odds to become a woman of firsts. 

She became the first woman legislator to be elected as the chairperson of the Finance and Planning Committee in the National Assembly.

She had also served as a Commissioner in the Parliamentary Service Commission, making her the first woman commissioner from Nyanza.

In 2003, she became the first woman to be elected secretary-general of the students' union at Kenyatta University. Within ODM, she became the first female county chairperson of the party.

In the 2017 General Election, she headed Mr Odinga’s Nyanza Presidential Campaign team.  

Ms Wanga is among the leaders who spearheaded the formation of the Embrace Kenya movement to popularise the Building Bridges Initiative constitutional amendment Bill 2020.

She promised to transform the lives of Homa Bay residents, mainly farmers, youths and women through various economic empowerment programmes.

Her manifesto focuses on food security, improved and affordable healthcare, and water provision to families among other issues affecting residents of Homa Bay County.

"Our county has natural resources in abundance which my government will ensure are used to help residents. That includes pineapples in Kochia and sweet potatoes in Kabondo," she said.

Part of her agenda for farmers is to provide subsidised inputs, hire more extension officers to offer advice to farmers, and establish industries for value addition among other ventures.

Other economic programmes in line are setting up revolving funds for boda boda riders and other groups to take up loans and start business ventures.

 “We promise to work tirelessly for our people from all carders and in all sectors,” she said.

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