Meet the only woman elected to the Kericho assembly

Ms Anita Biegon, the Chemosot Member of County Assembly -elect, the only  woman MCA in Kericho county, at her garden Kusumek village in Bureti constituency in this photos taken on December 2, 2021

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

Ms Biegon’s election is a major boost to women seeking leadership positions in a county where the local community still clings to archaic cultural practices and beliefs.

In the male-dominated Kericho County Assembly, the youthful Ms Anita Biegon, 33, stands out for another reason: she is the only elected woman member.

Of the 35 elected MCAs in the six sub-counties of Bureti, Ainamoi, Belgut, Soin Sigowet, Kipkelion West and Kipkelion East, 34 are men.

Before this year’s elections, that distinction belonged to Ms Nancy Kimetto, the outgoing Tebesonik ward MCA.

Ms Biegon, who ran under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party, garnered 7,648 votes in Chemosot ward in Bureti constituency in her first stab at elective politics.

She beat her closest rival Richard Rono (independent), who received 5,564 votes, and outgoing MCA William Kipkirui Soi (independent), who had a paltry 60 votes.

Ms Biegon’s election is a major boost to women seeking leadership positions in a county where the local community still clings to archaic cultural practices and beliefs.

She is one of the youngest MCAs in the assembly and is expected to put her wealth of experience in the private sector and in non-governmental organisations to serve residents.

“I am grateful for the overwhelming support from voters in Chemosot ward who voted for me as their first woman representative,” she said.

“Many thanks to my friends and family members who rallied behind me and gave me material, financial and moral support in what highly contributed to my success.”

She urged women to gun for elective positions instead of waiting on the sidelines for nomination slots on offer by political parties.

“It is time for the youth to take charge of their affairs and go for leadership positions in the country so that they can provide practical solutions to the myriad of problems affecting the society and address issues of unemployment,” she added.

Her top priorities are to empower the people, particularly women, youth and people with disabilities.

Ms Biegon, a businesswoman with interests in poultry, said she will help the youth end overreliance on white collar jobs. She wants them to grab opportunities in the informal sector and become self-employed.

She champions dignity for schoolgirls and has supplied thousands of sanitary towels through the Days for Girls organisation at schools across the country with support from local and international entities.

Her advocacy propelled her to the national limelight, making the mother of two a darling of the young and old even before she thought of plunging into politics.

“For decades, girls have unfortunately suffered in silence, especially during menstruation, with thousands dropping out of school for lack of sanitary towels and their being shamed instead of being supported,” Ms Biegon said.

She envisages a future where girls across the country will be supplied with sanitary towels and boys thought to give emotional support to them instead of ridiculing them when they soil their clothes.

To attract more investors and create jobs, Ms Biegon said the county executive and the assembly need to work together to come up with policies that would create a conducive environment for businesses.

“Kericho County is in a highly agriculturally endowed zone with adequate rainfall all year round. There is an urgent need to roll out policies and programmes that would attract growth of cottage industries, especially agro-based ones, so as to create markets for farm produce,” she said.

She also said the county should help farmers through cooperative societies to bulk and add value to fresh farm produce before it goes to markets.

“Farmers have for decades been exploited by middlemen, who pay them peanuts in farm gate prices, yet they rake in millions of shillings by repackaging and disposing of the fresh farm produce in retail markets,” she lamented.

She also wants the national government and the county to provide subsidies for farmers so that they can produce more for local and export markets.

“We have to empower the people as government, devolve resources to the grassroots, ensure prudent management of taxpayers’ money prevails, conduct proper public participation processes in identifying development projects and eradicate the culture of handouts,” Ms Biegon said.

Kericho County has not elected a woman to Parliament. Dr Esther Keino, a former Egerton University lecturer, was the pioneer nominated MP from the area and in the Kipsigis community.

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