The new 'Iron Lady'? The rise and rise of Alice Wahome

Kandara MP Alice Wahome. The second term MP who is also a lawyer and rights campaigner understands what the fight against societal barriers in seeking elective office is all about. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Kandara MP Alice Wahome’s political rating is currently at its highest ever since she joined electoral politics in 2002.

By the time she clinched the Kandara seat in 2013 (after failing in her previous two attempts), her close allies had started appreciating that she was bold in speech and independent-minded.

She campaigned on the platform of human rights and promotion of women leadership. Between 1999 and 2001, she was deeply involved in affirmative action activism, joining the Fida council as the vice-chairperson. She also served as a Law Society of Kenya council member for two years.

A member of the ‘Big Five—a grouping comprising of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Naivasha MP Jane Kihara, former Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah and Kiharu’s Ndindi Nyoro, who in April 2018 launched a drive to wrest Mt Kenya voters from former President Uhuru Kenyatta, she is seen in the region as a “freedom fighter”.

Elaborate plan

Mr Gachagua says the five held their first meeting in Ms Kihara’s Naivasha home where they mooted an elaborate plan to defy the then President following his famous handshake with Mr Raila Odinga in March 2018.

Ms Wahome, 63, immersed herself in the fight against Mr Kenyatta’s dominance in the region with a passion that brought to the fore her tough mien.

She became a critical pillar in organising ground visits to ensure the handshake never won acceptance in the region.

For her radical declarations that Mr Kenyatta had turned against the Mt Kenya political wish and had destroyed the area’s economy, she attracted both admiration and contempt.

It was during the burial ceremony of multi-party activist Charles Rubia on December 30, 2019 where Ms Wahome told off the president off.

“This country under your rule is degenerating into a dictatorship and freedoms that were fought hard for by the likes of Kenneth Matiba and Mr Rubia are being eroded by the day,” she said. The mother of four became an instant hit among those who were not happy with Mr Kenyatta.

As the anti-Uhuru wave gained traction in Mt Kenya region, Ms Wahome became synonymous with the attacks, sometimes claiming that Uhuru was scheming to hang onto power.

She says the outcome of the August 9 polls vindicated her after the President’s Jubilee Party was rejected in the region, and Mr Odinga defeated.

Her toughness was on display during the 2017 General Election after she was said to have assaulted a returning officer on claims that he was manipulating the vote against the President.

Created a scene

In 2016, the MP created a scene on the Kenol-Murang’a road when she sought to remove a police roadblock during a crackdown on unroadworthy vehicles. She asserted that the purpose of the crackdown was extortion.

As Ms Wahome now basks in the glory of her political team’s win, she says “we have to protect this (presidency and government) from all saboteurs not happy”.

She adds: “In the meantime, I’m contented with being an MP, but should President Ruto find me worth a higher calling, even in his Cabinet, I’ll go running”.

She says that when things cool down, she will reveal the true suffering that those who were against the handshake and the Odinga candidacy went through.

Ms Wahome attended Karumu Primary, Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls and Siakago High schools before she proceeded to University of Nairobi for her law degree.