What you need to know:
- Ms Ateka says her investment and projects are transforming lives and give her an edge over her competitors.
- She takes credit for having trained youths and women in investment and given them seed capital for business.
- She will be up against ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna and UDA’s Margaret Wanjiru, among other candidates.
About 14 years ago, Pamela Ateka plunged into the world of politics to become a member of Parliament. This was after the Embakasi parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death lawmaker Mugabe Were in 2008.
His death occasioned a by-election, which Ms Ateka participated in. She did not, however, do well, having emerged number four. The by-election had attracted political bigwigs, among them former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu (the winner), former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile and Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris.
The result did not dampen Ms Ateka’s spirits. She continued playing an active role in politics.
In the general election scheduled for Tuesday next week, Ms Ateka will be contesting the Nairobi senatorial seat on the Democratic Action Party of Kenya (Dap-K) ticket.
She will be up against Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party secretary general Edwin Sifuna and United Democratic Alliance (UDA)’s Margaret Wanjiru, among other candidates.
But Ms Ateka says the investment and projects she has implemented are transforming lives and give her an edge over her competitors. She takes credit for having trained youths and women in investment and given them seed capital for business.
She believes that come Tuesday, her political prospects will bolstered by young people, women’s groups, the business community and churches that have benefitted from her work.
Ms Ateka says her quest for an elective seat is driven by a desire to become the voice to young people who are grappling with low representation in leadership.
If elected, she plans to push for inclusivity, proper oversight and equal distribution of resources to benefit marginalised groups. She will use her experience in conceptualising, implementing, mobilising resources, monitoring and evaluating projects to ensure county projects respond to the needs of the people.
Her manifesto touches on a wide range of development and social transformation issues. She plans to strengthen the Public Procurement Asset Act and ensure young people not only access the 30 per cent procurement quota but also benefit from a larger share of the allocation.
"The 30 per cent procurement quota has been set aside for women, the youth and people with disabilities. The youth cut across all these groups and should, therefore, get the largest share."
On education, Ms Ateka plans to introduce a bill that will streamline courses offered by village polytechnics to tailor them to specific county needs.
She will also be pushing for the establishment of an authority to be tasked with creating a database for all the young people in this country so that the country is able to know, for instance, the number of young people and their level of education and skills.
"This database will help us know the manpower and skills that we can tap into to help the youth who are currently grappling with unemployment."
The aspirant notes that scores of young people have invaluable skills that have not been exploited mainly because of the absence of a database. Such a database will help national and county governments to direct interventions to the right people.
“The youth have been left out in appointments on the pretext that they lack the requisite skills and experience. But this is due to lack of a policy framework that can help guide the management of the rising levels of unemployment.
"If we create an enabling environment, young people will do business and engage in entrepreneurial activities without necessarily begging the government.”
One of the challenges she is facing is the mudslinging, which, she adds, poses a big headache for women in politics. Her advice to fellow women candidates: “Each aspirant has only one vote and, therefore, do not waste time on political mudslinging. Sell your agenda and policies to the people who will give you the numbers you are looking for to win.”