HON. MISHI MBOKO is one of the only three elected female Members of Parliament from the Coast region (the two others are Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and the Taveta veteran, who is also serving a record Fourth straight term in parliament Hon. Naomi Shaban).
-The LIKONI MP is a top contender for the 2022 gubernatorial race in Mombasa County, seeking to succeed her close ally and current Governor Hassan Ali Joho. Her constituency has the second largest population after Kisauni.
-So far, she is the only female contender, touted by political analysts as having great chances of clinching the seat should she play her cards well at the Party and Grassroots levels.
-Hon. Mishi is an influential member of ODM, a fierce defender of the party, its leader Raila Odinga and her constituents and also a recognized advocate for women, youth and people with Disabilities.
-She is a Communications and Public Relations graduate.
-Her 2022 bid recently received a major political boost with an electrifying endorsement and revelation from the EMBRACE WOMEN movement, an affiliate of the Handshake team.
-Formerly, Hon. MIshi also served as the first Mombasa Woman Representative under the new constitution between 2013-2017.
THE Coast Counties Watch (CCW)’s TRAILBLAZERS series takes a special dive into the world of politics to celebrate Mombasa County’s undisputed queen of politics, the Iron Lady, who also bears the tag ‘Moto Wa Kuotea Mbali’, a leader who has made strides towards a society where balance between women and men in politics is the reality.
We celebrate her dedication and the successes with her perseverance in changing the rules of the game in the murky and male dominated world of politics.
Likoni MP Hon. Mishi Mboko has shown through her work that it is possible to break the glass ceiling and ensure that women have the place they deserve in politics.
Over time, the Communications and Public Relations graduate has managed to shape herself into a powerful political brand, strong enough to battle for a decisive place in politics, not just at the party level, but also the national and the County spaces.
Her outspokenness, courage and wild devotion to various political causes that benefit her constituents and residents of Mombasa and especially her consistency in her long-time advocacy for women, youth and people living with disability within the House and outside has contributed to her grassroots influence and political clout.
The MP whose political journey started on very rough and uncertain patches, full of twists and turns, disapproval and loses, managed to eventually turn the tables, recording history as one of the only three elected female politicians from the Coast.
The political system is a male dominated environment which does not make it easy for women. But if experience is the best teacher, then accomplished female politicians like Mishi are a living testimony and an inspiration to the next generation of female leaders.
She may have been successful in making significant inroads, but she broke each of those inroads with risk and courage.
Mishi’s golden rule: “Always be focused and stand up for what you believe in”
We celebrate a woman whose words and deeds are proof of the fact that women’s economic independence is the key to ending women’s inequality.
Her active participation in the legislative processes that have adopted policies and laws that ensure women’s participation in the economy and the society at large is one of her strengths as a leader.
An individual who has been recognized and appreciated for her efforts to promote the empowerment of women and her commitment in building peace and cohesion among communities, way before she joined politics.
She has used her platform as a leader to prove that what men can do as leaders, women can do…much better.
“I am a strong believer of gender equality as a crucial factor to building and strengthening communities and especially giving women more chances to engage in the political process to become the perfect role models for the future generation of female politicians,”-Hon. MISHI MBOKO
Even though her current priority and focus remains her mandate as Likoni MP for the remaining two years or so of her term, all indications are that she is a force to reckon with, and her ‘behind the curtain
We take a look at the political journey of an outstanding female politician who has demonstrated leadership courage, whether its making uncomfortable but bold conversations, communicating without all the answers, making tough decisions to move ahead on various missions, or simply going against the grain.
With guts to step forward, risks to take to lead change and interrupt the status quo, she became a winner and hopes for much more better results in the near future.
It is precisely that kind of behaviour, that fosters trust and sets a crucial example for others to follow.
Going against the Grain…a third time…
“Politics is about competition and most importantly, I believe I have all it takes to become the next Likoni MP. I will fight it out and ultimately, the people will have the final say as to who their true representatives are,”
That was the MP’s statement when she went against political advice from friends and experienced colleagues, opting to face the giants to redeem her 2007 failure.
Well, it is that same conviction that the Likoni MP is once again set to go against the grain-for a third time, determined to join the Governors’ club come 2022.
She is a top contender and so far, the only woman going for the most coveted seat in Mombasa County, with the same conviction and determination she had in the run up to the 2017 general election to clinch the seat she currently represents in parliament.
Thanks to her aggressiveness, she represents a constituency with the second highest population out of the six, a region that will have a major and crucial say as to who becomes the next Mombasa Governor.
Mentored by her favourite role model Phoebe Asiyo, and being a close ally of ODM party leader Raila Odinga and one of his good political students too, Mishi has this natural go-getter personality-passionate, resourceful, perceptive, dependable and driven.
Today, the LIKONI MP has not only emerged as one of the fiercest defenders of her party and its leader, she has also been consistent as a true advocate of women and youth, both in the House and outside.
She has grown to become a witty politician, who is always taking calculated risks and pushing the boundaries of what others believe is impossible.
Her political journey kick started with her first act of courage to attempt to interrupt the status quo when she first threw in her bid to become Likoni MP in 2007, a move that many dismissed and was met with major challenges, from stereotypes, to irregularities at the primary level, to lack of resources for extensive campaigns.
That was the first time she went against the grain-but lost to Masoud Mwahima. Only that she was not yet done.
She learnt from the challenges, the mistakes and all factors that resulted to an unfair playing ground and sought a second strategy; ‘live to fight another day’
She re-dedicated her time and energy to the ODM party, using every opportunity to prove her worth as a leader, her loyalty and the value she could bring in building a vibrant party.
Not long after, her level of significance and influence thanks to her loyalty, was growing within the party hierarchy.
Fast forward, 2013, it was time to jump start her political mission. She opted to find her right footing and place in politics with the help of a quota seat-the office of the Women Representative.
Having a strong presence in the political party that enjoys dominance at the Coast, a strong connection with the right people and resources for extensive campaigns, Mishi sailed through as the first woman rep.
Being in charge of the Six constituencies in Mombasa was a major advantage for the Likoni MP and as she undertook her mandate, at the back of her mind, her mission was not over. It was just the beginning.
After serving her first term as woman rep, it was time to go against the grain-a second time. Her political allies and even her community and friends, tried to dissuade her against her decision to leave that ‘comfort zone’ as Mombasa women rep, by ‘throwing away’ an easy second term to opt to face over 10 strong male contenders, including veteran politicians at the grassroots.
Observers thought it was ‘political suicide’ and projected a repeat of the 2007 defeat, by her number one political enemy Hon. Mwahima who was optimistic of a second term in bunge.
It was a much-anticipated showdown, one of the very closely watched political contests of 2017 between ‘Moto Wa Kuotea Mbali’ (Mishi) and ‘Chuma Cha Reli’ (Mwahima). In her historical win, she floored other veteran and significant politicians like Suleiman Shakombo, Suleiman Mgala and Benard Waore.
But taking advantage of the then MP’s fall out with ODM, and the ground she had covered under her mandate as woman rep, the lessons of the past and the knowledge and skills she had accumulated, added to her influence in the party and her closeness to party leader Raila Odinga and the Mombasa Governor, Mishi’s efforts and sacrifices were finally paying off.
That is how she become one of the only three elected female Members of Parliament from Coast region, alongside her Malindi counterpart Aisha Jumwa who also abandoned her woman rep seat for a bigger challenge and Taveta’s veteran Naomi Shaban who is serving a record fourth straight term as an elected MP!
Mishi’s support network….
Before her election in 2013, Mishi was co-convener of the civil society organization in Mombasa which worked with other civil society groups to avert total political collapse of the aftermath of the violence that tore apart after the December 2007 election.
She was very instrumental in the peace building initiatives in the Coast region and mobilization of multi-media campaign strategies that aimed at transferring knowledge on the need for peace and development, a task she carried out well beyond expectations, consequently in a collective role, bringing back peace and tranquility in the region.
She has constantly built and grown her social and professional networks, relationships and ties that are instrumental in her 2022 bid.
She recognizes that in order to get ahead and to achieve her ambitious plans, she will need every strong and capable network of people that she can turn to for help and support.
She left a mark in her tenure as Mombasa Woman rep…
Perhaps one of the reasons that Mishi found favour in the Likoni electorate was her presence and achievements in her Women rep tenure and as a tested leader.
Even though the first office bearers were met with financial challenges for laying the foundation of a new order, she was effective in the sense of evidence of connection between her capabilities and results.
She initiated many income generating projects for women, youth and people with disability.
She made great grassroots impact through Table banking and Saccos which uplifted many lives in the six constituencies, ideas that we witnessed being replicated in many other parts of the country.
As a woman rep, Mishi was quite instrumental in engaging and mentoring the local youth, and also nurturing talents, a favourite area of focus that she has currently advanced in her constituency by supporting and furthering their artistic ideas by playing a central role in those initiatives.
From such initiatives, youths got decent startups and in other instances, she helped establish music production centers where the youth are now able to record their songs as well as get professional guidance on music composition.
She helped to set up tailoring schools in villages at subsidized fees, where young girls who were stuck, for years, for reasons beyond their control unable to complete their education are today major beneficiaries and breadwinners in their households.
She also oversaw set up of rehab centers to help drug addicts among countless other achievements.
Embrace women movement supports Hon. Mishi’s 2022 bid
Recently, her political aspiration received a major boost from the Embrace Women Movement, an affiliate of the Handshake team, which endorsed her bid to succeed Joho, a declaration that was made by the patron and Cabinet Administrative Secretary Rachel Shebesh.
The movement is being seen as Mishi’s strongest political launching pad yet, for her bid, with revelations there have been meetings and caucuses with women groups which have not only endorsed the Likoni MP but have also advanced strategies for a significant grassroots support network across the county.
Mishi’s oratorical prowess, great sense of humour and her mastery of the Swahili language when passing satirical messages to political adversaries, makes her one of the very few effective firebrand politicians who can deliver the kind of rabble-rousing speeches she is capable, be it in political rallies, press conferences or the floor of the house
The way she packages her messages in public meetings through her mastery of Swahili language and flawless connection to its proverbs, has a way of always getting into the nerves of her targets, to the extent of causing her trouble with the law in some instances.
She never hides behind the standard political language, doesn’t mince words, does not fake her character and her straightforwardness is something that many appreciate and respect her for.
For now, her priority is the people of Likoni…
When Mishi was seeking votes, it was to provide effective representation for the people whom she believed had gone for decades without.
Her top priority remains the youth, the fight against drugs, violent extremism and local crimes, the education sector and women economic empowerment.
She has made impressive progress in transforming the education sector and specifically quality education for all and scholarships for the needy, improving bursary distribution and educational infrastructure, economic empowerment programs and nurturing youth talent and creating job opportunities and support for the elderly.
Likoni has been ranked among the very best in as far as awarding of bursaries is concerned.
Her manifesto also includes quality healthcare for all, access to safe drinking water and sanitation, emergency preparedness and response and child and elderly support and protection.
She has also been actively consistent in her contributions in the House committees, with representation of her constituency issues in the legislative and policy bodies to solve grassroots problems and fulfil her mandate.
Yes it is possible Hon. Mishi…the glass ceiling shatterers explain how…
Mishi has earned a place in the list of fierce female politicians in Kenya, powerful and influential women who have the strength to take risks, learn from failures, deal with remarks, insults and stereotypes in their political journeys and most importantly, the courage to fight for what they believe in and to never give up no matter how hard the challenge is.
Veteran female politicians who have ‘been there done that’ and have achieved amazing results are a source of hope for the determined likes of Mishi:
“The politics of this country is like rugby, where stamina and technique are key to scoring. One must be strong to make it,”-KITUI COUNTY GOVERNOR HON. CHARITY NGILU.
“In the political arena, one must be vocal…When an opportunity comes, take it,”-HON. ALICE WAHOME, FIRST FEMALE MP, KANDARA CONSTITUENCY
“As a woman in politics, you cannot succeed unless you are strong and believe in yourself- HON. WAVINYA NDETI.
“You must be an eye-catching leader and convince the people that you can indeed deliver,”-HON. FATUMA DHULLO, SENATOR ISIOLO COUNTY.
“Politics is five or ten times harder for women than men, but I have come to learn that you can achieve anything you set your mind to, if you are resilient, focused and have a sense of humour,”- KIRINYAGA COUNTY GOVERNOR HON. ANNE WAIGURU
FOR WOMEN who aspire to top leadership positions especially in politics, routes exist, but are full of twists and turns, both unexpected and expected. But just like all labyrinths have a viable route to the center, goals are attainable!
Mishi’s greatest advantage is that her journey and experiences have resulted in her understanding and mastering of the various barriers that make up these labyrinths because she has more than once, found her way around them.
I belong to the school of thought that subscribes to the argument that gender should not be a factor in whether or not a person can be a great leader-that a person’s leadership abilities should depend on their individual strengths and personality traits
That said, the Coast Counties Watch (CCW) celebrates you, your achievements and wishes you the best in the tough battle that awaits you!
Have a nice one…