Immaculately dressed. Moving door to door. Deep in the dingy villagers of Kibera slums is a Woman; an Independent candidate running for the Kibera by-election.
Her new routine is no walk in the park. However, she is coping. Even when the situation looks bleak, her antiquated ideas spawn new creativity to manage the situation.
Folks, this is not Martha Karua, Ann waiguru, Charity Ngilu, Gladys Wanga or Esther Passaris. This is an ordinary University of Nairobi graduate who believes she has what it takes to be the next Kibra Member of Parliament.
Fridah Kerubo, a tourism graduate from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) training center in Montreal Canada and a first class honors graduate in Diplomacy and Security Studies from University of Nairobi, says the urge to become a leader bloomed in her at a tender age.
If you have seen those kids who become class monitors in primary and secondary schools, lead church worships, and become student leaders in university, then you already have an idea of Ms Kerubo’s background.
Her mum was widowed when she was at school. Surveying life and the dependency levels of her siblings, Kerubo had to relocate from Keumbu in Nyaribari Chache Constituency, Kisii County in 2012. She would settle to Kibra slums.
Running for any elective post is an all-consuming job. Her pronouncement to run for the position has made her rub shoulders with many people, she says.
Campaigns, like it always is, involve frequent meetings, mobilizing the mobilizers, stage setting, among others. All that require a lot of time, effort and huge sums of money. Since the beginning of the campaigns, Ms Kerubo says she has only incurred sh20,000 in approximation.
“I was cleared first by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to run for the seat. I paid 10,000 as the fee from my pocket. Other logistics like paying for fuel for cars hired, lunch for the few mobilizers that move with me have coasted me somehow,” she says.
Someone who was initially unknown to her offered to sponsor her campaign merchandise like posters and t-shirts.
Ms Kerubo notes that persuading the masses that is strongly opinionated, is an uphill task. “Some days residents are good to you, another day they become venomous and caterwauling.
“Remember how ANC candidate Eliud Owalo was chased away by goons from Gatwekera…? Yes, he came to offer material support to those affected by a fire incident in the area. Hardly had he finished his speech when rowdy youth disrupted his meeting and he had to flee.”
Fridah Kerubo persuading residents to vote for her.
The hat tossing, career woman in her 20s observes that Kibra is a region where politics has been used against residents as a means to keep them isolated and excluded. Ms Kerubo seems to have no faith in government at all.
“The governance structure now reads more like a manual for failed states,” she says insisting that such vices have left most residents under-educated and unemployed. And for her, tables need to be turned, thus the reason she is vying.
Moreover, Ms Kerubo seems to be one Kenya whose dreams are running ahead of her own self. She says, “In years to come, I aspire to be the first female interior cabinet secretary. I understand my age as of now might not allow me to hold such an office, but when the right time comes, I shall serve my country right.”
Asked whether she has connections to be appointed to such a seat, because honestly, this is Kenya, and like MP Ndindi Nyoro put it, ‘Africa is our business’, she exclaims a big “No” with a steady voice.
My interview with her almost takes one hour, I hadn’t noticed that.
She appears tired but not depleted, after all she is just beginning. In fact, she is headed for another door -to -door campaign in Mashimoni area, I have to let her go, but she reminds me of her Manifesto-Masomo na kazi kwanza!