NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – The Restore and Build Kenya (RBK) party presidential candidate, James ole Kiyiapi, has picked businesswoman Winnie Kaburu Kinyua as his running mate.
“Today, I am naming Winnie Kaburu Kinyua, as my running mate and I am very confident that the woman is awesome in every way.”
“I didn’t allow my mind to be clouded by what is sometimes called the big name syndrome because I said it is not business as usual.”
Winnie was born in Maua, Meru County some 50 years ago and went on to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Masters degree in Gender and Development.
In addition to these qualifications, she has an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration and Psychological Science.
“She understands the theory and therefore the practice of politics. I have no problem with this one because she has read,” Kiyiapi said.
The businesswoman began as a teacher proceeding to work for the Postal Corporation of Kenya before taking up entrepreneurship.
“Winnie is known in business circles. She was one of the people who came up with KEPSA [Kenya Private Sector Alliance] and at one point she was vice-chairman,” Kiyiapi said tooting her horn.
“If we are talking about sending a message to investors, locally and internationally, then you need a deputy president who will speak and people will know that she understands business.”
At the unveiling ceremony, Kiyiapi who was himself endorsed as the RBK presidential candidate less than a week ago said his decision was informed by his desire to see more women in positions of governance.
“Gender equality must not be a matter of tokenism, something we simply say to sound good. It’s like what we do with the youth. We tell them kazi kwa vijana and they have rebranded it to kazi kwa vijana, pesa kwa wazee.”
The presidential aspirant vowed that should he be elected into office, he would ensure gender parity while appointing cabinet secretaries and ambassadors.
“Total balance in the public sector must be there. Women should play the role they are meant to because they are the ones who are pushing the wheel of development.”
“Even when the men are busy drinking in the villages, the women are busy working to make sure the families live. I was biased in this particular case. I was giving preference to women.”
Kinyua cautioned their competitors against underestimating them saying that together, she and Kiyiapi will win the race to State House.
“So many people are saying that you will be losing your vote by giving (it to) Kiyiapi. I’ll take you by surprise. Forget about the ones you see in the papers, how many people read papers anyway?”
“The Kenyans on the ground don’t read papers but in their hearts, we’ve gone round this country, they all say the vote is for ole Kiyiapi.”
Kinyua encouraged qualified women to fight for elective posts: “Women in this country we are learned, we have got the biggest number of voters, we have got whatever it takes but when it comes to elections we shy off.”
“Then for the next five years we are all crying that nobody is thinking about us. Nobody will ever give us anything on a silver plate. We have to work for it. Don’t be told the only thing a woman is good for is county representative.”
Winnie highlighted two areas she would dedicate herself to should she and Kiyiapi win the presidency; elimination of corruption tops the list.
“I’m a business person, I don’t want anybody who was bankrupt yesterday then becomes rich because of my money to come and tell me, ‘I’m giving you this little money so you can vote for me.’”
“I do supplies for medical equipment and that equipment is bought for millions and billions of Kenyan’s tax payers’ money but you go to those hospitals and you realise there is nothing. Where does that money go?”
The mother of two girls and a boy also pledged to improve the education system by focusing her energies on it in the event she and Kiyiapi emerge victorious on March 4.
“Half of your life you are looking for money to educate your children. Why can’t we have good education? Instead of going abroad, your children can be here.”