NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22 – Both father and daughter contested in the March 4 General Election and both father and daughter lost but in spite of the loss, the daughter still wants to walk in her father’s footsteps.
Lydia Masikonte ole Ntimama stood for the Narok Women’s Representative seat and lost while her father, William ole Ntimama, unsuccessfully sought to defend his position as the Narok North Member of Parliament.
Masikonte is however adamant that she may be down but not out. Like her father, she plans on being in politics for the long haul, win or lose. “People should not wait for my come back, am already there. One thing I do admit is that my father’s shoes are huge for me, but I am equal to the challenge.”
And although Masikonte admits that part of the reason she ventured into politics five years ago was to make her father proud, the former nominated councillor says her biggest motivator is the Maasai woman. “The Maasai woman is the one I understand better in my body and my soul as one of them.”
A woman whose interests, she says, have been poorly represented in the past and the reason why she sought the Narok Women’s Representative seat in the 11th Parliament.
“These cultures are still putting women down. If a Maasai woman is to address any audience with men, she needs to sit down on the ground,” Masikonte explained.
Even though she lost in the March 4 poll, Masikonte says she will not throw the baby out with the bath water and will continue to push for the Maasai girl to be seen as equal in capability to the Maasai boy.
“With the new constitution, the Maasai woman and all Kenyan women will grow. They just need to rise to the occasion and grab the great opportunities the constitution is giving,” she said.
As she bids her time to take another run at elective office, Masikonte says she will push for the emancipation of the Maasai woman through the non-profit Maasai Woman Organisation. “I want to educate women to know what their rights are. This constitution gave women a lot of rights but sadly many do not know even know.”
Despite the assumed rewards of humanitarian work, Masikonte is insistent she would better represent the interests of the wider Narok community in the political arena. “It has come a time that it’s no longer my own decision, it’s more of a calling and despite not winning. My people want me back.”
Masikonte however admits that there are those who opposed her election on account of her being Ntimama’s offspring. “Being a minister’s daughter strikes both sides… you get those who love and hate you in equal measure. I intend to build my own foundation on what I can do and that’s what I have been doing so far.”
When the elections roll round again, Masikonte says, she’ll read the political climate better. “I was in the campaign trail for two years and I really shared my policies with the people, but all of a sudden, the United Republican Party (URP) wave came which played a great role in the outcome.”
Masikonte wouldn’t be a true Kenyan if she didn’t end her interview with a plea to the government; “President Uhuru Kenyatta should give one of the two remaining Cabinet positions to the Maasai community as has been the custom since independence. But not to me, politics is in my blood.”