Dare to Lead, Change the World!
Veronica Longole was brought up in West Pokot county. The communities found in the county can be described as ‘marginalized’ and owing to this, they have had to get through life with little to no support from government. As a result of this, the area has been prone to unrest as the mostly pastoral communities fight for the meager resources available.
Longole is one of the beneficiaries of women and Girls Lead Kenya, an organization that uses media to inspire women to seek political positions. After watching an ITVS produced film titled ‘Pray the devil back to Hell’, Longole was angered by the plight of Liberian women during the 2003 civil war as she felt that Pokot women could relate to the experience of these women in West Africa. This led her to seek the position of Member of County Assembly (MCA) for Tapath Ward with the aim of driving the development agenda in the county.
Longole believes that women in Africa have been led to believe that they are the weaker sex. As a result women have had to settle for less. They have had to resign to just being the woman behind the successful man. However history informs that when women dare to step out of the shadows, they are capable of shifting the course of history.
One woman exemplifies this in her efforts to mobilize women to compel warring factions in Liberia to sit at the negotiating table and end the raging war in Liberia. Leymah Roberta Gbowee got tired of women and children suffering on account of a war that was being perpetuated by their male counterparts.
The evils that occur in times of war are mostly meted out to women and children. In her speech while accepting her Nobel peace prize, Leymah described the women in Liberia during the 2003 civil war as toys of war for over drugged young militias. Having had enough the women of Liberia registered a group that consisted of christian and Muslim women aimed at ending the war.
The women were able to compel President Charles Taylor to attend the peace talks in Ghana. The women did not just trust the process in the hands of the men who represented the restless civilians, they accompanied them to Ghana to ensure that they keep the interest of the country central to the talks.
The women observed that the two (male dominated) groups were only interested in the goodies that they stand to gain from the discussions. They would share out leadership positions instead of charting the way for peace to be restored in Liberia. Following this observation, the women used their bodies to barricade the exits of the board room to keep them in the room until they came to a consensus.
As the General Election in Kenya draws near may the story of these daring women inspire Kenyan women to stand up, to speak up and to dare to lead.