Siaya Governor James Aggrey Bob Orengo is the latest senior politician from Nyanza to join a long list that has eulogized the passing of the first female Kenyan Member of Parliament Grace Onyango.
Mama Grace Onyango.
The iconic leader who was also Kenya’s first female Mayor died at the age of 98.
According to her daughter Pauline Akwacha, Grace breathed her last at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit on Wednesday evening at around 5 pm after a long illness.
Azimio leader Raila Amollo Odinga referred to the deceased as a towering giant who broke the gender barrier to become a Mayor at a time when Kenya’s political scene was dominated by men.
Kisumu Governor Prof Peter Anyang Nyong’o referred to Grace as among that class of human beings destined to change human history.
Orengo had referred to Grace in equally glowing terms, calling her a highly principled politician who broke the glass ceiling in an exclusively fortified male universe (whatever that means).
All these politicians have been aware of Mama Grace Onyango’s medical plight which family members said was long and at times financially exhausting. Sadly apart from parading Grace on national holidays, the same politicians did not come through for her.
Grace Onyango at Kisumu Stadium during a past Mashujaa day celebration.
In 2021 when they were discussing emoluments with the Parliamentary Service Commission it was only two-term legislators at National and County levels who were accorded the benefits of a pension scheme. The groundbreaking pioneers such as Mama Grace did not feature anywhere.
As Luo Nyanza politicians register their solidarity with the family and friends of Mama Grace Onyango maybe a little soul-searching on how to make life bearable for our icons could be in order.