Mum stirs in us a desire to aim high

Sophia Akoth Marumbu has always been vocal and has never shied away from sensitising people in matters politics. Her son, Edgar Marumbu, tells us more about his mother who is a Member of County Assembly in Bungoma County

Harriet James @harriet86jim

Describe to us your mum’s personality. What don’t we know about her?

My mum is honourable Sophia Akoth Marumbu and yes, I just called her honourable even though she is my mum (laughs). She is in her 40s and married to Dr Peter Marumbu, my dad.

She is a God-fearing woman who believes in what she does deeply. She goes after what she wants and will stop at nothing to be able to achieve her dreams — qualities I’m happy she instilled in me too.

When did she become interested in politics and how has her journey been? 

During the 2005 referendum, my mum took the role of sensitising women on the Constitution. But even before that, she was always vocal on political matters and was never afraid to voice her opinion. She mobilised women to register as voters and as members of her ODM party. She was then elected a delegate of the party at the constituency then the chair of the women league in the county.

What are some of the challenges she faced?

Challenges were many, especially when you are not financially stable. It always became difficult for her to move from one place to another because she couldn’t campaign only around her area, but had to move and meet people of different status and cultures.

I saw her strive to meet her political obligations while at the same time making sure we also got everything we needed. From what I saw growing up, I can confidently say that it is not easy for women to survive in politics let alone thrive. They have to work twice as hard to get even half of what men have.

As a son, what does your mother’s achievement as a politician mean to you? What have you learnt from her?

I have a role model in the house to look up to. It means that I have a high bar set for me. It means that she has set the standards and the only way to make her proud is to live beyond her success story. It has made me learn and appreciate the values of patience, persistence and consistency not to forget the spirit of volunteerism. I have learnt various lessons from her.

To always believe in a cause and to always strive to achieve what we believe in. It has taught me to always have a purpose in life. It has also reminded me that sometimes our calling has a bigger responsibility of touching lives than we can possibly fathom.

How does she balance family and politics? Is there really a balance for women when it comes to that?

It is family that makes politics possible, so the root of everything you give to society stems from back home, that is always how I have seen her view it. The balance of course is there, but it is more difficult for women.

What are her future plans as far as politics is concerned?

Her future plans are she wants to serve the people of Bungoma in the capacity she has been accorded and make the lives of as many people as she can better. She will definitely still be a politician only better and more effective as she continues to gather more experience and acumen.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m 25-years and work as an administrator in the dean of students office, Kisii University.

Seeing your mum as an MCA, what is your general view as far as the wrangles between MCAs and governors is concerned? Also, your opinion on MCAs misusing public money by overpricing projects and going on unnecessary trips.

I’m all for accountability and transparency and I think good governance is the key to that. I’m a board member of World Scouting, an international organisation with high standards of good governance and best practices. If we could adopt this method, we would not be having these wrangles as everyone would know what to do.

And as for MCAs misusing money, it still goes to lack of good governance and non-adherence to best practices. Honestly, if mum was involved in something like this, I would be the first to remind her of the discipline she instilled in us.

Parting shot.

I really love you mum and I look up to you for so much more than just as your son. I’m sure you have noticed. To the society we live in, women have a place in taking us to the future, let’s give them a chance and the future will be here with us faster than we can imagine.

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