Meet nominated MCA Grace Parantai (Pictured below), a former teacher and now a serving counseling psychologist from Kajiado’s Keek-Onyokie ward.
Parantai, who is commonly referred to as Mwalimu by those who passed through her hands while she was an approved teacher, is woman of few words full of wisdom.
She says she grew up from humble beginnings in the local village setting to later make a mark in local leadership.
The Wiper nominated MCA commands respect not only from her community but also from her husband, Jason Parantai, who says he ‘grew’ up with her.
Under old Maasai traditions and beliefs women are normally graded among children in the family but in their case, Grace and Jason have worked hard to support each other in life.
The two are more than husband and wife in the family. One cannot eat without the other or make visits around the county without each other’s company. They are both university graduates, the levels they attained in middle ages.
Grace and Jason attribute their success in their education and those of their children to a united family and their strong standing in the Church.
After having taught in several primary schools in the county for about 20 years, Grace resigned as an approved teacher to pursue her dream course in Counseling Psychology at Daystar University where she graduated with a degree, one year ago.
“I cannot say I am a modern Maasai woman, but just a common local person. I grew up with my husband like two good friends with a common cause in life. We have supported one another in our lives,” said Grace when we asked her what she feels about herself as a politician.
After graduating as a primary school teacher from Egoji Teachers’ Training College some 23 years ago, Grace led a humble life with her husband, who was already serving in the NGO world.
She taught in several schools as her husband run an NGO that pays school fees to orphaned children in schools in Kajiado region.
While she could be busy teaching in school during the day, she would also take time to map out issues her husband got involved in during the evening.
An astute member of the Anglican Church of Kenya, where she serves as a lay reader, Grace commands a lot respect from the Church followers, who she counsels as well.
Her status, as a housewife and a farmer, changed partially after she was nominated after last year’s general election when the Wiper Party nominated to the second assembly of Kajiado.
But to Grace, her nomination has not changed her feelings and the love for the less fortunate children in the society.
Her story came out clear during her homecoming party in Keek-Onyokie Ward recently attended by guests led by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka when she lined up several children she claimed were her.
About six children were lined up before the guests, and she introduced them as hers. They were all in same outfit with matching colours.
Grace later explained that, actually some of them in high school and universities were her family’s adopted children.
“These are children of God, and they are mine too. We, my husband and me, decided that even if we are not rich, no child out there without parents will suffer when we are alive,” Grace said in a statement that moved even the hardest of hearts to tears.
Kalonzo said of her; “This is a unique family indeed. This is a perfect example of a humble family leadership that can bring real positive change in the society.”
The opposition leader said that if there were many people like Grace and her husband in this world, no child will ever go to the streets because of being orphaned.
The nominated MCA is one of the ‘coolest’ leaders in the current assembly and has not so far been drawn into crooked leadership issues.
Some of her close colleagues, who spoke during her homecoming ceremony, said Grace is focused woman who consults widely before making House decisions in committees she sits in.
While they talked volumes of her character in the assembly, some saw Grace as a promising leader.
When we asked her if she is ready for an elective position in 2022, Grace said; “That election year is far away. Let us first serve our people now. Our people need school, water and roads. You cannot talk of an election before you have delivered now.”
She went on; “We all shall cross that bridge when we reach there. It is my people who will guide me on what seat they want me to seek their representation. I am ready to serve them in any capacity.”
Grace, who normally selective in her words she uses, was quick to point out that leadership is God-given.
“I want my people to positively feel my leadership now as I strife with the current MCA, Moses Saoyo, to serve them. Saoyo was elected by Keek-Onyokie people, and I was nominated by my party to work with other leaders,” she finally said.
How Parantai, Lalaito United Forces In Assembly To Dash Dreams From the North
It was a journey that started in Mombasa when the MCAs from across the country came up with the idea of forming county caucuses in all the 47 counties. The County Assemblies’ Forum was formed soon after the last general election.
The idea of such formation was peddled in the forum by MCAs and it was agreed it would form one of the many standing committees in assemblies with a full budget to enable it to operate.
That whole idea was debated, and eventually sealed in Mombasa and the MCAs dispatched off from Coast to go back to their counties and establish their regional caucuses.
After the idea of forming the women leadership caucus became imminent that it would be a reality, some of the political bigwigs in the county including the speaker of the assembly, Johnson Osoi, and governor Joseph Lenku developed some vested interest.
Insiders, within the assembly, talks of memories when the governor started making ‘so many calls’ directed to certain MCAs regarding how the picking of the chair of the caucus would be done.
An insider, in the women caucus, even claims she was called by Lenku while she was in Mombasa and told to ‘follow’ instructions given by Jubilee bigwigs in the county.
On the other hand, Osoi is said to have settled on nominated MCA from North, Lucy Wachuka, for the seat of the chairperson “because of her seniority” in politics.
Osoi’s remarks appeared to have irked some of the souls of young MCAs to the effect that they openly rejected their speaker’s proposal and demanded an election.
Remained with no other option but to back down, Osoi gave in and the assembly picked Rombo MCA, Lengete Kamete, to work out on the modalities of the election and even move on to preside over the process.
In the assembly, already there was a huge division among the nominated MCAs – who are the actual stakeholders. The county was torn into two divisions; North and South.
Most of the young Turks had already settled on nominated MCA, Jacquelyn Nemaoi John from the southern end of the region in Kimana, while the others led by moderate MCA, Faith Sianka, supported Lucy Wachuka.
Wachuka and her team did not support the idea of the election because she believed all the positions of the House should be shared amicably as it was done for the speaker, leader of the majority and all others.
“The idea of election was mooted out so that I can be locked out of leadership position because I come from the wrong tribe. I was equally nominated to be a member of that House with full privileges of honourable MCAs, and it beats logic for a section of the House leaders to shortchange others,” said an irate Wachuka.
She gave another example of Ongata Rongai MCA, Mwathi Pere, who had been promised to take over the seat of the Majority Leader in the House, but was later, kicked out and the position handed over to Julius Moipaai (Imbirrikani).
“I am very bitter for what they did to me and I blame MCAs Yvonne Tonkei and Grace Koitumet for my woes. I brought up Koitumet politically, and here she was tormenting me,” said Wachuka.
In her defense, Tonkei said she has never attacked anyone, not even Wachuka, and all she did was to ensure the leader of the women caucus is elected by the majority and not being picked by certain people with vested interests.
She did not elaborate about ‘vested interests’ but went to say the election went on smoothly as planned.
The election was arranged by Kamete and set to be done at Weston Hotel in Nairobi, but in the last minute, the Rombo MCA’s wife fell sick in the night of that election eve.
It had been planned, and it had to be done. So Kamete picked an employee of the county assembly, Immaculate Parseina, to oversee on his behalf.
As the MCAs moved to the election hall, MCA Faith Sianka, called the members to order and announced that there will be no election without Kamete.
Effort made by other MCAs to explain to Sianka that Kamete had actually sent a representative him fell on deaf ears.
At some point in the ensuing drama, Tonkei grabbed Sianka and walked her out to explain to her the need of having that election.
After some time outside, Sianka appeared to have agreed with Tonkei, and the election started.
Tonkei and Koitunet appeared to have had an upper hand in organizing their campaign for when the bell rang; they managed 9 votes for Nemaoi Lalato (PNU nominee) from Kimana.
On the other hand Wachuka managed 4 votes in an election that was skipped by ODM nominee Sandra Mario, who is said to have locked her phone and went under.
After the election, Wachuka caused another drama in the counting hall in Nairobi when she refused to give a statement to concede defeat.
Enkini and Koitumet are said to have been irked by Wachuka to the extent of using all their energies in forcing her to sign the declaration form.
“Nobody is going to leave this hall until Wachuka signs this declaration form,” one member was heard and later the politician from the North was eventually pulled down to submission and she signed the form.
Sianka is an old friend of Enkini, but on the election campaign for that position she told her that she would rather part ways with her over her support for Wachuka.
“Let us agree on all other issues, but for this one, I am sorry, my sister,” Sianka told Enkini at Weston.
For those who do not know Sianka, she is a relative of Kajiado South MP, Katoo ole Metito. Jacquelyn Nemaoi John, who was supported by Enkini and Koitumet, is the wife of John Lalaito, the man who stood against Metito in last general election.
That is the mathematics in politics which you have to know.
Wachuka said she decided to fight on until her last breathe in that election even though she was not for it.
After the election of the chair, MCA Parantai was elected unopposed to take the position of vice chair.