The entry of the immediate former Managing Director of the Kenya Literature Bureau Eve Obara into the Kabondo Kasipul parliamentary race has sent political shockwaves in Homa Bay County.
Eve who headed the giant State-owned KLB for ten years is seeking to unseat the incumbent legislator Silvance Osele, considered a failure by locals.
She is a career civil servant, philanthropist and girl child champion and has worked closely with top Kenyan leaders, including Raila Odinga’s spouse Ida Odinga in women empowerment.
Eve has turned the fortunes of KLB into a muti-billion book publisher and printer, making the institution among the top profit making Kenyan parastals.
When she took over as KLB MD, the institution had a turn over of only Sh500 million. However, today, KLB has a turn over of more than Sh2 billion and is the largest publisher in East Africa with a strong presence in Uganda, Malawi and South Sudan.
Eve, wife to the late former powerful Trans-National Bank Managing Director Dannish Obara now joins the league of few women leaders from Nyanza who have plunged into elective politics.
Apart from Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo, there is no elected female MP from the larger Nyanza region in the current bicameral Parliament.
In Homa Bay, the more prominent women leader is the county Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, who sit in the Parliamentary Service Commission.
In fact, besides ex-Karachuonyo MP Phoebe Asiyo who served until 1997, no other woman from Luo Nyanza has seen inside parliament as an elected representative of a constituency.
“Having been involved in grassroots development activities and projects in my community for more than 20 years now, I have become a dependable champion for change and a trusted development partner,”Eve said in her manifesto.
According to the former Maendeleo ya Wanawake Chair, Nyanza Chapter, education will be her key priority.
“My entry point is education…My primary projects have been in the areas of education, girl child schooling, health and empowerment; infrastructure, water and agriculture,”she said.
In her ten years at the helm of KLB, Eve says she brought thousands of books to Nyanza schools, a legacy that is unmatched in the history of the publisher.
She will be facing stiff competition from a host of male aspirants among them ex-Raila aide Hebert Ojwang, former Director of Medical Services Richard Muga and former MP Paddy Ahenda. Others are Obonyo Mireri, David Onunda and incumbent MP, Silvance Osele.
“I have, at the same time, identified needy children in different parts of my community for whom I have paid school fees and helped to complete their education. This has gone hand-in-hand with my passion and commitment to promote education for girls through the Women’s Initiative in Education, which I co-founded on April 17, 2010,”she said