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Kenya’s First Female MP Dies At 99 


Kenya’s first female MP Grace Onyango passed away on Wednesday March 8 at the age of 99 years.  

This was confirmed by her daughter Pauline Akwacha who revealed that her mother was undergoing treatment at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) in Kisumu. 

The former MP was under the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after a prolonged illness.

Born in the 1920s Grace was the second born of nine children to be born in Sakwa. She went to Ng’ iya Girls School before joining Vihiga Teachers Training College.

In 1965 she was elected as the mayor of Kisumu following the death of Mathias Ondieki.

During the campaigns, two women withdrew from the race citing abuse from their male competitors, but Nya’Bungu (Daughter of the Bush), as she was affectionately known, persisted and defeated all six of her male competitors.

When she entered politics as a Kisumu Central ward councillor, there were almost no women working as civil servants or in government offices, not even as sweepers.


She advocated for more opportunities for women, stating that a deceased male employee’s widow or daughter should be hired.

She went on to win the Kisumu Town parliamentary seat in 1969 after defeating a number of male opponents.

During her time as a member of Parliament, she was renowned for her bold statements and fearless confrontations with male colleagues.

The former Kisumu Town Member of Parliament is also credited with Africanizing Kisumu streets by naming them after prominent Africans such as Paul Mbuya, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and Milton Obote. 

Grace left politics in 1983 after Losing her seat to the late Dr. Robert Ouko.

After retiring from politics, Grace maintained a low profile but she was immortalized in 2022 when a social hall in Kisumu was named after her. 

Also Read: CS Ababu Namwamba’s Ex-Wife Found Dead In Nairobi 

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