KIAMBAA BY-ELECTION

I'm an academic and leader, not just MP's widow — June Koinange

Seeks to continue legacy of Paul Koinange in education and helping the vulnerable

In Summary

• June has declared her interest in the Kiambaa parliamentary seat and would be seeking to fly the Jubilee ticket in the upcoming by-elections.

• A burning desire to serve her people propelled her to contest, not a wish to inherit her husband's position. 

June Koingange, the widow of former Kiambaa MP Paul Koinange a burning desire to serve her people propelled her to contest, not a wish to inherit her husband's position. https://bit.ly/3uduEc1

June Koingange, the widow of former Kiambaa MP Paul Koinange, quotes her Bible with ease.

She is a devoted Anglican and in her free time plays the piano, humming praise hymns.

She loves dogs and has about 11 German Shepherds in her swanky Karen home.

But this is not all. June’s other love is books. She is a PhD candidate in clinical psychology at USIU. The scholarly work is for her intellectual fulfilment.

“I must say I am doing it for me. I enjoy my studies. I like to keep abreast with what’s happening in my profession. I enjoy reading to acquire knowledge,” she told the Star as we settled for this interview. 

June has declared her interest in the Kiambaa parliamentary seat and would be seeking to fly the Jubilee ticket in the upcoming by-elections.

How has it been for the family since Koinange died last month from Covid-19 complications?

“It’s been sad. We are moving on yes, but it’s not been easy. In fact, that is why I came out late to declare my candidature,” June says.

A burning desire to serve her people propelled her to contest, not a wish to inherit her husband's position. 

In the 2013 and 2017 polls, she sought the Kiambu Woman Representative position. She lost both times.

“I am a bouncer. If I fall, I quickly get up. That’s one of the strengths that I have,” she said, adding that she is passionate about serving and has a vision for the constituency.

June says she has been involved in the rehabilitation of youths lost to drug and alcohol abuse, a prevalent problem in Kiambu county.

“It’s like a miracle. In terms of human behaviour, because of my professional training, I know where to press to motivate so that somebody feels they are not worthless. That way they begin to do something. I have seen many young men who rose up and moved on.”

June Koinange plays her piano before an interview at her home in Karen on May 2
June Koinange plays her piano before an interview at her home in Karen on May 2
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

After rehabilitation, she funded some of the youths to help them start businesses.

June says she has what it takes to represent the interests of Kiambaa electorates in the National Assembly.

“I have been asked by my own family and the people of Kiambaa to go for the seat. In addition, I have harboured that ambition of being a blessing to my community,” June said. She is not going for the job to make money.

Among the legacy projects Koinange left are in education and support for the vulnerable. June wants to take those up in his honour.  

“He took the vulnerable groups to heart. From CDF he was able to educate so many children. This resonates well with so many families. I would want to ensure continuity,” she said.

Her daughter Muthoni Koinange says they have also secured funding for the construction of the Ruaka dam.

The by-election appears to have split the giant Koinange family, with several aspirants coming out to declare interest in the same seat.

Lenah Koinange, daughter of former Cabinet Minister Mbiyu Koinange is among those who have declared interest in the position.

June Koinange and to her firstborn daughter Muthoni Koinange before an interview at her home on Karen on May 2
June Koinange and to her firstborn daughter Muthoni Koinange before an interview at her home on Karen on May 2
Image: /EZEKIEL AMING'A

Ex-MP Koinange was the son of Charles Karuga Koinange, a former powerful provincial commissioner and scion of senior pre-Independence chief Koinange wa Mbiyu.

June downplayed the lineage and heritage, saying the polls would be free and fair and the “best man [or woman] would win”

“The Koinange family is such a large family. We are well over 5,000. Senior chief Koinange had six wives. Imagine those wives having children, then grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We are all in Kiambaa,” she said.

She welcomed her rivals to the contest, saying it is everyone's constitutional right. to run for the office.

“That constitutional right gives everybody a chance, people shouldn’t worry that we are running. This is a free and fair election. Let the best man [or woman] win whether it’s a Koinange or not.”

 

(edited by o. owino)