• Speaking in an interview, Serem who hails from Kapenguria Constituency in West Pokot said it took her a long time to convince the residents.
• She said they slowly embraced her and would sometimes call her to appreciate the courage she had.
In a community that doesn't embrace women in leadership, Esther Serem Chemtai beat the odds to become a Member of County Assembly in Siyoi Ward.
She made it upon herself to convince the people that women can also lead.
Speaking in an interview with Nation, Serem, who hails from Kapenguria Constituency in West Pokot, said it took her long to convince the people that she was a worthy leader.
This is not the first time she is in politics, she contested for the seat in 2017 but lost it at the nomination level.
"I decided to try again in 2022. This time around it was not as difficult as in 2017... I had a lot of support from the people of the ward and I had enough time to sell my manifesto," she said.
Serem said it was hard to convince the older women as some did not even want to listen to her.
She said the traditions of her people were that no woman can lead the community.
"The old women did not want to listen to me. When I went for a baraza, they would say, 'What is a woman coming to tell us'. I was discouraged at times but I decided to soldier on and convince them."
"I would ask them to sit down and listen to me even if they won't give me the votes and at the end of the meeting, you'd see them nodding and I realized my message was getting home," she said.
She said with time, the residents started embracing her. "We didn't know you had these ideas for our ward."
Serem was a teacher for 32 years but decided to retire when political ambitions became strong.
Serem contested on a UDA ticket and garnered 2,646 votes.