In Summary
  • The trained journalist was born in Kolwa, Kisumu County, and attended Ahero Primary School and Koru Girls' High School.
  • Her venture into politics was not as rosy as many may think as she faced the many challenges women encounter when seeking elective seats in Kenya.
  • On Friday, Ms Gwendo was jailed for two years by a Nairobi court for stealing Sh1.7 million from a cooperative society in Kisumu.

Former nominated Senator Joy Gwendo has waded through murky waters in her short stint in politics and partly while out of office.

From being a politician under the ruling Jubilee Party to arrests and scandals, Ms Gwendo has gone through it all.

SURPRISE ENTRY

Ms Gwendo shocked many when she was nominated by her party, The National Alliance (TNA), in 2013 having come from a region that was largely known for being a stronghold of the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord).

However, her venture into politics has not been as rosy as many may think as she faced the many challenges women encounter when seeking elective seats in Kenya. These include insults and violence.

Her interest in politics benefited from mentorship by TNA Secretary-General Onyango Oloo, who is currently the Kisumu assembly speaker.

Mr Oloo was among the few people who dared to go against the wave in the Orange Democratic Movement by speaking candidly against Luo Nyanza leadership.

Ms Gwendo was living in Nairobi's Kibera slums when she campaigned for TNA in the ODM zone.

She stood her ground and was awarded with a nomination into the Senate when President Uhuru Kenyatta started his first term in 2013.

In 2017, the politician contested for the Kisumu East parliamentary seat on a Jubilee Party ticket, and came a distant third, losing to incumbent Shakeel Shabbir, with ODM's Nicholas Oricho coming second.

EPISODES

The politician is a tough woman who has, on many occasions, confronted leaders head-on, on matters concerning the development of Kisumu County.

She once told off her elected counterparts, saying she would not seek their permission to initiate development projects in counties.

Ms Gwendo has, however, had her fare share of negative publicity.

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