The Woman Who Becomes Kenya’s First President

The Woman Who Becomes Kenya’s First President

See the chaotic scenes as Kenya elects new president at the conclusion of the first round of voting in the country’s historic presidential election

KAMPALA, Uganda — As a tall group of people dressed in traditional robes and head wraps came into view, the sky above them appeared to darken with the sun. And then a woman who walked from the head of the line, carrying a wooden box, turned toward the crowd.

“I would like to introduce you to the new president of my country,” she said, lifting a handmade plaque to point.

In Uganda, the person who’s elected president usually takes the place of his predecessor and becomes the first of his lineage to hold the post.

If the woman had succeeded in her quest, she would have become the first elected president from the country’s Western region in over a century. And she would have received a hero’s welcome, like the first African president, the late Milton Obote, in 1965.

The new Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, had to walk past a dozen red flags and many more yellow ones before he was finally received. The crowds were so excited by his arrival that they let him go. And he was immediately recognized, much to the delight of his supporters.

The woman was Masaba, who came from the town of Kasese in western Kenya. The day was November 8, and she was running for the country’s position in the presidential elections. It was her first time running for office, and she did it despite having no experience.

“All I knew, I had to learn how to run a country,” she said. “I was ready to run for office and I decided that it was my time to take on this challenge.”

As a young girl, Masaba had been bullied and teased because of her small frame. The bullying turned into physical violence when her family tried to send her to a convent school, Masaba said. She was beaten with broomsticks.

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