You know the kind of excitement that rushes through your body and leaves you reeling?
That Kind of excited.
As the Livestreaming Team from Canakenya Studios were setting up the visual and audio, I had an opportunity to ask her some personal questions.
My first was how was her night?
“Soothing from the rain.” she said.
She looked so young for a leader in Senate.
(I had always had this notion that Politicians all had to be over 55 in my head)
I know you know what I mean.
So we began the live interview.
Senator Kasanga shared her full names…
Sylvia Mueni Kasanga
She is a religious Catholic from Makueni, an Architect (would you believe it), an Arbitrator with the Kenyan Court system on Construction cases, a Mother of two and Nominated Senator.
I was amazed..
Of course I had done some bit of background but can you imagine what it takes to juggle all these roles and do a good job at each of them?
Now……………Lets go back a few years so you can get the context of how she got here.
The Senator’s political career (as a senator) began shortly after her Party and Party Leader, Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper Democratic Movement Kenya) nominated her.
When Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka was giving her the ‘go and make us proud‘ speech, she felt the weight of the responsibility.
Now, since she is a Nominated Senator, she does not have constituents.
So she called the young people from her home constituency (Makueni) to hear what their pressing needs were and sure enough drug use and abuse were rampant especially among the young moms that lived in the towns along the Mombasa Highway.
She talked to many people…consulted stakeholders and from a focus on child and maternal health she found the link to mental health.
You know when you are a nominated leader, and thinking about posterity, you have to look at where you can have the maximum impact over the duration of your nomination.
IT HAS TO BE BIIIIIIGGG!!
AND IT HAS TO BE RELEVANT….
SO, SHE CHOOSE MENTAL HEALTH!!
SENATOR KASANGA WENT THROUGH SO MUCH BETWEEN 2017 AND 2019 TO PUSH FOR THE MENTAL HEALTH BILL.
It was the real definition of an uphill battle, a lot of hurdles, listening, asking questions, collaboration.
BACKED BY OVEWHELMING SUPPORT FROM STAKEHOLDERS.
She pushed through.
When the Bill was declared a money bill she almost gave up because it would have meant beggining the process all over again.
With an even bigger line up of people saying NO! No!!
‘We don’t have the resources.‘
But the Kenyan court ruled differently and so she gets the opportunity to table the bill in Senate for the second hearing a few weeks from now.
She says that in every adversity lies a window of opportunity.
And that quote stuck with me.
28 years later, she comes to make such a significant difference in the mental health space and Her name will be sang in the hallways of fame.
When you will receive mental health support at a public dispensary in the village, that will be the work of SENATOR KASANGA!!!!!!!!