Meet Soipan Tuya, the first woman to be nominated to Cabinet from Maasai community
The new Cabinet Secretary (CS) nominee for the Environment and Forestry, Roselinda Soipan Tuya, is an astute politician who has risen through the ranks in government and beat all odds to become the first Maasai woman to be nominated to the Cabinet in Kenya.
The former Woman Representative for Narok County and daughter of former Narok South Member of Parliament (MP), Samson Ole Tuya and referred to as Narok's 'Iron Lady' exited elective politics earlier this year but had been nominated to the Senate by President William Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.
Should Parliament approves her nomination, she will replace the outgoing Environment CS Keriako Tobiko, a fellow tribesman who hails from Kajiado County.
The Master's of Law (LL.M) graduate from the University of Washington, USA, and a Bachelor of Law holder from the University of Nairobi had served two terms as Narok Woman Representative before abandoning her quest to vie for the Narok gubernatorial seat.
In late February, after several months of push and pull between her, Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo, and former Labour CAS Patrick Ntutu, she dropped her ambition in a deal brokered by UDA party leader Ruto.
After abandoning her county seat ambitions, Tuya, 42, joined Ruto's campaign secretariat and was behind the development of the UDA Women Charter.
Soipan Tuya's work as Woman Rep
Tuya who thanked President Ruto for the nomination said she dropped her bid for governor with her head held high, having done her best with the limited resources she had as Woman Rep.
"When we were elected in 2013 as Woman Representatives, we had zero funds. We fought and we got Kshh40 million annually, which is very little, especially for a vast county like Narok, but still, we had to accept and utilise it to make an impact," said the mother of two.
She is married to former Narok County Assembly Majority leader Stephen ole Kudate.
Among the programs she ran in her docket were issuing water tanks, sanitary towels, and funds to empower vulnerable groups such as women, youth, and people with disabilities.
She said under the National Government Affirmative Action Fund, she supported 100 bright students from poor backgrounds who are now in secondary schools.
She describes herself as privileged having had opportunities that are not easily accessible to women in her Maasai community.
Before joining politics, she worked in different capacities for various government and civil society organisations, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Kituo cha Sheria and the former Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and as a United Nations Volunteer Specialist.