Taita Taveta County assembly has lost its third female MCA in a span of two years after Ms Joyce Mwangoji died on Sunday morning.
According to the assembly’s leadership, Mwangoji died while being rushed to St Joseph Shelter of Hope hospital in Voi for treatment after a short illness.
Deputy Speaker Chrispus Tondoo said the death of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) nominated MCA who was also the assembly’s deputy majority chief whip is a big blow to the assembly.
He said tests are being done to know the cause of her death.
“For now we cannot comment on that because the tests are not yet out. We were with her last Friday and she was of good health,” he said.
He mourned Ms Mwangoji, 73, as a great servant who was always full of wise advice and humour.
“She nurtured the upcoming politicians and she was very passionate on women issues,” he said.
In a statement signed by county government’s spokesman Dennis Onsarigo, Governor Granton Samboja eulogised Ms Mwangoji as a dedicated public servant and a human rights defender whose service spanned beyond the county.
“The governor takes this opportunity to send his heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and relatives of the late legislator,” he said.
Until her death, she was the chairperson of Maendeleo ya Wanawake in Taita Taveta county. She campaigned on human rights especially women’s rights and served as board member of the Coalition on Violence Against Women (COVAW). In 2003, she was appointed by the then Vice President Kijana Wamalwa to serve at the Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority as a member of the board.
Ms Mwangoji vied for Mwatate parliamentary seat in 2002 and 2007 General Elections.
Her death comes after two MCAs succumbed to cancer in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Ms Anastacia Wakesho died in December 2019, after battling breast cancer. In March last year, Ms Beatrice Mwabili also succumbed to gallbladder cancer after a long illness. Ms Mwabili who represented the Wundanyi/Mbale ward was the only female elected MCA while Ms Wakesho was nominated by ODM party.
The death of the three leaders is a blow to women leadership in the county. After the death of Ms Mwabili, a male representative, Steven Mcharo was elected to replace her.
On the other hand, Beatrice Manga was nominated by ODM to replace Ms Wakesho. The county remains with nine female MCAs out of 32 members.
Mr Tondoo said the body of the late MCA has been moved to St Joseph’s funeral home as arrangements towards her burial begin.
“We will work with the family to ensure that we give her a decent burial,” he said.