• Ruto eulogized Mama Onyango as a trailblazer who played a critical role to shape the development of the country.
• Mama Grace, 98, died while receiving treatment at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) in Kisumu on Wednesday.
On Thursday, President William Ruto led Kenyans in mourning Mama Grace Onyango, the first female mayor of Kisumu and the first woman member of Parliament in Kenya.
Ruto eulogized Mama Onyango as a trailblazer who played a critical role to shape the development of the country.
“My condolences to the family, friends and people of Kisumu following the passing of Grace Onyango, the first female mayor of Kisumu and the first woman member of Parliament in Kenya.
“Mama Grace was a trailblazer who opened the door for the participation of women in political leadership. She was a woman of great courage, deep patriotism and unflinching courage. Her legacy will endure through every elected female leader for generations to come,” read a message from President Ruto.
Mama Grace, 98, died while receiving treatment at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) in Kisumu on Wednesday.
Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o, Senator Tom Ojienda and Kisumu Central MP Joshua Oron have also mourned Mama Onyango.
In his condolence message, Nyong’o said Kenya has lost the greatest icon and pillar of women's leadership.
“Mama Grace, famously known as Nyarbungu, was selfless, focused and visionary. A mother and grandmother to many.
“A mother and grandmother to many, she will be remembered for mentoring girls and young women leaders,” he said.
Last week, the governor visited her at her home in Kisumu.
“We joked and discussed many issues affecting our country today,” Nyong’o said.
Her death, he said, on International Women’s Day is as remarkable as it is confounding.
“I want to send heartfelt condolences to Mama's family, friends, relatives and the womenfolk across Kenya for losing a leading light,” Nyong’o said.
The celebrated icon was a woman of many fists who started out as a teacher. She later served as the first female mayor of Kisumu Town from 1965-69.
In 1969 she was elected as the first female MP in post-independence Kenya, representing Kisumu Town constituency.
In parliament, she is remembered for her no-nonsense demeanor, as she stood firm and championed the rights of women.
In a male-dominated House, Mama Grace went ahead and became the first woman to act as deputy speaker, a position she held from 1979-1984.
She took a break from politics after losing the seat to Wilson Ndolo Ayah in 1984.