Passaris: From adopting lights to City National Assembly seat

Posted on :Tuesday , 12th September 2017

 Finally, Esther Passaris, better known as Mama Taa, made it to political office after three failed attempts.

She won in the Nairobi woman representative race in the just-concluded election.
Passaris won with 828,848 votes, flooring incumbent Rachel Shebesh of Jubilee, who garnered 671,898 votes.
Passaris, 52, made her first stab at political office in 2007, when she ran for city mayor. She lost to Baba Dogo councillor Godfrey Majiwa.
The following year, she ran for Embakasi MP in a by-election, following the death of Mugabe Were.
She lost to Ferdinand Waititu, now the Kiambu governor-elect.
In 2013, Passaris lost to Rachel Shebesh in the race for Nairobi woman representative. She ran on Kenya National Congress ticket.
Early this year, she decamped from KNC to ODM and dropped her earlier plan to run for governor.
This was after she unsuccessfully attempted to form her own political party.
In her campaigns, Passaris pledged to empower women and improve the lives of youth.
“I will form youth and women’s clubs, where each member will contribute Sh1,000 and give each camp Sh1 million from the affirmative action fund. That is money that our people can borrow to start businesses,” she said in July.
Passaris said she will engage international partners to get funds to improve living standards.
She said the Sh7 million per constituency allocated to every woman representative is insignificant compared to the number of needy residents.
“I will advocate for more funds, because we cannot achieve something substantial in the constituency with the Sh7 million,” she said.
Passaris is a social entrepreneur who is known for lighting up the city, especially the slums.
In 2002, she formed Adopt A Light Limited Company. The vision was “to light up East Africa when the sun sets”.
She signed a deal with Nairobi authorities to restore decrepit street lighting in exchange for advertising rights on the lampposts.
“I’m a good mobiliser. I got about Sh500 million from international partners to light up the city and I was not an elected leader then. If elected, I will partner with more to bring resources to our people,” Passaris said.


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