Gladys Wanga Emerges as Kenyans' Champion in Parliament

  • Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga with ODM leader Raila Odinga on
    Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga with ODM leader Raila Odinga in April 2019.
  • Homabay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga has emerged as a clear champion for Kenyans as she has time and again been called to bat to oppose certain proposed legislation and amendments that would have hurt the common mwananchi.

    Her peers in parliament too, have recognized this as she recently received plaudits for amending the Finance Bill which had proposed a raft of new taxes. 

    Wanga, while speaking in Parliament, stood her ground and rejected the taxes fronted by Treasury CS Ukur Yatani.

    The Chairperson National Assembly Finance Committee lamented that citizens were grappling with the economy and it would be imprudent to inflict more burden on them. 

    "As much as we want to raise funds to finance our budget, we should be livid about the fact that Kenyans are already struggling,” Wanga argued. 

    Treasury CS Ukur Yatani addresses the media on November 25, 2020, in Nairobi
    Treasury CS Ukur Yatani addresses the media on November 25, 2020, in Nairobi

    Finance Bill 2021

    In the Finance Bill, she made seven key changes that rescued Kenyans from taxation and eased daily life. These include deleting the proposal to tax the purchase of motorcycles which have become the source of livelihood for millions of youth. 

    She also convinced MPs to remove proposals to impose taxation on both locally and imported manufactured sugar confectionery (sweets and chocolates) but rather tax imported ones only. This was in the view of easing the production of locally manufactured sugar thus reducing its cost in the market. 

    Other changes include zero-rating transportation of sugar from factories and exempting Kenyan goods from being taxed while being exported.

    She also proposed a 100 percent deduction for investments made outside cities Nairobi and Mombasa to create more job opportunities. Wanga also convinced lawmakers to exempt fish feeds and equipment from taxation. 

    Two of the notable amendments were exempting bread, flour (wheat and cassava) and cooking items, prefabricated biogas digesters, biogas, fuel briquettes from tax. 

    The National Referral Hospital Bill 

    In September 2020 she tabled the National Referral Hospitals Bill which proposed a Level 5 hospital to be constructed in each county. 

    "This will ensure every Kenyan the right to the highest attainable standards of healthcare is met. All Level 5 facilities will be upgraded to referral hospitals," Wanga stated, adding that they will be managed by both county and national governments. 

    Donor funds will also be channeled directly to the facilities without using proxies. 

    Cancer Prevention and Control (Amendment) Bill, 2019

    The bill seeks to amend Cancer Prevention and Control Act 2012 to include cancer treatment as part of the provision of primary health care.

    Wanga wants the National Cancer Institute allowed to train medical, pediatric and radiation, therapy oncologists. Further, she urged that the institute collaborates with the Health Ministry to train oncology nurses, physicists, and other healthcare providers.

    The ODM Woman Representative has also been a vocal defendant and loyalist of party leader Raila Odinga. 

    Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga shares cake with Ida Odinga at Ogande Girls High School in Homa Bay County in 2019

    In an interview with Citizen TV's Lilian Muli in September 2019, she stated that she stood and supported Raila even before she ventured into politics in 2013. 

    "But I must tell you that, before I joined politics in 2013 I was not known to Raila Odinga, actually it is Mama Ida Odinga (Raila's wife) who took interest and saw the potential in me," Wanga narrated.

    2022 Aspirations

    Gladys Wanga hopes to succeed incumbent Homabay Governor Cyprian Awiti when his second term ends in 2022. 

    "The people of Homabay have elected me to serve them in the capacity of Woman Rep and I am focused on that, though one has to aspire so when it comes a time and they say they want to move you to a different post they will evaluate and decide," she once stated. ranked Gladys Wanga 54 in its Top 100 Politicians 2021 survey.