Elizabeth Ongoro yesterday made history after she became the first minister to give birth while in office. The beaming assistant for Nairobi Metropolitan Development lovingly cuddled Joshua Benjamin Masha Amollo, her fourth child, at the Nairobi Hospital.
She spoke of her tribulations and challenges, during the nine-month wait, that nearly caused a miscarriage. She did not take maternity leave as required, but instead continued carrying out her parliamentary and ministerial duties until Tuesday last week. She checked into the Nairobi Hospital on Thursday night and delivered her bouncing baby boy on Friday at about 5pm.
The Kasarani MP said she only needs a week to rest and she will be back at work to serve her constituents and Kenyans at large. “It has been a cool year for me and the family with the birth of the baby. As you know I did not have time to clarify so many things that happened during my pregnancy,” she said. The assistant minister was with her husband Ferdinand Masha Kenga, her third-born daughter Rehema and a host of family and friends.
As a leader, Ongoro said stress, fatique and shock associated with pregnancy nearly cost her the child and said many people could not understand those challenges. During her pregnancy, the Kasarani MP had to content with negative publicity that included allegations that she had battered her husband in mid September and that she had mismanaged the constituency development fund.
Ongoro said he was affected with the negative claims about her family and thanked her constituents for standing with her as she continued to serve as a legislator, an assistant minister and a mother to her family. “My husband was admitted here and you all know I was with him without even having to sleep. I nearly miscarried after I read the stories in newspapers, but now I can talk about it,” added Ongoro.
On the ongoing case where her husband is charged with stealing Sh1.9 million from the Kasarani CDF,Ongoro said she will allow the rule of law to take its course even though she suspects a political witch-hunt in the matter.
Two weeks ago, Masha was arraigned before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei where he denied stealing the money in February. Ongoro is expected to be the first witness to testify against him on December 13. Ongoro said she had decided to respect the constitution by allowing investigators to carry on with their work and expressed hope that herself and any family member accused of any wrong-doing will find justice in the courts.
Ongoro announced that she will run for a senator seat in Nairobi. And now with her fourth and last born Joshua, she said it will not be business as usual as she will dedicate more of her energy in development politics and confront her enemies head on. “I am prepared to fight the negative propaganda. It will not be business as usual,” she said of her plan to vie for the senate seat.
The husband who was present at the hospital said the family has endured a lot in the past few months, but thanked God for the birth of their baby boy. “I cannot say much since there could have been no better gift at this time than the birth of my baby boy,” Masha said.
Coincidentally, the child was delivered on a day bearing similar numbers in terms of time, date, month and year. But Ongoro refused to draw any excitement from the birth which occurred on 11/11/2011 at 5pm. Nurses at the hospital said the minister and the child were in good health and were due to be discharged any time from yesterday.