Kenyan Lady racing to the top in the UK Politics
Cllr Marianne Alapini is a familiar face to many Africans in the UK. She has attended and supported many community activities of Africans in the UK. She is also on the frontline of vital campaigns that make a positive difference in the lives of people from diverse cultural groups. She is not a stranger to challenges, she fought hard to win and represent the electorate in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea as their councilor.
But how important is the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea? It is the home to the world famous Kensington Palace recently the official residence of the late Princess Diana. It is also the home of Queen Ann and birth place of Queen Ann and Queen Victoria. The Borough of Royal Kensington and Chelsea is also the home to several world famous museums including; The Science Museum, Natural History museum, Victoria and Albert museums in London.
Marianne was born in Kenya in a family of four, grew up in Nairobi in 1980’s and was educated in Nairobi Primary School and Loreto Convent Secondary School in Lavington Green.
She holds a degree MBA degree in Inclusion & Diversity Studies. She is currently is undertaking a PhD on inclusion Strategy for the Disadvantaged & Marginalised within the NHS. She is a mother of a teenage daughter, named Athena.
Her political career commenced after she witnessed the unfair closure of her local community nursery school. The nursery provided affordable childcare but it was to be sold and privatized thereby, changing hands as well as costs.
Marianne says that after the privatization, the nursery was to charge three thousand pounds per term which was way beyond the reach of many parents. She campaigned vigorously to stop the closure but even after galvanizing the residents to support her campaign, she still lost. It was at that moment when she realized how hard it was to influence important decision when one was just a resident in the borough. She decided to contest in the local government election as a councilor and if she won, she would then be in a better place to positively influence crucial decisions that affect people’s lives.
After strong campaigning in 2002, she won and became the councilor for Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on Labour party ticket. Despite the war on Iraq that tainted the image of the party and made it less popular than it was before, she still got re-elected in 2006. Marianne attributes her victory to hard work. She claims that she was motivated to leadership by her mum who kept reminding her that she had live a ‘worthwhile life’.
Her sister Lillian Kitusa serves as priest in the UK and her brother Fredrick Kilonzo is a pastor in Nairobi. Her role models are Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and as for Baraka Obama, she says, ‘he has proved to many Africans that you can rise past the clouds and touch the stars’. Marianne hopes all Africans will vote for her and if she gets enough support, she will become the first African Black Lady in the UK Parliament. As for the issues that matter to Africans, they will get a voice in the big House.
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