Saturday, April 13, 2024

A GAL TOTO: Kisumu’s ‘David’ aiming at three ‘Goliaths’ with one stone

The biblical David faced one Goliath, and emerged the unlikely winner in the battle.

David had a sling, small pieces of rock, and claimed God on his side.

Goliath had the name, fame, might, regalia and history of triumph, but still lost.

Valentine Anyango Otieno, a 22-year-old Kisumu girl wants to replay the story in the book of First Samwel in real life.

Infact, we are at 70 per cent win, and we are spending the remaining time to consolidate it

Valentine Anyango

Anyango, commonly known as ‘A Gal Toto’ is seeking for Kisumu Woman Representative seat.

With no experience in politics, no job experience, no finances, and no name to hang on, she is in the race.

She is not using the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party which considers the area its bedroom.


Crazy confidence

And just like the biblical David, A Gal Toto is habouring this crazy confidence that leaves voters in awe.

“Infact, we are at 70 per cent win, and we are spending the remaining time to consolidate it,” she says.

A Gal Toto is pitted against Ruth Odinga, Dr Rose Kisia and Philgona Ayugi.

Ruth Odinga is sister to Azimio Presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

She is flying the Orange Democratic Movement Party ticket.

She has illustrious career in the business sector, having managed their family business for over a decade.

She was the pioneer Kisumu County Deputy Governor between 2013 and 2017.

She was the Director of Special Programs at Kisumu County Government between 2017 and 2022.

Great CV

With this CV, she has the capacity to finance her campaign, and has been in touch with the public long enough.

Dr Rose Kisia unsuccessfully ran for Kisumu Senatorial seat in 2013.

She was then appointed the County Executive Member for Trade and Tourism which she served till 2017.

It has been a long journey, but it is worth it

Valentine’s husband

The career teacher resigned as a lecturer at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology early this year to join the Woman Representative race.

She boasts of both local and international network, which she built during her study and work experience.

She is in the race as an independent candidate after failing to secure ODM ticket during the April primaries.

Ms Ayugi is a reknowned business woman, both in Nairobi and Kisumu.

She is flying Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket.

And for Toto?

The 22-year-old who last year graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Nairobi has never been employed.

The little experience she has is the mandatory three-month teaching practice (attachment) at Kisumu Boys High School where she taught English and Literature.

“I have faith, and I have the people on my side,” she says.


Exclusive interview

When Lake Region Bulletin caught up with her, A Gal Toto was reviewing her campaign schedule together with her husband Jasmey.

She is not able to afford a huge team of campaign secretariat, so the husband handles almost everything, from communication, security, personal assistant, and a husband, still.

“It has been a long journey, but it is worth it,” he says.

Valentine Anyango was born in Nyawita, Kanyakwar in the then Kisumu Town West on Valentine’s day of the year 2000.

Who is Valentine?

The first born in a family of three children lost her father in 2014 when she was just a Form Two student.

She attended Christine’s Academy in Migori for her primary education, sitting her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination in 2012.

She then joined Moi Suba Girls’ High School, sitting her KCSE in 2016.

She then joined University of Nairobi in 2017, to pursue a degree in Education Arts (English and Literature), graduating in 2021.


Slayqueen tag

A Gal Toto never focused on looking for a job, and went straight to politics, trying her hand in Kisumu County Woman Representative position.

“At first, in July last year, when I came out and declared that I would run, I got a backlash,” she said.

With more focused communication, and clarity of my agenda, I have since won back the hearts of youths

Valentine Anyango

Many of her enemies were the young people who claimed she was a ‘slayqueen seeking for attention’.

“With more focused communication, and clarity of my agenda, I have since won back the hearts of youths,” she says.

She could not raise nomination fees for the ODM party, and then got access to Ugenya Member of Parliament David Ochieng who gave her a free Movement for Growth and Democracy (MDG) party ticket.


She claims she discovered her leadership skills at tender age, serving as a class prefect in primary school, climbing to the position of school Head Girl.

In secondary school, she also served as a prefect.

And in the university, she served as the Secretary to the Women Students Welfare Association.

She served as Miss University between the year 2018 and 2019.

The last couple of months we have traversed all the seven sub counties in Kisumu, I meet the same issues I experienced, and I assure myself that I have to act now, and not wait for my old age

Valentine Anyango

“All these positions came with some form of responsibility, and great learning experiences,” she says.

She however says she was motivated to get into elective politics following her life experience.

“Growing up as an orphan, I had a lot of painful experiences. I saw my widowed mum struggle to raise us,” she said.

She adds: “I wanted to grow up and do something in the community to change what I experienced.”

“The last couple of months we have traversed all the seven sub counties in Kisumu, I meet the same issues I experienced, and I assure myself that I have to act now, and not wait for my old age,” she adds.

“The Woman Representative position is a position for the affirmative action, and that is why I chose to start here.”


Toto’s pledge

In her policy booklet, A Gal Toto promises to create a Mama Mboga Prosperity Fund, which she says, is a zero-interest revolving fund which will support the small business people.

She aims to create a program which would ensure vulnerable girls who drop out of school due to poverty and pregnancies get back to school to earn resonate skills.

“I have interacted with a number of talented youths, and my other agenda is to invest heavily on sports and talent exploitation,” she says.

And with the ODM six-piece wave in the area, A Gal Toto says it is time for people to elect leaders.

“As MDG, we are in Azimio and we support Raila presidency. For the other seats, the people will evaluate us independently, without pieces,” she says.

“I understand well the battle, and I know my competitors well. I have been on the ground, and I believe we are winning this, despite being new in the game,” said Toto.

Kevine Omollo
Lake Region Bulletin is your one stop multi-media platform for news from Lake Region Counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Kericho and Bomet. Email:

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