Lofty expectations ahead for Nagaland's first women MLAs

Salhoutuonuo Kruse and Hekani Jakhalu Kense, the first two-women to be elected to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. (File Photo)

Salhoutuonuo Kruse and Hekani Jakhalu Kense, the first two-women to be elected to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. (File Photo)

Atono Tsükrü Kense
Kohima | March 5

After March 2, they have become the focus of attention consequent upon their elections as the first two women representatives to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) after a long wait of six decades. 

Scripting history, Hekani Jakhalu Kense and Salhoutuonuo Kruse have also become a beacon of hope for many as they have triumphed over a long-standing barrier, which only a few women dared to dream of and most feared to tread.

Being elected is just the beginning of an arduous journey. With elevated expectations, the phrase 'with great power comes great responsibility' aptly defines their maiden voyage as MLAs in the highest decision-making body of the state. 
Will they be able to make a mark and bring some semblance of good governance, or will they be dragged along into the spirals of corruption? These, among others, are many speculations doing rounds as the two women legislators embark on their journey.

With this  The Morung Express spoke to a few individuals to gauge their views on the historic development and future expectations.

Expect best from all legislators
 "Men or women, quality, and their depth of sincerity are what matters. We expect the best from all elected legislators irrespective of gender," underscored the Nagaland Women Commission Chairperson, Khrienuo Tachü. 

Congratulating them, she said breaking the glass ceiling after six decades is indeed a defining moment for Naga women. She described Jakhalu and Kruse as "two very capable lady MLAs and are now part of the highest decision-making body of our state."

Tachü further noted that her expectations of them are "essentially very high" and expressed hope that with their "ascension" to power, the socio-economic status and empowerment factors of Naga women would be “necessarily raised."

 To this end, Tachü expressed confidence that both of them will perform way above average in their assigned tasks and will proudly be the face and voice of Naga women.

 ‘Only time will tell’
A social worker who wished to remain anonymous viewed that "only time will tell" of their impact as politicians in the high decision-making body of the State. However, he maintained that "as far as their respective constituencies are concerned, I am very confident they will make a positive impact and changes, because normally, I see women are more sincere and dedicated to their tasks and responsibilities."

More so, he added that both of them are time-tested social workers who have proven their mettle in the society. At the same time, he pinned his hope that "they will be able to overcome the lure of being dragged along into the present system of corruption in the government" and bring some semblance of good governance in the state.

Lead by examples
 For Lichan Humstoe, an entrepreneur who believes in shared perspectives in decision making, 'their participation in policy making should ensure extra portion of gained perspective for effective governance in the state.'

'The fact that people chose two women leaders shows how there is already change in the mindset of the people,' she pointed out. 

He also believed that people have elected them to power not out of gender sympathy but because of their leadership and calibre.

“For the same reason I do not want to demand for any extra special change out of them but lead by example. Exemplify the fact that whether you are a woman or man, we all share equal responsibility in our own capacity to bring about change,” he stated.

Collective journey 
"With 3% women representation, I am confident in their leadership that they will make an incredible mark, inspire, and pave the way for many women and future generations," said Khrolhiweu Tsühah, the first women president of Chizami Students’ Union. 

She termed the victory as "a historic and powerful moment for our generation to finally have two exceptional and competent women breaking the glass ceiling in 60 years by winning the assembly elections 2023."

Nonetheless, Tsühah maintained that with some newly elected leaders occupying the office for the first time, the people of the state truly look forward to positive changes, good governance, sustainable development, and inclusive leadership towards a state of excellence. 

"However, they cannot do it alone," she also reminded, adding "we have elected them, and we must be part of the journey and take collective responsibility and leadership in addressing issues affecting us, our communities, and environment."

 ‘Every small action matters and our participation count because it is for our collective future’ she added.