Kenyan politics is undoubtedly a male-dominated field.
However, several women have risen to give hope to the future generation of women leaders aspiring to join the murky field of politics.
Today, it is impossible to speak about women in politics without mentioning Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.
Even though there have been numerous controversies that have threatened to bring her down, she has proven to be a strong-willed woman who refuses to lose her resolve.
From a civil servant working behind the boardroom to her current role as a governor; nothing seems too hard to handle for the former devolution cabinet secretary.
In January 2016, soon after she had resigned, Waiguru sat down with Citizen TV’s Hussein Mohammed in an exclusive interview held at her Kitusuru home.
For the first time, she moved to declare her wealth, after several months of accusations that she had benefited from fraudulent transactions at the National Youth Service (NYS), run under the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.
A massive Kshs791 million was reported to have been lost to the corrupt and unprocedural tendering process.
She denied all allegations linking her to the thieving at NYS, stating categorically that she was, in fact, the whistleblower.
Apart from presenting the governor's net worth, this article, we will dig deep into her family, career and other interesting facts about her.
Waiguru’s net worth
Speaking exclusively to Citizen TV’s Mohamed, Waiguru revealed that she was worth Ksh160 million with liabilities that total to Ksh80 million.
“In terms of assets, including this house which is on loan, I’m worth Ksh160 million and the liabilities total to Ksh80 million. The net value is, therefore, nothing to write home about,” she asserted.
Waiguru dispelled claims that she had enriched herself from proceeds of corruption at the NYS affirming that she owned most of the things she has way before joining the government.
“I lived in Runda before I joined the government and I own a house there. I also drove a Mercedes Benz before joining government so there is no way I could have benefited from fraudulent transactions at the NYS,” she stated.
“I worked at the World Bank and as the assistant vice president at Citi Group before joining government so the things I own were acquired legally,” she added.
The former CS noted that her house located in Kitusuru was bought under a mortgage plan for cabinet secretaries on a 3 per cent interest rate for 20 years.
She further refuted claims that she bought three houses and paid in cash. “My house is not paid for and it did not cost Ksh150 million, only the deposit has been paid,” she explained.
In another interview with Citizen TV’s Jeff Koinange, the former CS laughed off allegations that she owned buildings in the CBD.
“There have been lots of stories on social media about what I own. I don’t own anything on Luthuli Avenue,” Waiguru noted.
She denied owning several other properties among them a lakeside hotel in Taita, an estate in Karen, a building on Ngong Road, a mall, as well as matatus and buildings in Murang’ a County.
She also refuted claims that she owned 200 acres of land in Nanyuki while claiming “I don’t even own a quarter acre anywhere.”
The Kirinyaga governor, however, admitted that she owns property at Mlolongo along Mombasa Road which she developed using a bank loan.
“I took a loan of Ksh50 million in 2013,” she disclosed while revealing that she was paying the loan.
Anne Mumbi Waiguru was born in 1971 in Kirinyaga County.
The governor reportedly has three siblings; two sisters and a brother. It is reported that she, unfortunately, lost her dad at the age of 18.
Waiguru is a proud mother of three sons; Ian Waiguru, Don Waiguru and Wabu Waiguru.
Few, however, know that Waiguru is not her father’s name: reports claim that it is the name Anne Mumbi assumed when she wed the first love of her life: Tony.
The Kirinyaga governor is set to wed the new love of her life city lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo in a Kikuyu traditional wedding (ngurario).
The ceremony is set to take place on July 13, 2019, in Kirinyanga county at Kiamugumo primary school.
Ngurario is the final part of the Kikuyu wedding to formalize the marriage under the Gikuyu rites.
After the event, the woman is considered completely take and part of her husband’s family and cannot marry another man.
In the past, it was done before the girl went to the man’s home but today, it is sometimes done after even the couple has children.
There is usually no need for a church or civil wedding after that.
Waiguru began her career in the public service by providing Technical Assistance to the Public Service Reform Secretariat in what was then the Cabinet Office.
Since then she has variously served as the Head of Governance and the Economic Stimulus Programme at the National Treasury, Alternate to the Permanent Secretary/National Treasury in the Public Procurement Oversight Authority and Advisory Board and the Women Enterprise Fund Board.
Further, in view of her distinguished public career, she was successfully nominated in 2011 as one of the Top 40 under 40 women in the country, the only nominee at the time from the Public Service.
After graduating from the University of Nairobi in 1993, she began her career by working briefly with John Githongo and Mwalimu Mati as an intern at Transparency International.
Waiguru later moved to the Kenya Leadership Institute under economist David Ndii and worked on the Kenya Bribery Index as a program manager.
With a masters in economic policy, Waiguru also served at the World Bank as a regional representative for coordinating MPs who monitor the institution's projects in eight countries.
The bank then seconded her to Mwai Kibaki's cabinet as a technical advisor.
During President Uhuru Kenyatta's tenure as minister for finance, Waiguru served as head of governance and Economic Stimulus programme at Treasury and worked with Henry Rotich who was then deputy director at the time.
One of her assignments was to hire forensic auditors to look into the maize scandal that put William Ruto in the spotlight while at the agriculture ministry, the Daily Nation reports.
After completing her primary school education, she was called to Precious Blood Girls School, Riruta and later did her A-level examinations at Moi Forces Academy in 1989 where she took the Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry combination.
Origin of Waiguru’s minji minji nickname
According to the Urban Dictionary, Minji stands for “a very, very cool girl” while in Asia, the word means “a new breed of cute penguins.” However, Minji in Kikuyu means peas.
While she was campaigning for the Jubilee governorship candidate in Kirinyaga, Waiguru was given the monicker minji minji.
In a feature dubbed 'Kirinyaga Battle Royales', that aired on Citizen TV, one of the residents, Peter Wambugu, claimed that Waiguru perfectly fits the tag.
“Minji minji is something soft and sweet but ndengu ndengu- green grams (which was used to refer to Martha Karua, her rival for that position) is tough and does not cook well. That is why we refer to Waiguru as Minji,” he explained.
The appellation turned into a movement, especially among the youth in Mwea, Ndia, Kirinyaga Central, and Gichugu constituencies, with “Minji Minji” songs released by musicians in Kirinyaga magnifying the wave.
Waiguru apparently embraced the new nickname and used it as a campaign model, which embraced personal interaction with her supporters.
She was seen freely mingling with her supporters, purchasing goods in the markets, picking tea with farmers and even taking long walks to her rally venues in what has evidently endeared her more to the people.
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