Top 100 Kenyans 2019

  • The year 2019 has indeed been an eventful one for Kenya. Change has been rippling through the political, business, arts and technological spheres. 

    Unprecedented developments in governance and in the corporate world, had both intended and unintended consequences for the economy, most notably, a series of mass layoffs across industries

    Nevertheless, Kenyans have been as resilient as ever, in part, due to the inspiration drawn from individuals who possess true influence across the various spheres of our lives. 

    Our inaugural Top 100 Kenyans issue tells a hundred stories of individual influence that when taken together sing an anthem of interaction, the convergence that occurs when you harmonise a good idea and galvanise people towards it. 

    This list of Kenya’s 2019 crème de la crème isn’t a measure of power, though many on the list wield it. It is not a collection of milestones accumulated, as the names on the list may suggest. 

    At we know that great minds don’t think alike: and that is why this list is not a ranking, but rather an acknowledgment of different ideological compass points that collectively have steered the country to newer heights through unique insights and thought leadership.

    We began the process of compiling the list with an early-September staff meeting which kickstarted the nomination process that produced an extensive longlist of 300 iconic Kenyans amidst vigorous debate.

    They all were graded on the impact they have had on Kenyans beyond barely fulfilling their job descriptions, how much influence they have both online and offline, demonstrated agenda-setting in their industry, innovative ways they have used to inspire progress and any recognition they have been accorded both locally and internationally for their outstanding achievements. 

    We grouped the nominees in the following categories: Politics, Governance & Civil Society; Media, Arts Sports & Entertainment; Business, Commerce & Entrepreneurship; Education, Family, Religion & Lifestyle and Science, Medicine & Technology each with a bespoke criterion to filter out the Kenyans who have truly made a mark in the pursuit of our national aspirations.  

    The list would not have been complete without including iconic Kenyans whose untimely deaths this year shook the country. The invaluable contributions of; Bob Collymore, Joe Kadenge, John De'Mathew, Joyce Laboso, and Ken Okoth, to our national consciousness over the years, and the necessary reflections their deaths shocked us into, will forever be etched in our collective memory. 

    Video interviews of select individuals from the list were expertly overseen by our video department who hunted them down to lift the veil on their public personas and provide Kenyans a much-needed boost of inspiration ahead of 2020.

    Here are 100 Kenyans 2019 in alphabetical order:

Top 100 Kenyans 2019

  • 1
    Esther Akoth is a celebrated musician who has consistently sold out shows and is known for her electric performances and kind… Read More
  • 2
    Ambassador Amina Mohamed is a Kenyan lawyer, diplomat and politician. She is presently serving as the Cabinet Secretary for… Read More
  • 3
    Andy Munyiri emerged the top candidate in the 2019 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams. He was a student at… Read More
  • 4
    Anthony is the Chief Executive Officer at TotoSci Ltd. He is also the Group CEO at TotoSci Academy aiming to create interest for… Read More
  • 5
    Bharat is the founding shareholder of the WPP-Scangroup and current CEO of the WPP-Scangroup PLC. He has working experience in… Read More
  • 6
    Jackson Biko is a Kenyan writer who used to write for the Business Daily, True Love magazine and The Saturday Nation. He also… Read More
  • 7
    Boniface Mwangi is a Kenyan photojournalist, politician and activist involved in social-political activism. He is known for his… Read More
  • 8
    Brenda Wairimu is a seasoned actress and TV host, making appearances in several television series. The Mombasa-born superstar … Read More
  • 9
    Brigid Kosgei is the current marathon World Record holder for women running in a mixed-sex race, with a time of 2:14:04 achieved… Read More
  • 10
    She is one of the most revered radio personalities in Kenya. Radull is famous for 'The Jaza Stadi' slogan and initiative, which… Read More
  • 11
    Caroline Mutoko is the CMO of Radio Africa Group and a leading Kenyan media personality, with a radio career that spans more than… Read More
  • 12
    Dr Chao Mbogo is the Dean School of Science and Technology at the Kenya Methodist University (Kemu). She is also a computer… Read More
  • 13
    Dr. Chris Kirubi is a leading Kenyan entrepreneur with investments in the Media, Manufacturing, Property Management, Insurance… Read More
  • 14
    Cyrus Ombati is a veteran writer and Crimes Investigative reporter with the Standard Media Group.
  • 15
    Dr. Damaris Parsitau is a gender and social justice activist, Echidna Global Scholar at the Brookings Institution, Research… Read More
  • 16
    He is arguably the Kenya's most successful comedian. Churchill hosts the comedy television show Churchill Show on NTV and has… Read More
  • 17
    David Ndii is Managing Director of Africa Economics. He rose to the national limelight after he caused a stir by posting a… Read More
  • 18
    The Presiding Bishop of Christ Is The Answer Ministries (CITAM). David Oginde is instrumental in religious and family matters… Read More
  • 19
    Okari is a senior investigative and crime reporter at Nation Media Group. He is also a prime time news anchor at NTV. He is… Read More
  • 20
    Joseph Mwenda alias DJ Joe Mfalme is a veteran entertainer who broke into the limelight at the Pilsner Mfalme Media DJ … Read More
  • 21
    She is the captain of the Kenyan women's soccer team, Harambee Starlets. In November 2019, the defender led the national team as… Read More
  • 22
    Edward Ouko was the Auditor-General of the Republic of Kenya who was appointed on August 27, 2011. He was also an auditor-general… Read More
  • 23
    Ekuru is the urbane, articulate and firm lawyer catapulted to national fame through his work as the director of the defunct… Read More
  • 24
    Eliud Kipchoge is a veteran Kenyan long-distance runner. Born on November 5, 1984, the former 5000 meters runner is the world… Read More
  • 25
    Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti is a 23-year-old change-maker from Kenya who has her expertise and passion in sustainability,… Read More
  • 26
    Eric Omondi is a stand-up comedian and a brand ambassador and an event emcee. He broke into the limelight in 2008, when he made… Read More
  • 27
    Esther Muthoni Passaris is a skilled marketing and public relations professional with over 20 years’ experience. As an… Read More
  • 28
    Ezekiel Mutua Mutua has over 25 years’ experience in Media and Broadcast Sector, fifteen (15) of which have been at top… Read More
  • 29
    Fred Matiang'i is the CS in charge of the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government.  Going by the dockets and… Read More
  • 30
    Frida Njogu-Ndongwe is a medical doctor and public health specialist with experience in implementing HIV/TB and maternal, newborn… Read More
  • 31
    Geoffrey Omondi is the Head of Monitoring and evaluation at the Aga Khan Health Services He is also the Project Consultant for … Read More
  • 32
    The current Director of the DCI Kenya, George Maingi Kinoti, was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta on January 5, 2018, to… Read More
  • 33
    George Magoha was sworn in as Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, on March 26, 2019.  He is a Professor of Transplant… Read More
  • 34
    Hussein Mohamed is a renown media personality who was a news anchor at Citizen TV for 10 years, before leaving the Royal Media… Read More
  • 35
    Dr. James Njuguna Mwangi is a Kenyan accountant, career banker, businessman and entrepreneur. He is the current Group managing… Read More
  • 36
    James Mwirigi Mworia is a Kenyan lawyer, accountant, and business executive. He is the managing director and chief executive… Read More
  • 37
    Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) chairperson, Jane Kiringai, was elected chairperson of the forum of Chairpersons of… Read More
  • 38
    Hailing from the coastal side of Kenya, County 001, Janet Mbugua started off her career in media at the age of 19 at 98.4 Capital… Read More
  • 39
    Jeff Koinange is one of the most celebrated Kenyan journalists. The award-winning Citizen TV anchor is famous for his trademark… Read More
  • 40
    Lady Justice Jessie Wanjiku Lessit can be described as a no-nonsense judge who doesn't suffer fools. She has handled some of… Read More
  • 41
    John Allan Namu is the CEO/Editorial Director of Africa Uncensored. He is a former features editor, reporter and crime… Read More
  • 42
    John Gachora is the Managing Director of NIC bank. He holds a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from… Read More
  • 43
    John Kamau is a Kenyan Journalist, Historian and Biographer author currently with the Daily Nation. In 2019, Kamau was recognised… Read More
  • 44
    Johnson Sakaja is the current Senator of Nairobi County, following his election to the position on August 8, 2017, General… Read More
  • 45
    Mr. Kinyua's career began in 1978 as an assistant lecturer at the University of Nairobi. He joined the Central Bank of Kenya in… Read More
  • 46
    Joshua Nyamweya Oigara (born 1975, Kisii, Kenya) is the current Group Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Commercial Bank Group… Read More
  • 47
    Julianna is a Technologist, MIT Media Lab Director's Fellow. She is the Chair of World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on… Read More
  • 48
    Julie Gichuru is an entrepreneur and African media personality. Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Arimus Media Limited, a… Read More
  • 49
    Julius Yego is a Kenyan track and field athlete who competes in the javelin throw. In October 2019, he captained the Kenyan… Read More
  • 50
    Juma is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at RockHealth Integrated Care Organization(RICO) In 2018, His organisation model was… Read More
  • 51
    Ken is a co-founder and also serves as the group Co-CEO of Cellulant, a leading multinational one-stop digital payments company.… Read More
  • 52
    Khaligraph Jones who is also known as Papa Jones is an influential Kenyan rapper with a unique style and a flow which cuts across… Read More
  • 53
    Khelef Khalifa is a non-partisan and a bold defender of human rights and the marginalised. He is also a Director at Muslims for… Read More
  • 54
    In 2002, when the Kibaki administration came to power under National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), he became a Member of Parliament … Read More
  • 55
    Larry Madowo is a Kenyan journalist and a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia University in… Read More
  • 56
    Lulu Hassan is a celebrated Citizen TV Swahili news anchor. She co-hosts the Nipashe Wikendi bulletin with her husband Rashid… Read More
  • 57
    Lyn Mengich is the chairperson of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC). She is a leader and HR professional with over… Read More
  • 58
    Maina Kageni is a radio presenter at Radio Africa's Classic 105's popular morning show, Maina & King'ang'i alongside Daniel '… Read More
  • 59
    Mama Ida Odinga is a Kenyan businesswoman, activist and educator. She is the wife of Raila Odinga, the former Prime Minister of… Read More
  • 60
    Dr. Manu Chandaria, OBE, EBS, is founding chairman of the East African Business Council and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, an… Read More
  • 61
    Margaret Kenyatta is the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya. Her Excellency supports and is the patron of numerous social… Read More
  • 62
    Mercy Masika is a Kenya gospel artist, songwriter, and composer. In June 2019 Masika was appointed as UNHCR, the UN Refugee… Read More
  • 63
    Michael Olunga is a Kenyan professional footballer who plays for Japanese club Kashiwa Reysol and the Kenya national team as a… Read More
  • 64
    Mike Macharia is the CEO of SevenSeas Technology Group. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and entrepreneur, having founded… Read More
  • 65
    Michelle Ntalami is a budding entrepreneur who founded and serves as the CEO of Marini Naturals. Her journey into the world of… Read More
  • 66
    Mugo Kibati is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the country's third-largest telecommunication company. He is the Lake Turkana… Read More
  • 67
    Mukhisa Kitui, of Kenya, became UNCTAD's seventh Secretary-General on 1 September 2013. After serving an initial four-year term,… Read More
  • 68
    Born in Banana Hill, Kiambu, Justice Ngugi attended Thimbigua Primary School she passed well after gaining 35 out of 36 points … Read More
  • 69
    Born in 1975. He is a member and vice-chair of the Wiper Democratic Movement, Kenya and was elected as the second Senator of… Read More
  • 70
    He was considered for the 2019 Peace Prize for his literary works; "Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African… Read More
  • 71
    Njogu wa Njoroge is a vernacular presenter at Kameme TV. He has a huge following among the Gikuyu language speakers and started… Read More
  • 72
    Timothy Kimani is a comedian who has largely been the face of the video content creation that is both fun to watch and commercial… Read More
  • 73
    Noordin Haji is the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). He also worked as a Deputy Director of the National Intelligence… Read More
  • 74
    Chief of Staff and Head of the Presidential Delivery Unit , The Executive Office Of The Presidency Government Of Kenya. Nzioka is… Read More
  • 75
    Human Rights Activist, Okiya Omtatah Okoiti, is not a  lawyer by profession, but many see him as the country’s public defender… Read More
  • 76
    Born in 1961, Patrick Ngugi Njoroge is an economist, banker and the governor of the Central Bank of Kenya. He attended Mangu High… Read More
  • 77
    Paul is an infectious and tropical disease physician based in Eldoret, Kenya. He was awarded the 2019 IAMAT Violet Williams… Read More
  • 78
    Peter Ndegwa was October 24, 2019, announced as the new Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom and was expected to assume the… Read More
  • 79
    Prophet David Owuor is the founder of the Ministry of Holiness and Repentance. A widely acclaimed Prophet, Dr Owuor’s rise to the… Read More
  • 80
    Rachel Ruto is the Second Lady of Kenya. During her tenure, she has become an advocate for women's rights and women's empowerment… Read More
  • 81
    Roy Allela is the lead engineer and founder for Sign-IO, a glove that translates sign language to speech. The technology has… Read More
  • 82
    Samuel Muchoki known to many by his stage name, Samidoh, is a household name. The musician, who says that his fame did not come… Read More
  • 83
    Sam started his career in Medical research in 1994 at the Wellcome Trust Labs in Nairobi working on malaria pharmacology studies… Read More
  • 84
    Sarah Momanyi has won national chess championships for her age bracket two years running.  The slum where she lives, Mukuru kwa… Read More
  • 85
    Founder fashion and lifestyle blog called "This IS Ess". The blog is dedicated to sharing her unique fashion sense. Although she… Read More
  • 86
    Simon Gicharu is the founder of Mt Kenya University. At the age of 46 years, Gicharu became the youngest Kenyan to have… Read More
  • 87
    Simon Kabu is the founder and CEO of Bonfire Adventures, a Tour and Travel company he started in 2008 with just KSh 20,000. The… Read More
  • 88
    Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, November 21, recognised a Kenyan doctor by awarding her for exemplary work. Dr Stella Wairimu … Read More
  • 89
    Sylvia Mulinge is the Chief Customer Officer for Safaricom Plc During her tenure, the company has introduced numerous projects to… Read More
  • 90
    Tabitha Karanja is the CEO of Keroche Breweries the first large brewery in Kenya owned by a non-multinational company. She is… Read More
  • 91
    Peter Mokaya Tabichi is a Kenyan science teacher at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village situated in a remote,… Read More
  • 92
    Reverend Teresa Wairimu is the founder and director of Faith Evangelistic Ministry (FEM). She is an influential woman, who… Read More
  • 93
    Victor is the Co-founder and COO at HydroIQ He is also the co-founder and Operations Director at Electrosoft limited In 2018, … Read More
  • 94
    Vimal Shah is the founder and former CEO of Bidco that manufactures edible oils. He founded the company alongside his father and… Read More
  • 95
    Wachira Waruru is the Group Managing Director of Royal Media Services which owns Citizen TV, Inooro TV and 12 other radio… Read More
  • 96
    She is a renowned filmmaker who stood tall in the face of adversity with her controversial movie Rafiki (2018), which won her… Read More
  • 97
    Wawira Njiru is a Kenyan businesswoman, entrepreneur, human nutritionist, and philanthropist, who serves as the executive… Read More
  • 98
    Willy M Tuva is both a radio and TV presenter, who works for the Royal Media Services. The presenter, who hosts Mambo Mseto on… Read More
  • 99
    Born on December 23, 1940, in Garissa District in the North Eastern Province (Northern Frontier District). For his post-secondary… Read More
  • 100
    The Kwale Woman Representative studied at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Development… Read More