Tempus Fugit! The Latin exclamation for the speed at which time flies. Here in Kenya, we like to say - si ni juzi tu - in reference to the sands of time that is our lives.
It is particularly the case for those who follow Kenyan politics, hence the cliche phrase, a day in politics is a long time.
A year has passed since the Covid-19 pandemic arrived in Kenya - disrupting nearly every aspect of society.
Lives have been lost and livelihoods decimated over the past thirteen months. But even in those days, our team of reporters and editors have continued to adjust and deliver to our audience the most timely and accurate news stories of the day.
An important part of our work is to cover politicians who occupy positions of influence and report on their policies and even misdeeds as they seek to serve the public.
Our experience has taught us that politics do matter. One politician’s careless speech is enough to start a civil war. Another sloppy parliamentarian could be responsible for the high taxes that will see you pay more for your bread and fare to work.
In the same vein, having responsible leaders in positions of power has the potential to make sure your child gets free quality education and the next generation inherits good values.
Top 100 Kenyan Politicians is a project by Kenyans.co.ke to highlight and inform Kenyans of the most influential politicians in the country.
In ranking the top Kenyan politicians, we considered a number of factors such as popularity, experience, and the office or position of office that grants each politician political power.
More importantly, we endeavoured to have the ranking place significant weight on each individual’s contribution to society.
This may explain why Governors such as Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Kakamega’s Wycliffe Oparanya were ranked higher than some of their colleagues who get more national media coverage.
The two have shown that beyond the noise of partisanship and sycophancy, political power can positively transform society and even generations.
Under Kibwana’s leadership, Makueni has gotten an unqualified auditor general’s report in a country where misappropriation of funds is the order of the day. Multiple reports reviewed by our team of reporters found that Makueni, Kakamega, and Kisumu had been ranked as the best utilisers of public funds among the devolved units.
Kenyan politics can be an unfair playing field because it is expensive and balkanized and here we found some Kenyans who have had little success in their political career but in their own small ways, have helped protect the public interest.
We highlight them so that Kenyans can see their potential and compare their records with those who have dominated political power with less consideration for merit.
While recognising our role to inform and celebrate those political leaders who seek out to protect the public interest, we are alive to the realities we live in. As a media house, we not only show what Kenyan can be but also what it is and play the role of the society’s mirror in a fair and honest manner.
Thus, there are names that would be disagreeable to a section of Kenyans but we are confident our list is a balanced ranking of the Top 100 Kenyan politicians for the year 2021.
Our list also paid tribute to fallen politicians who left behind a legacy of service and contribution to our political development. The Memoriam section includes Senator Yusuf Haji - a prolific figure whose role in fostering peace in the North-Eastern Region and in Somalia will outlast him for years.
We remember Simeon Nyachae who served the country in different roles including as Provincial Commissioner (PC), Head of Public Service, MP, Parliamentarian, Presidential Candidate and Cabinet Minister in various dockets.
Salute to Boniface Kabaka whose promising political career was cut short when he died only three years into his first term as Machakos Senator. We honour Joe Nyaga for his many years in public service and contribution to our politics, as well as John Nyagarama who served as the first Governor of Nyamira until his death in December 2020.
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