Top 100 Kenyans 2021

  • Top 100 Kenyans 2021
    A collage of some of the finalists of the Top 100 Kenyans 2021.
    Kenyans.co.ke
  • Over the last one year, Kenya has experienced a paradigm shift in almost all sectors following the unexpected disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that swept across the world.

    Despite this disruption of the economy and normal way of life, the Kenyan spirit of resilience was visible by act and design through inventions, innovations, causes, leadership and research among others.

    Many Kenyans, in their different disciplines and career paths, directly or indirectly made impact through their acts of courage, thought process and leadership.

    Kenyans.co.ke, through its pool of experienced editors and journalists, combed through the performance, impact and influence of Kenyans from across all sectors to compile and consolidate this list of Top 100 Kenyans 2021.

    This is a collection of the most influential people across the country, and the names on the list include entertainers, political leaders, industrialists, investors, media personalities, entrepreneurs, sportspersons and community workers among others.

    So what makes people influential? What makes an individual worthy of a spot on the Kenyans.co.ke Top 100 Kenyans 2021?

    The people with the greatest impact in their careers and line of duty in the year under review deserve to be ranked highly. Each of these incredible and inspirational people used the power of their minds, innovations and position to make a change in the country.

    All entrants in the Top 100 Kenyans 2021 have challenged the status quo in one way or the other over the past 12 months.

    A diverse crew, to say the least, Top 100 Kenyans 2021 perfectly encapsulates the unique collection of thought-starters and industry leaders that invariably shape the country and the list itself.

    This list features extraordinary leaders in the country working to build a better future; from entertainers striving to make Kenyan content more inclusive to activists advocating for respect of human rights and upholding the rule of law. They are disruptors, iconoclasts, doers, problem-solvers, fixers—people who in a year of crisis have made a visible mark.

     43 of the entrants this year are female, with the youngest featured, Shanah Manjeru, just 13-years-old. Conversely, Manu Chandaria - a renowned industrialist and philanthropist, takes home the unenviable honour of being the oldest person in the list at 92 years of age.

    In the dispensation of their mandates on a daily basis, the listed Top 100 Kenyans 2021 went over and above board to easily navigate ethical challenges such as conflicts of interest, junkets, intellectual theft, kowtowing to parties of interest, freebies, use of dubious ways and means to get things done, and outright bending of the law.

    While compiling this list, Kenyans.co.ke ensured that the persons nominated and eventually voted in, were free from governmental, commercial and proprietorial interference in their respective disciplines.

    From their relationships with people in related field to those outside their careers, all the entrants of the Top 100 Kenyans 2021 have succeeded in commanding total control of their work. Invariably, these individuals have been men and women of great wealth and talent.

    During the entire nomination process, several questions were answered. These included; How do these nominees ensure that they make decisions that positively impact on the citizens? How do they go about making sure what they do is within the precinct of the law? What is it that they have done that stands out compared to their peers in the same discipline? How do we, as Kenyans.co.ke, measure the success rate of these individuals to warrant their nomination? We chose to answer as many questions as possible by examining specific industries.

    In the case of Health Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe, Kenyans.co.ke dialled the controversy owing to his perceived nature of blowing hot and cold in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. Irrespective of any opinion, he made the cut for his exceptional management of the health crisis, especially on the onset of the virus.

    Advocate Nelson Havi, entrepreneur Tabitha Karanja and anti-Female Genital Mutilation (Anti-FGM) crusader Josephine Kulea are multiple honorees who have maintained their flavour and colour amid tight contest for these top spots.

    The likes of comedian Timothy Kimani, alias Njugush, nominated MP Wilson Sossion, and CNN’s Larry Madowo not only prompt deep re-appraisals by Kenyans, but are also known for catalysing essential conversations on various topics.

    Declaration of Interest: The Top 100 Kenyans 2021 list is free of any external or internal influence, was carried out objectively over a period of three months. Kenyans.co.ke followed the principles of fairness, integrity, balance, and competitive advantages of the nominees in the listing process.

    Featuring these public figures and impactful people, this is a list of Top 100 Kenyans 2021 as compiled by Kenyans.co.ke.

Top 100 Kenyans 2021

NGO

  • Hussein Khalid is a Human rights activist, lawyer and Executive Director of HAKI Africa.  He aims to empower individuals and communities to understand and defend their rights.  … Read More
  • Jerotich is an independent consultant and a women human rights defender who is vocal in particular on issues of energy justice. She began the #SwitchOffKPLC campaign in 2018 in… Read More
  • Josephine Kulea formed the Samburu Girls Foundation in 2012 with the aim of helping girls from her community against undergoing Female Genital Mutilation.  Her efforts in… Read More
  • Kakenya Ntaiya is a Kenyan social activist, a feminist and an educator.  She came to the limelight after establishing the ‘Kakenya’s Dream’, which is a nonprofit organization… Read More
  • Mtai is a Climate Activist and Youth Environmental activist.  Currently, Mtai serves as Africa Coordinator for Earth Uprising, member of Global Children’s Campaign and Event… Read More
  • Mike Mutungi is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of I Choose Life-Africa. He is also the chairman of Health NGO Network (HENNET), founding member of Jiinue Credit Company Limited… Read More
  • Nivi Mukherjee is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the founder of eLimu. She is a social entrepreneur, technophile and community volunteer passionate about empowering youth… Read More
  • Phyllis Omido became famous after her spirited fight against a coast-based lead smelter, consequently leading to its closure.  She came to learn about the hazards the smelter… Read More
  • Shannon May is the President and Co-founder of Newglobe, the largest network of technology-enabled schools in Africa. NewGlobe’s government and community programs serve nearly 2… Read More
  • Wafula is a three-time award winning mental health and epilepsy crusader. Some of her outstanding accolades include the Google Africa Connected Winner 2014, the 2013 Activist of… Read More
  • Wala Amakove is a resourceful Medical Doctor (MBChB) and Health Programs Manager with over 15 years’ experience in health programs design, management, and implementation. She is… Read More
  • Wawira Njiru is a Kenyan businesswoman, entrepreneur, human nutritionist, and philanthropist. She is the Founder and Executive director of Food 4 Education, an organization that… Read More

Sports

  • Jackson Tuwei is the President of Athletics Kenya and has been for the past six years. Tuwei was formerly an Army commander before taking over the reins of the federation in 2015… Read More
  • Margaret Chelimo born February 9, 1993,  is a Kenyan long-distance runner who took part in the 2019 World Championships in the 5km race and managed to bag a silver medal after… Read More
  • Eliud Kipchoge is a renown Kenyan athlete known for his dominance in the 42km marathon. Also, recognised worldwide, Kipchoge deserves all plaudits accorded to him for his… Read More
  • Ferdinand Omanyala is Kenya's current 100-metre sprint sensation and Africa's fastest man who has made history by breaking records to become a man of many firsts. He is the first… Read More
  • Humphrey Kayange is a former rugby union player and the former captain of the Kenya Rugby Sevens Team. In 2010 Kayange was awarded the presidential Order of Golden Warriors (OGW)… Read More
  • Olunga is a 27-year-old Kenyan professional footballer who is the captain of Kenya's national team Harambee Stars. His career in football started at the Liberty Sports Academy… Read More
  • Phineas Kimathi is a renowned safari rally driver and the current Chief Executive  Officer (CEO) of the World Rally Championship. He was at the helm of WRC when the safari rally… Read More
  • Wanyama is a professional footballer who captained the Kenyan National Team, Harambee stars in 2013. He became the first Kenyan to score in the UEFA Champions League. Wanyama has… Read More

Legal

  • Martha Koome is the Chief Justice of the Republic of Kenya. She made history, becoming the first woman to head the judiciary in Kenya.  In her first 100 days in office, the lady… Read More
  • Justice Daniel Kiio Musinga has amassed over 21 years in the Judiciary essentially establishing himself as one of the top judges in the country.  The current Court of Appeal… Read More
  • Award winning Justice George Vincent Odunga is currently the presiding judge at the High Court in Machakos.  The judge has been in the spotlight for his radical rulings that have… Read More
  • Lady Justice Grace Mumbi Ngugi is a judge of the Court of Appeal. She was among the 36 judges appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta in June. Justice Ngugi is the co-founder of the… Read More
  • Laila Macharia is a Kenyan lawyer, business woman, entrepreneur and angel investor who is the chairperson of the Africa Leadership Initiative (East Africa).  She is a non-… Read More
  • Nelson Andayi Havi is the President of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK). He was elected as President in February 2020, becoming the youngest head of LSK. In 2021, Havi is still… Read More
  • Okiya Omtatah is not a lawyer by profession as many people presume him to be, but is a Human Rights Activist.  To many, he is the number one country’s public defender because he… Read More

Government

  • Juma is a Diplomat who is currently the Energy and Petroleum Cabinet secretary. Previously, she has served as cabinet secretary for Defense, Foreign Affairs, and the Principal… Read More
  • Duncan Matundura Ondimu is a Principal Prosecution Counsel at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Kenya (ODPP).  He is the head of the ODPP’s headquarters in Narok,… Read More
  • Farida Karoney is the Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Lands and Physical Planning.  She was instrumental in effecting the digital changes at the Lands Ministry through the launch of… Read More
  • The retired Major General is a PS in the Ministry of Energy, a post he was transferred to in September 2021 from the Ministry of Public Works.  Kihalangwa is spearheading change… Read More
  • Kivutha Kibwana is the current governor of Makueni County, and a human rights activist.  He served as the Minister for Defence, Minister for Environment and a former member of… Read More
  • Lyn Mengich is the Chairperson Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC). She is also a member of the KCA University Governing council. Mengich boasts of a 25-year career serving… Read More
  • Ambassador Martin Kimani is the Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations.  Previously, he was the director of Kenya’s National Counter Terrorism Centre and the… Read More
  • Prof Ntiba is the current Chief Administrative Secretary for the State Law Office and Department of Justice. He is an alumnus of University of Nairobi. Professor Ntiba has been in… Read More
  • Mutahi Kagwe is the current Cabinet Secretary for Health. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Insurance) degree from the University of Nairobi and an MBA from the United States… Read More
  • Nadia Ahmed Abdalla is the Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs.  In addition to that, Nadia is a businesswoman, a fashion guru, mental… Read More
  • Naisula is a politician and a Women’s Rights Activist.  She schooled at Daystar university pursuing a Degree in Communications and Community Development. In the past, she has… Read More
  • Ms. Nancy Gathungu is the Auditor General of Kenya via the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of Kenya, a position she has held since July 17, 2020.  Gathungu has been instrumental… Read More
  • Born in 1961, Njoroge is an economist, banker, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya from June 2015 to date. He attended Mangu High School from 1973 until 1976, for his O-… Read More
  • Dr. Walter Otieno works at the US Army Medical Research Unit in Kenya based at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and Head of Pediatrics and Child Health at Maseno… Read More

Business

  • Lopokoiyit is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), M-PESA Africa and the acting Chief Financial Services Officer at Safaricom. A distinguished financial services and change… Read More
  • Adil Popat is a renowned business person who has had successes in the motor and hospitality industries.  He is currently an executive chairman at Simba Corporation. The company is… Read More
  • Anerlisa Muigai is a Kenyan entrepreneur, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nero- a company that produces Executive drinking mineral water.  Born in 1988, She is the… Read More
  • Bhimji Depar Shah is a Kenyan businessman, industrialist and entrepreneur who founded BIDCO Group of Companies in 1970 to manufacture garments.  Since then, the company has… Read More
  • Carole Karuga is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA). She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Sociology from the University… Read More
  • Catherine Adeya serves as the Director of Research at the World Wide Web Foundation.  Most recently, she led the development of the East Africa Centre for Internet Governance and… Read More
  • Charles Mudiwa is the current Chief Executive at Stanbic Bank in Kenya and South Sudan. He previously worked in the same bank as a Chief Executive Officer from 2013 to 2017.… Read More
  • David Langat, is a Kenyan business magnate, who is behind the Ksh200 B Africa Economic Zones (AEZ) Pearl River Industrial Park in Uasin Gishu County, Eldoret.  The Industrial Park… Read More
  • Dharmesh Savla is the Chief Executive Officer of the Tononoka Rolling Mills Limited, a manufacturing company that is located in Nairobi and is one of the leading manufacturers in… Read More
  • Oketch is the CEO of Anywair group and the Founder of Ongoza.  Anywair is Africa’s pro-poor asset leasing firm that enables small-scale entrepreneurs and households to enjoy… Read More
  • The Co-operative Bank Managing Director joined the bank in 1996 as a Senior Corporate Manager and later became its Director-Corporate and Institutional Banking in 1999. He was… Read More
  • She is the brand Director P & G and designed the Always Africa Expansion Blueprint for expansion within Sub-Saharan Africa.  In 2021, Designed the new Cotton Protection… Read More
  • He is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at one of Kenya’s leading financial institutions, Equity Bank. He was born in 1962 in Kangema, Murang’a county. James was brought up by a… Read More
  • Jane Karuku is a Kenyan businesswoman and current Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the East African Breweries Limited. She states that her purpose in life is… Read More
  • She is the head of Bata Shoe Kenya PLC — the country’s largest footwear company.  Thotho’s role is overseeing 3,000 employees and about 150 stores in the country.  She is Bata… Read More
  • Jennifer Riria, is a Kenyan businesswoman, corporate executive, banker, and academic. She serves as the Group Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Women Holding (KWH), a microfinance… Read More
  • Jimnah Mbaru is the owner of the Dyer & Blair Investment Bank which was established in Kenya in 1954.  The company specialises in Corporate Finance and Advisory and currently… Read More
  • Lizzie has made a name for herself, especially in the education sector, and is one of the few women who have built a multibillion empire stretching to real estate and hospitality… Read More
  • Dr. Manu Chandaria, OBE, EBS, is a successful business person and founding chairman of the East African Business Council and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, an umbrella body… Read More
  • Narendra Raval, is a Kenyan industrialist, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the Executive Chairman of the Devki Group of Companies, a conglomerate in East Africa that… Read More
  • Navalayo Osembo Ombati is the co-founder of Kenya’s home-made athletic running shoes- Enda Sportswear, a sports shoes production company based in Kilifi Town. Enda is the first… Read More
  • Patricia Okelo is the co-founder of Kayana Create and has previously ran two successful small businesses, Willart Productions and Conferencing In A Box for over 19 years. Kayana… Read More
  • Peter Muthoka is the founder and CEO of Acceler Global Logistics, one of Kenya's largest freight and logistics companies.  They plan, implement, and operate complex supply chain… Read More
  • Peter Ndegwa is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Safaricom PLC having taken over the position on April 1, 2020. He is the first Kenyan to serve as Safaricom’s CEO. He has an… Read More
  • Phyllis Wakiaga is a Kenyan lawyer and corporate executive. She has served as the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), since 2015. She… Read More
  • Priscilla Muhiu, is the General Manager Kenya, for the Spanish delivery firm Glovo. She was appointed in September 2020. She previously worked as Head of Marketing at both Sendy… Read More
  • Mehta is the founder of Tangerine Investments, an outdoor advertising firm that uses public transit vehicles, litter bins, and street poles to market-leading consumer goods in… Read More
  • Rita Kavashe is the managing director of Isuzu East Africa. Previously, she held a number of roles including domestic sales and distribution manager, sales and marketing director… Read More
  • Tabitha Karanja is the Founder and CEO of Keroche Breweries, the first and largest brewery in Kenya owned by a non-multinational company. Keroche breweries’ accounts for more than… Read More

Media

  • Adelle Onyango worked as a radio presenter at Kiss FM, where she presented the Saturday breakfast show for seven years.  She had a Saturday evening program where she played… Read More
  • Boniface Mwangi is a human rights activist who founded Power 254 in 2010. A platform that gives artists an opportunity to advocate for social change through their art.  Mwangi… Read More
  • Makori is a seasoned journalist with 25 years experience in sports journalism and is the Nation Media Group’s Managing Editor for Sports. He is a holder of a Masters Degree in… Read More
  • Janet Mbugua is a Kenyan media personality, former news anchor and actress.  She worked as a News anchor at both KTN and Citizen TV. As an actress, she has starred in the… Read More
  • Koinange is a Kenyan journalist and host of Jeff Koinange Live talk show on Citizen TV.   He previously served as the Africa correspondent for CNN from 2001 to 2007, and later as… Read More
  • John Allan Namu is the CEO/Editorial Director of Africa Uncensored. He is a former features editor, reporter and crime investigator at KTN. In 2015, he won journalist of the year… Read More
  • Larry Madowo is among Kenya's most celebrated journalists. His journey from a humble background in Siaya county to working for global news giant, CNN, lives as an inspiration to… Read More
  • Lulu Khadija Hassan is a well-known Swahili news anchor and producer on Citizen Tv. She is a host on the Nipashe Wikendi news bulletin on Citizen TV together with her husband… Read More
  • Mashirima is a Kenyan award-winning bilingual reporter and anchor, with more than eight years of experience in the local media scene. She is known for hosting Citizen Tv’s Nipashe… Read More
  • Victoria Rubadiri is an award winning Kenyan Journalist and up until recently, worked as a News Anchor at Citizen TV hosting the prime-time show, Sunday Live.  Previously, she… Read More
  • Wachira Waruru is the Group Managing Director of Royal Media Services which owns Citizen TV, Inooro TV and 12 other radio stations. Waruru has been the Managing Director since… Read More

Education

  • Ayub Mohammed is an Islamic teacher at Eastleigh High School in Nairobi. In 2016, he was named among 10 finalists who were nominated for the prestigious United States Global… Read More
  • Belio Kipsang is a career civil servant who has authored highly competent academic and research papers in the areas of Higher Education Financing and Planning. He served in the… Read More
  • Prof. Bitange Ndemo is an Associate professor in Entrepreneurship and Research Methods and Management lecturer at the School of Business, University of Nairobi (UoN). The ICT… Read More
  • Christopher Situma Khaemba is the former headteacher of Alliance High School and the founding dean of the African Leadership Academy in South Africa. He founded the academy in… Read More
  • Ndetei is currently the Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nairobi. He has held the position since 1995. In addition, he is the Founding Director of Africa Mental Health… Read More
  • Eddah Gachukia is an entrepreneur synonymous with being the co-founder of the Riara group of schools. She is also the founding Executive Director of the Forum for African Women… Read More
  • Julius Jwan is the Principal Secretary of the State Department for Early Learning and Basic Education. He served as the Director/CEO at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum… Read More
  • Sam Mwaniki is a Kenyan teacher, who started off as a primary school teacher. He is the winner of the 2021 Facebook Accelerator Program.  He is the founder of Teachers Notice… Read More
  • Tonee Ndung'u is a technological architect behind the revolutionary company, Kytabu, that provides digital textbooks and educational resources for students in Kenya. Kytabu is a… Read More
  • Sossion is a nominated member of parliament representing workers' interest in the National Assembly and has been active in educational matters since he started teaching in 1993,… Read More
  • Yukabeth Kidenda is the co-founder of Teach for Kenya, an organisation aimed at supporting underprivileged communities to access quality education. She founded the organization… Read More

Entertainment

  • The sensational vocalist and guitarist is part of the afro-pop band Sauti Sol, with members Savara Mudigi, Willis Chimano and Polycarp Otieno-fancy fingers. He studied Journalism… Read More
  • Crazy Kennar, real name Kennedy Odhiambo, is a content creator who doubles as an Actuarial Science student at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. He runs… Read More
  • Eddie Butita is a comedian, actor, scriptwriter, theatre director, MC, theatre producer and businessman. His passion for comedy began while he was still in high school at Butere… Read More
  • Nikita is one of the youngest Kenyan musical artists who have shaken up the music industry. She spent a lot of time working on her music while still in school and making a name… Read More
  • Kenya’s Top Comedian Njugush, real name Timothy Kimani Ndegwa, is not only a comedian but also a content creator, an influencer, MC and mentor. From an early age, Njugush… Read More
  • Hassan is a Kenyan actress who has starred in films such as Just in time that debuted on Netflix. The celebrated actress is also the main character of the show Zora, the most-… Read More
  • Manjeru is an award winning gospel musician. At 13 years old, she is currently the youngest AFRIMA awards winner. This had previously been held by fellow Kenyan songstress, Nikita… Read More
  • Wanuri Kahiu is a Kenyan film director, producer, and author. Her passion for film started at the early age of 16. After completing her bachelor's degree in Management Science… Read More