Kenyans for the second time have an opportunity to peek into the lives of Governors and the County First Ladies through The Counties. The spouses stand behind their men, help manage the affairs of the counties and spearhead social and philantrophic programmes. Steering the new county government requires many skills and governors are now banking on the support of their First Ladies to implement manifestos and manage diaries.
The governors admit their spouses’ support helped them win. Due to public demand, we follow up on the story of the mighty women behind the success of governors as we feature more County First ladies who missed out in the previous edition. More will follow next week.
|First Lady Josephine Mutua||Governor Alfred Mutua|
Josephine Thitu Mutua is the wife to Machakos governor Dr Alfred Mutua. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy, a master’s degree in Public health and a Doctorate in Pharmacy. Together with Dr Mutua they have three children: twins aged four and the eldest child aged seven.
Josephine is a Christian who chooses to support her husband behind the scenes and undertaking projects that uplift the lives of women and children in Machakos County.
Since May 2013, she has been creating awareness on prevention and management of breast and cervical cancer in Machakos County through screenings.Josephine is passionate about the environment and has also kick-started a tree-planting project in Machakos County. She undertakes her activities through church organisations, women and youth groups.
|First Lady Joyce Tolgos||Governor Alex Tolgos|
Elgeyo/ Marakwet’s first lady, Joyce Tolgos, is confident that her husband, governor Alex Tolgos triumphed in the last elections due to her support and prayers. Joyce however explains that life has changed because of the governor’s busy schedule but adds she has learned to cope with it. She says as a family they had earlier discussed how to manage and balance the county and family matters.
She went to Koitebes Primary in Uasin Gishu County before proceeding to Kapropita Girls in Baringo County. She later joined Moi University where she studied for a degree in Business Management. Due to the nature of her job, Mrs Tolgos says she did not accompany her husband during campaigns but she played a great role in convincing the female folk as part of the campaign.
“When you become the wife of a politician, you must be good-hearted and humble to people so that they can relate with you freely and voice their grievances without fear,” she adds.
|First Lady Caroline Mchome||Governor Wycliffe Ambetsa|
Kakamega’s First Lady is Caroline Mchome Ambetsa. She is a force that cannot be ignored in governor Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya’s ascension. She is a hotelier and Corporate Communications expert. The First Lady has a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in Corporate Communications from Daystar University and a Diploma in Hotel and Catering Management. She attended primary and secondary school in Tanzania. The couple has three children. She quit her business to focus on family and support her husband pursue his political ambitions.
“I ran the Shooters restaurant and several other shops in Nairobi but quit to campaign for my husband,” Mrs Ambetsa says.
She adds: “I spent time with both young and old women and youth groups in the constituencies to campaign for my husband and I am happy he won.”
She helps him prepare speeches for different functions and reminds him on undelivered pledges because she feels she will be the one who will be answerable to the electorate if her husband does not fulfill his promises.
Oparanya acknowledges that his wife played a key role to help him clinch the gubernatorial seat.
“We shared out the 12 constituencies because the county is so big. She campaigned for me in six as I concentrated in the rest,” Mr Oparanya says.
|First Lady Eunice Wamuyu with Governor Joseph Ndathi|
Eunice Wamunyu is Kirinyaga County’s First Lady. Wamunyu made her first public appearance during the last General Election when she vigorously campaigned for her husband Joseph Ndathi.
The soft-spoken lady traversed the entire county convincing the voters on the need to elect Ndathi as the area governor.
Due to the many electioneering campaign engagements at the time, Ndathi would not have made it since his personal presence was required to convince the electorate to vote for him hence the wife ably represented him in many such occasions.
She would be with various women groups in the expansive Mwea irrigation scheme, or with others in Ndia, Gichugu and Kirinyaga central constituencies talking to strangers who saw her for the first time.
After the results were announced, Wamunyu was there to give Ndathi the support he needed following the grueling campaigns.
|First Lady Gladys Ongwae||Governor James Ongwae|
Kisii’s First Lady Gladys Gesare Ongwae is a mother of four and has been an inspiration to governor James Ongwae. She holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Nairobi and a post-graduate diploma in Management from the Kenya Institute of Management.
Mrs Ongwae attended Itierio Primary and Secondary schools before joining Asumbi Girls High School for her A-levels. She taught at Kenya High School for five years after graduation.
She previously worked as registrar in charge of administration at the University of Nairobi. At the University, she served in various capacities including as secretary to the council. In Kisii, she is actively involved in the social work and philanthropy supporting orphans and several children’s homes.
|First Lady Lucy Mandago||Governor Jackson Mandago|
Uasin Gishu’s First Lady Mrs Lucy Mandago is a Human Resource specialist with the Coffee Board of Kenya (CBK).
Despite her professional engagements, Mrs Jackson Mandago says she supported her husband throughout the tough electioneering period.
She however did not attend any of his political rallies during campaigns since she works in Nairobi but attended church functions like fundraisers and other meetings as a way of seeking votes. Lucy who is prayerful and a God-fearing woman understands the nature of her husband’s work, adding that despite his tight schedule, he always finds time for his family.
“His work is so demanding but the little time he gets, he spares for the family,” Lucy says.
Eldoret was a hot spot during post-election violence and Lucy says she recently launched Uasin Gishu County prayer day as a way of embracing love and togetherness in the county.
“I would like to see Uasin Gishu County prosper and move forward and to achieve these we should put God first,” adds Lucy.
Lucy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from the Catholic University of East Africa. She went to Kipchunu Primary school in Uasin Gishu County before proceeding to Terige Secondary school.
|First Lady Liz Kingi||Governor Jeffa Kingi|
Kilifi’s First Lady, Liz Kingi is a lawyer by profession and is currently practicing with a family law firm in Mombasa.
The governor’s wife was last seen in public when she accompanied her husband and their two children to witness her husband’s swearing-in ceremony which was held at the Kilifi playgrounds. Kingi says his wife has been instrumental in his political career.
Kingi describes his wife as humble and understanding as she has spared him time to participate in his political undertakings.
Despite having a young family, Kingi says his wife is aware that he has an obligation to work for the people who elected him.
Mrs Kingi is also currently working on modalities of starting women and girl-child empowerment programs. She is also planning to involve herself in environmental conservation programs and social activities in the county.