From Kibera to Karen and back to Lang’ata (prison): Joy Gwendo's story

Gwendo [Photo: Courtesy]

Joy Gwendo’s short stint in politics has been punctuated by scandals and allegations of violent outbursts, arrogance and husband snatching.

Before joining politics, the holder of a Bachelor of Library Science degree from the University of Nairobi, lived with her husband and their son in apartments between Toy Market and Ayany in Kibera, and was earning less than Sh100, 000 working for a vernacular radio station.

But her fortunes changed when she met Onyango Oloo, now the Kisumu County Speaker. “I thought of joining politics after interviewing TNA secretary general Onyango Oloo at the Ramogi radio station.

 I met him several times after that and we talked a lot about the political scene in Kenya. When he told me he was planning to form a political party to empower the people of Nyanza by giving them an alternative voice, I did not hesitate to join him.”

She held on to Oloo’s coattails, which saw her campaigning for Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance (TNA) party in Kibera during the 2013 elections. Kibera is an Opposition zone. Gwendo stuck and was rewarded with a nomination. She was 33.

But her tenure was characterised by scandals, including arrests over drunk driving and allegations of husband snatching. 

A long-time friend intimated that, “It is true she used to be very close to Oloo. How close, I don’t know, but it’s through him that he got nominated. After she got into Parliament, she moved from Kibera and dumped her husband.”

Gwendo was in a relationship with Thomas Mbewa, a married man in an affair that was said to have strained the man’s eight year marriage. Mbewa admitted he was seeing the Senator but his wife was in the know.

“It is true I’m dating Joy and we have known each other for years,” said Mbewa. “It’s been an on and off relationship which my wife knows about and we decided to formalise it” but a family friend said Gwendo had caused the wife sleepless nights and even forced her to move out of her matrimonial home in Madaraka estate, Nairobi.

On March 29, 2014, after a Saturday after a night out, Gwendo spent a night in a police cell after she was arrested for drunk-driving.

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