From a little-known civil servant in the Ministry of Finance in the Grand Coalition government, Anne Waiguru has risen through the ranks, battled political stigmatisation and selective condemnation and came out stronger. She gained recognition when she was nominated in 2013 as Kenya’s first Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.
The just concluded general elections in Kenya has seen her triumph over her male counterparts in the nomination stages and be part of the first three elected women governors in the history of the county since the promulgation of the new constitution that saw decentralization of government.
Ms. Ann Waiguru interacting with members of the public during her campaign trail (Photo Credits Standard media)
“To have, for the first time since the promulgation of the Kenyan Constitution (2010), three women in governorship positions is an indication of the milestone we have made as a democracy; and to be one of the first women governors in Kenya is quite an honour.” She pointed out
To Ms. Waiguru and the other two elected governors, the opportunity is a platform to stake a claim in policy formulation in order to create an enabling environment for more women to compete and succeed in the political sphere, while at the same time proving to the naysayers that women leaders are as good at the job as their male counterparts - if not better.
Ms Waiguru is bent on increasing income generating initiatives through opening new markets for the highly agricultural county.
“Some of the things that my administration will focus on include bettering the health sector, modernising agricultural practices to increase harvests and sourcing for new markets to improve profits for our farmers. We will also improve infrastructure and security and position Kirinyaga as an ideal tourism destination.” She reiterates.
The United Nations provided technical and financial support to the general elections through the Strengthening the Electoral Process Project in Kenya (SEPK), a donor basket fund managed by UNDP. UN Women focuses on the component of increasing women participation in election. The SEPK program aims at strengthening and developing sustainable and just election institutions, systems, and processes capable of delivering a free, fair, just, transparent and credible 2017 General Elections.
She further called for additional support to women interested in running for public office from both public and private institutions through technical assistance, training and the resources needed to effectively compete alongside their male counterparts. In so doing she committed to set up youth and women empowerment programmes so as to nurture talent and improve our education standards.
“This should be a statement to the girl child and women not just in Kenya but in Africa and beyond, that there is no position - political or otherwise - that is the preserve of men.”
And after a long zealous campaign, it is clear that Waiguru has not only won the hearts of the people of Kirinyaga County, but their votes too.
The 2017 general elections saw 23 elected women MPs, and 47 Women representatives with still there being need to nominate 47 more women in Parliament to make a total of 117 women. The Senate, saw entry of three women were elected as senators with 16 more women Senators to be nominated as per the constitution to reach the 2/3rd rule.