Enigma of the 70s, bowed out quietly

Famous for holding the mantle of first female mayor of Nairobi, Margaret Wambui Kenyatta, the firstborn daughter of founding Mzee President Jomo Kenyatta was an enigma in her heyday.

Wambui was Kenyatta’s second born child after her brother, Peter Muigai, from the former President’s first wife Grace Wahu. As mayor, between 1970 and 76, she spruced up city estates with tarmacked walkways and street lighting.  When she left the management of Nairobi City Council, President Uhuru’s step-sister was appointed Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environmental Programme (Unep), where she served for 10 years till 1986. Quite the activist for women rights and empowerment,  Wambui joined a number of social welfare groups, including Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation (MYWO).

She joined forces with her father in 1963 when Kenya attained independence, to build a unified nation, working particularly for the interests of women in politics.

Her political quest saw her elected councillor for Dagoretti and was re-elected for four subsequent terms. In 1964, she was awarded the Order of the Queen of Sheba by Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia in recognition of her efforts.

Despite such an industrious political career, Wambui opted out of the limelight and was leading a quiet life at the time of her passing on. Her only son, former High Court judge Patrick John Kamau, died in 2005.

Wambui’s funeral service will be held today at the St Andrews PCEA Church at 10am. Burial will follow thereafter at her Ngando home. 

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