Anne Waiguru Alias Minji Minji ~ Kirinyaga governor
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    Written by: Meshack Masibo

    “Educate a man, you educate an individual, educate a woman and you transform a society.”

    Meshack Masibo

    When Governor Anne Waiguru had a handshake with Right Honorable Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, social media was abuzz with rumors and comments concerning her political future. Some have touted her as the next deputy president while others have seen her as a possible future president. But who exactly is Anne Waiguru and what is her score card?

    In terms of her personal life the current governor of Kirinyaga County started her education at Nairobi River Primary School. She later joined Precious Blood Riruta High School where she sat for her O-Level. Anne Waiguru then joined Moi Forces Academy in Nairobi for her A-Level before pursuing a degree in economic policy at the University of Nairobi.

    After attaining her undergraduate, Waiguru pursued a Master’s Degree in Economic Policy from the same University. Her CV shows why the first female governor in Kenya was tasked with handling financial management systems, which is one of the courses she specialized in when in university. Other courses include capacity building and governance, public finance, and public service reform.

    She has many accolades and achievements tied in her belt. While she was the cabinet secretary for devolution, Anne Waiguru established Huduma Centers which provide government services such as company registration or replacing identity cards just to mention a few. The move was welcomed well by the public considering it had limited their traveling expenses and aided the government in distributing said services faster.

    Anne Waiguru also introduced the 30% procurement rule. This rule states that at least 30% of all supply contracts should be given to people with disabilities, women, and the youth. Anne Waiguru also featured in the country’s Top 40 Under 40 Award and the sole candidate from public services. Despite the seemingly positive impact, the then cabinet secretary was providing to the country; she did not finish her term. Anne Waiguru thought it was best to resign from her post late 2015 after continuous corruption allegations.

    The governor is also responsible for overseeing the launch of the Medium Term Plan 2 for the 2013-2017 period and a cash payment programme meant to supervise the resettling of 8,242 post-election violence internally displaced persons as well as forest evictees. She also rolled out performance contract program for all public service officers. Anne Waiguru also started the Beyond Bush Clearing campaign, which fought for the youth, persons with disabilities, and women in the acquisition of government tenders. The parties involved are now entitled to 30% of all supply tenders from the government. Anne Waiguru news will keep coming especially regarding her track record.

    Anne Waiguru’s first job as a civil servant was as a technical assistant for the Public Service Reform Secretariat. She later left that job for a more lucrative offer at the National Treasury as the Head of Governance and the Economic Stimulus Programme. Anne Waiguru also worked at Transparency International as an intern and a research assistant. However, she started soaring high when she joined the office of the president as a technical advisor in the cabinet office.

    Before she was appointed as the first female cabinet secretary, Anne Waiguru was the director at IFMIS (Integrated Financial Management and Information System). She served as a cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Devolution from April 2013 until November 2015. After her resignation from the post, Anne Waiguru was quiet for a while before rumors of her intention to join the Nairobi Gubernatorial race surfaced.

    However, these stories were farfetched since, after constant questions regarding the issue, the former Cabinet Secretary announced she would run for the Kirinyaga governor seat. She beat her competitor to the seat and joined Joyce Laboso and Charity Ngilu as the first female governors in Kenya. Waiguru’s son was all over social media in 2015 over reports of him owning a car worth well over KSh 40 million. During this period, his mother was being accused of defrauding the National Youth Service of KSh 790 million. Anne Waiguru defended her son by saying the Aston Martin, which had Kenyan number plates, was not owned by her family and the photo might have been from the motor show.

    During her first months as the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution, President Uhuru loved flaunting her in public events. The president and the woman in charge of a new cabinet post aimed at enhancing governance on county level was not an unusual sight. Not to mention, their journey into politics has been well-documented with Uhuru appointing her into the tourism board in 1999. This move came after Moi made Uhuru the Chairman of the Kenya Tourism Board. During the Kibaki and Raila power-sharing government, Waiguru was appointed as a senior official in the Ministry of Trade.

    Her long journey to the helms of power culminated when the President. Kenyatta beat Raila Amollo Odinga to the fourth president of the Republic of Kenya. Uhuru then appointed a relatively unknown Anne Waiguru as the first female cabinet secretary and put her in charge of the newly-created devolution docket.  Waiguru decided to enter into active politics after being cleared by the Anticorruption Commission and still retains close ties with the president and his party. This is perhaps the reason she has been touted as potential running mate to Deputy President William Ruto in 2022.

    So today, Anne Waiguru serves both as an inspiration and motivation to thousands of little girls around the country that it is possible for a woman to climb into the highest echelons of power in the republic. And whether the smear campaigns against her are true or not is beyond my scope of knowledge but what I do know is that slowly the lady from Gichugu is influencing the national political space and the country in general.

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