First Lady: Meet Five Powerful Women Who’ve Stood Beside Kenya’s Presidents
- President William Ruto officially took up the mantle today as the fifth commander in chief of Kenya today, with other regional heads of states present
- As he joins the list of Kenyan presidents, theefficientwoman.co.ke featured the women who have been standing beside their hubbies as they run the top office
- From Jomo Kenyatta’s wife Mama Ngina to the current first lady Rachel Ruto and the impact each had during their tenure holding that office
By Sherryl Amocaleta
William Ruto has today been sworn in as the fifth president of Kenya at Kasarani stadium, an event attended by tens of thousands and regional heads of state, among other dignitaries.
The UDA party leader joins the list of Kenyan presidents, including the late Jomo Kenyatta, the late Daniel Moi, the late Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta.
However, behind these five men are powerful influential women who supported and stood by them through thick thin as they took up power.
Here are the five first ladies Kenya has had, as featured by theefficientwoman.co.ke and the impact they had.
1. Mama Ngina Kenyatta
Known as the mother of the nation, Mama Ngina’s impact has been felt since her husband, the first president of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, took the oath.
She served as the first lady from 1964 to 1978, supporting her hubby in leadership roles which saw her also have an influence on how her son, Uhuru, led the country.
She has been in the past considered the powerful person behind the son’s moves in power even though she took a back seat during his tenure.
2. Lena Moi
The late Daniel Moi was the second president of Kenya, and he was known to be a no-nonsense who got things done without contradiction from opponents or critics.
However, while his wife Lena was not presently active during his tenure, she assumed the silent first lady role.
In many instances, Moi travelled alone on assignment without being accompanied by his wife. Daniel Moi was replaced in 2002 after being in power for more than two decades.
According to reports, she was the official first lady between 1978 to 2022.
3. Lucy Kibaki
The late Lucy Kibaki’s reign was felt, and people revered her. She was the first lady who took up action publicly and called people out without thinking twice.
From storming a media house to demand a write-up taken down to calling out slacking cabinet secretaries. They worshipped her.
In 2002, Lucy won the hearts of many as Kenya promulgated a new constitution, and she stole the show by dancing to Emmy Kosgei’s song.
She served as the first lady between 2002 and 2013.
She later died on April 26, 2016.
4. Margaret Kenyatta
Former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s wife, Margaret, reigned in a subtle yet impactful way. Since getting the title, she took up projects that she was passionate about.
Including changing how people looked at maternity issues in Kenya and working towards improving maternal health for women with her beyond zero campaign.
This saw number of deaths decrease, especially in areas where women giving birth could not access urgent medical health.
Her mobile clinics went as far as giving mothers a shot at having kids celebrate their fifth birthday, which was an issue in some parts of the country.
She was also praised for her simplicity in rocking traditional outfits and keeping her hair short and natural, earning her praises with people.
She served as the first lady between 2013 to 2023.
5. Rachel Ruto
The new first lady Rachel Ruto has already won praises from people based on how she carried herself, praying for her husband William throughout the campaigns.
As she takes up the mantle today, Kenyans can only wait to see her impact and the projects she will take up as she supports her hubby throughout his tenure.
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