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CITY GIRL: Memo to governors’ wives – Drop ‘First Lady’ title

I am going to say this only once. There is only one First Lady in this great country Kenya. Her name, ladies and gentlemen, is Mrs Margaret Kenyatta.

She is First Lady by virtue of being the lucky woman who caught the eye and stole the heart of our president. The president’s woman. The mother of his children.

So, dear wives of governors — all 47 of you — I am going to require you to refrain from referring to yourselves as first ladies, effective immediately. That coveted title ‘First Lady’ is exclusively set aside for the wife of a head of state, not head of a county, you bunch of 47 wannabes.

In Kenya, we do not have a First Lady, we have the First Lady. Note the use of the definite article “the”, I know some of you may be a little short on the grey matter to notice what I did there.

There can only be one First Lady in Kenya and that title, that coveted throne, that shiny crown, belongs to the woman who is the official wife of our president.

And in cases where our president is either a senior bachelor or divorced as former President Moi was, that throne is left vacant. Of course we may allow a few short-term tenants here and there — purely for pleasure purposes — but that throne is declared vacant until we find a candidate fit enough.


Wives of governors are not first ladies by any standards. First, some of their husbands — the governors — do not have what it takes to president (let’s be honest here) and some of these “county first ladies” are just too plain Janes to be the First Lady.

They are, as my colleague Joe Mbuthia aptly put it, pretenders to the throne. Grassroots aspirants. Hopefuls. Claimants who wish they wore the First Lady’s shoes. And if you grew up in Eastlands like me, you’d call them First Ladies mwitu. Fake first ladies.

You are simply the wife of a governor. You hold that office purely by the virtue of the man you are married to, a first-term governor, who will, most likely, never be re-elected next year because he is a loser who has not really done much for the people. By referring to yourselves as First Ladies, you are diluting the true meaning and spirit of the title of the First Lady.

You see, that position of First Lady is as special as it is unique. It is held by an exceptional woman.

An institution defined by a phenomenal woman. An office occupied by a woman with a cause. A throne held by a Queen Esther, the Biblical noble woman, not just any woman with a governor for a husband.

Wives of Kenyan governors must therefore respect the spirit and the soul of the institution of the First Lady’s office and quit attempting to walk in heels that are too high for them.

Dear wives of governors, you may imitate the First Lady but you may never duplicate her. After all, isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flattery? You may model your role as Mama County on the real First Lady, with the hope that your county sympathises with your husband and gives him a second term, but you must never overstep your station.


Your job is to offer moral support to your governor husband, like a good long-suffering wife of a politician would. You are allowed to copy the real First Lady by championing causes in your counties to keep yourself busy as your governor husbands entertain Pretty Young Things (PYTs) in Dubai and at the Coast, but you must never attempt to outshine the real queen.

Occasionally, you may all gang up for a photo-op to present a cheque to the real First Lady’s cause, but that’s just that. Don’t call the media to cover you when you are giving blankets to your county poor or call us for your conferences.

What, by the way, do you discuss in those conferences that cannot be tackled by the bloated county assemblies?

If you ask me, wives of governors do not even deserve a special budget or a special team at her beck and call to smooth her skirt and firm up her lipstick. I think that is a complete waste of public funds.

Wives of governors must know their place, and that, dear squad of 47 wannabes, is in the background. You are to be seen, not heard. Sometimes, we don’t even want to see you.

Going forward, let’s agree on one thing, no more First Lady wa County. Oh, and that’s not a suggestion. It’s an order.