Top personalities who shaped Kenyan politics in 2017
As 2017 comes to an end and we usher in a new year full of promise, we take a look at some of the prominent personalities who shaped the tumultuous political scene in Kenya.
1. Wafula Chebukati – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was undoubtedly the officer bearer of the most stressful job in Kenya in 2017.
When he was vetted by Parliament for the chairmanship of the electoral commission, Chebukati said he knew exactly what awaited him.
“I want to assure you that I will not just wake up and make statements as was the case in 2007,” Mr Chebukati told Parliament.
But in the months leading to, during and after the August 8 general election, Chebukati was a man under siege, what with interference from political players, the death of a key personnel in the IEBC days to the election, nullification of the presidential election by the Supreme Court, resignation of one commissioner midstream and overseeing a repeat election that boycotted by the opposition.
If there is one man in Kenya who must be happy to bid goodbye to 2017, then Chebukati is his name.
2. David Maraga – The Chief Justice and his Supreme Court bench did the unthinkable thing of nullifying the presidential election of August 28 to throw the country into a seemingly endless election circle.
His historic ruling was widely lauded by the opposition but evoked the wrath of President Uhuru Kenyatta who felt he had been denied clear victory by Maraga and his ‘wakora’ (thugs).
But Maraga, a devout Seventh Day Adventist, remained firm even in the face of serious onslaught on the Judiciary from the aggrieved Kenyatta supporters. His calmness and professionalism restored faith on Kenya’s judicial system.
3. Mike Sonko – He is controversial as they come, but there is no denying the fact that Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has achieved alot in his relatively short political career.
Sonko made his debut in active city politics during the Makadara by-election of 2010 beating former MPs Reuben Ndolo (ODM) and Dick Wathika (PNU) in the race to parliament.
Come 2013, Sonko stepped up and contested for Nairobi’s senatorial seat which he easily won with a landslide.
But when he announced that he would be challenging Evans Kidero for Nairobi’s gubernatorial seat, many thought he had bitten more than he could chew.
Sonko had one more trick up his sleeves and pulled off a most unlikely victory against the suave Dr Kidero to be become Nairobi’s second governor.
4. Anne Waiguru – After being forced out of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s first cabinet over graft allegations, not many imagined that in two years’ time Waiguru would have reinvented herself to become one of the three first elected women governors in Kenya.
That she faced none other than Iron Lady of Kenyan politics, Martha Karua, who she floored with ease to clinch Kirinyaga’s gubernatorial seat, only made her achievement all the more remarkable.
As if that is not enough, just before the end of the year 2017, the Council of Governors selected her to be their co-chair. Her raise to the top can only be described by one word. Phenomenal!
5. Ferdinand Waititu – The self-named Baba Yao has been politics for a while now and he is not the type who shies away from a good fight.
In a period spanning 15 years, the fiery politician has risen from a Councillor (Njiru ward, Embakasi), to an MP in the defunct larger Embakasi constituency and later Kabete constituency before beating the seasoned and wealthy William Kabogo in a straight fight for Kiambu’s gubernatorial seat.
Little wonder Kiambu people now call him ‘Baba Yetu’