President Uhuru Kenyatta’s sister Margaret Wambui has passed away following a short illness. She died at a Nairobi hospital on Wednesday night aged 89.
Very little is known about Wambui as she has been out of the limelight for a long period of time as old age and sickness took a toll on her.
Margaret Wambui was the only daughter and the eldest of two children of Mzee Kenyatta and his first wife Wahu.
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She was never married and did not have children but played a pivotal role as a confidant of Kenya’s founding father, rising to become Nairobi Mayor from 1970 to 1976.
She grew up with her mother after her father was sent to England in 1929 to represent the Kikuyu Central Association. She attended Alliance High School and Githunguri Teachers Training School where her father was a tutor when he returned to the country.
Like her father, Wambui started her career as a teacher and acted as his trusted aide when he delved into politics.
When KANU was formed, she was elected the secretary for Kiambu before replacing Charles Rubia as Nairobi Mayor. She was the first African woman mayor of Nairobi and the second African woman in the country to hold the position.
During her tenure in office, she was responsible for numerous developmental programs, including the expansion of the subways, the building of low-cost housing and sewerage, and the expansion of public health facilities.
She also built up numerous city estates with tarmacked roads and walkways as well as street lights.
Wambui was, however, dealt a political blow when her deputy Andrew Kimani Ngumba who announced his candidature for her post, dividing the Kenyatta government.
She was later appointed Kenya’s permanent representative to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) by her father.
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ODM leader Raila Odinga has eulogized the President’s half-sister calling her loving and kind, recounting his long history with Wambui and her family.
“We recall that in the course of her father’s detention, Margaret was adopted by Jaramogi, making her part of our extended family as we grew up.”
“We knew her as a loving and deeply caring lady who towered over Kenya’s landscape with humility and decency. Although she is gone, her place is preserved in our history as a nation. We stand with her family in prayer.”
“We wish them strength at this moment of loss. We also offer profound gratitude for all that she did for our country,” added Raila.
May her soul rest in peace.