End of the Mwendwa
Dynasty beckons in Kitui
By Martin Masai Kitui, January 2016
THE end of a dynastic rule by the Mwendwa family is beckoning with an announcement Monday that Kenya's first female cabinet minister Nyiva Mwendwa would be retiring from politics next year.
|Mrs Winfred Nyiva Mwendwa|
Nyiva, 74 is currently serving was Woman Representative of Kitui in the National Assembly. Her announcement did not come as a surprise to many as she appears physically tired to keep up with the rigours of politics. Her retirement brings to closure a career spanning 42 years since she was first elected to parliament in 1974, becoming the first woman MP from the region. She defeated fiery MP Permenas Munyasya Nzilu.
A widow of Kenya's first Chief Justice, Maluki Kitili Mwendwa, Nyiva has had a rich political career- seeing her serve as Assistant minister and eventually as Minister for Culture and Social Services. Munyasya kept on snatching the seat until he was permanently felled in a petition.
Kitili jumped into the fray to contest against Munyasya's son Nzilu and won in a by-election but was killed in a road accident shortly after while serving as Kitui West MP. At the time of the accident near Kenyatta University, Kitili was rumoured to have been awaiting appointment to be Kenya' Vice President.
He was replaced by career educationist and younger brother Kyale Mwendwa. Kyale served as Water Development Minister under President Moi. Kyale coiled in unclear circumstance after he was dropped from the cabinet, leaving Nyiva to run again in 1992.
|Eliud Ngala Mwendwa with his wife Kavutha(( 2nd- right) with|
friends who came visiting him in Kitui
She climaxed her service as minister when she led Kenya's delegation to Beijing Women Conference and carried her hair dresser as part of her official delegation insisting " I have to look like a minister".
Her tenure also marked an eventful relationship with Kyale with whom they dueled over the seat at family level.
Across in Kitui Central the elder Mwendwa sibling Eliud Ngla Mwendwa served from 1963. Ngala, 91, is one of the Ministers in the fifteen-man Cabinet that Kenya’s founding father, President Jomo Kenyatta formed at Kenya’s independence in 1963. Except for Kenyatta’s family, no other family has produced more Members of Parliament in Kenya than that of his father, ex-Senior Chief of Kitui, Mwendwa Kitavi, who sired more than 40 children with his twelve wives.
Observers view Nyiva's retirement as end of an era for the Mwendwa dynasty as non of their immediate sons and daughters appear set to take over the mantle for the time being.