That former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Mumbi Waiguru is a power woman is no secret. As an accomplished women in civil service, she is recognized globally as one of the most competent female leaders under 50. Her sheer drive, commitment to excellence, and ability to continually deliver has elevated her as a premier role model to seasoned women leaders, emerging leaders, and young women and girls.
The former CS says she loves her country and despite coming from a humble background, has been privileged to serve the nation in critical roles. Though her home is in Kirinyaga, she was born in Pumwani, Nairobi.
She is a daughter, sister, mentor, friend to many but most importantly, a proud mother to three boys aged 19,16 and 12. “They are the center of my life.”
"I am a public figure but also a very private person. I long for my private space who has become non-existent. I guess it comes with the territory of being in the public limelight. What I wouldn't give to be able to go out dancing again and enjoy my music which i love, without it becoming the a key focus on social media. But I am thankful and appreciative because of the grace that God has accorded me over the years,” she says.
Waiguru went to Nairobi River Primary School in Buruburu, after which she proceeded to Precious Blood Secondary School, Riruta, and Moi Forces Academy for her A-Levels. She would later join Egerton University for her Bachelors degree and the University of Nairobi for her Masters in Economic Policy. All this time, Waiguru was juggling the struggles of work and motherhood. She was admitted into a PhD program in Governance Maastricht University in the Netherlands but ended up deferring her admission in 2012.
Just like anyone else, Waiguru has a circle of close friends who call her 'Haney'. "We had a matron in PB who could not pronounce my name Anne and instead called me 'Hani'. The name mutated while in university at Egerton to “Haney” and has stuck since then.”
In life, some events take place that are priceless. One such moment for Waiguru was when her eldest son had his presentation accepted by Ted Talk. “Nothing makes a parent more proud than to see their children achieve in their own right.” Her appointment as cabinet secretary also makes her top memorable list. “I felt proud as a professional, as a woman and as a relatively young person who had now reached the pinnacle of professional success. As CS, the innovative Huduma Centers and the National Youth Service's transformative program accorded me numerous opportunities to interact with the public and young people and help them achieve their dreams. That was very memorable for me."
On the flip side, the same position that gave her much joy, was also the source of great sorrow. She realised that powers way beyond her were determined to assassinate 'her character and ensure that she withered professionally.'
“When I read an affidavit filed by my purported hairdresser, a person whom I have never in my life laid eyes on, I was shattered.” She wondered what made people possess enough hate to create a fictional story complete with false events just to pursue their own agendas."
According to her, her inner circle know that the person defined by that affidavit is not at all her. “The saddest thing is, that because Kenyans like to believe the worst in their leaders, many chose to believe the worst even if it sounds ridiculous. My belief in God makes me confident that I, and those roped in with me, will be vindicated.
Now that she is no longer in government, how is Waiguru spending her time? "Reading and listening to music with close friends. If I am out of the country, then I freely go out dancing. My boys love football and this has rubbed off me. I love Gor Mahia, who doesn't love winners? And the passion from their fans is contagious."
She is currently reading two books; Africa- Why economists get it wrong by Morton Jarven and Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie.
Her favourite food! “Githeri with avocado has always been an old time favourite from school.