Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko will on Friday name Akiba Mashinani Trust Executive Director Jane Weru as his nominee for the deputy governor’s seat. This will end speculation and the fill the vacancy left a year ago when Polycarp Igathe, frustrated by Sonko’s leadership style, quit in a huff.
The governor, who has been under pressure to name a deputy to help in the running of City Hall, had initially picked for people, all of them women, from a list of 10 applicants for consideration after the County Assembly rejected his nomination of fiery lawyer Miguna Miguna, who is entangled in a nationality row with the government, despite the courts ordering that his Kenyan passport be reinstated.
He is currently in Toronto, Canada, after he was controversially deported for his role in the mock swearing in of Raila Odinga as the People’s President.
The others were former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru, insurance executive Agnes Kagure and lawyer Karen Nyamu, who unsuccessfully sought to vie for the Nairobi Women Representative’s seat but lost to Rachel Shebesh in the Jubilee nominations.
Later, Sonko settled for Weru and Nyamu and sources indicate he has settled for the former.
Weru is a sister of David Kibaki’s wife, making her an in-law to the Kibaki family. She comes from a wealthy family from Karatina. The wealthy Weru family shot to the spotlight during the Kibaki era when her mother denied then Prime Minister Raila Odinga access to their family owned hotel. This brought embarrassment to Raila and created animosity between the two political divides.
Besides, she is a founder member of Akiba Mashinani Trust, a housing development and finance agency established by the Slum Dwellers Federation of Kenya. She is a lawyer whose early work focused on public interest litigation on behalf of poor communities threatened with forceful evictions and violent demolitions.
Previously, she served as the Executive Director of Kituo Cha Sheria and of Pamoja Trust, and as a Team Leader for the Kenya Railway Relocation Action Plan for the ministry of Transport and the World Bank. Weru is a Board Member of the Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI), an Ashoka Fellow, and was a member of the National Task Force for the preparation of the Community Land Bill and the Evictions and Resettlement Bill. She received a Master’s in NGO Management from the London School of Economics.
In 2011, the Rockefeller Foundation awarded her Ksh 9 million ($100,000) to support her efforts to settle slum dwellers through the Muungano wa Wanavijiji, which is financed by Akiba Mashinani Trust.
The deputy governor’s seat has been vacant since the resignation of Polycarp Igathe, now the Equity Bank Kenya CEO, on January 12, 2018 after failing to win his boss’ trust.