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Meet Charity Ngilu, First Female To Content for Presidency

Charity Kaluki Ngilu born 1952 is a Kenyan politician and the second governor elected for Kitui County.

She served as Minister for Health from 2003 until 2007 and Minister of Water and Irrigation from April 2008 to 2013. She also served as Cabinet Secretary for Land, Housing and Urban Development from 2013 until 2015.

Ngilu was born in Mbooni, Makueni District in 1952. She was educated at Alliance Girls High School, then worked as a secretary for Central Bank of Kenya, before becoming an entrepreneur. She acted as a director of a plastics extrusion factory.

Along with Joyce Laboso and Anne Waiguru, Ngilu is one of three women who became Kenya’s first female governors in 2017.

Ngilu was elected to represent the Kitui central constituency seat in 1992 on a Democratic Party ticket. She was reelected to the same seat and ran for president in the 1997 general election on a Social Democratic Party of Kenya ticket, finishing fifth behind the eventual winner, Daniel arap Moi. Along with Wangari Maathai, she became the first ever female presidential candidate in Kenya.

Later, she joined National Party of Kenya. In the December 2002 general election, her party was part of the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC). The coalition went on to win the elections, and President Mwai Kibaki appointed her as Minister of Health when he named his Cabinet on 3 January 2003. She was also appointed NARC chairperson.

Ngilu was re-elected to her seat from Kitui Central in the December 2007 parliamentary election. Kibaki won the presidential election according to official results, but this was disputed by the ODM, and a violent crisis developed. The crisis was eventually resolved with a power-sharing agreement, and in the grand coalition Cabinet named on 13 April 2008 and sworn in on 17 April, Ngilu was appointed as Minister of Water and Irrigation.

Ngilu showed support for Raila Odinga in running for Presidential bid in Kenyan elections 2013.She later launched a presidential bid through her Narc Political Party, ultimately choosing to run for Kitui County senator and losing to David Musila in the process.

Following her failed bid, Ngilu was named Cabinet Secretary for Land, Housing and Urban Development by president Uhuru Kenyatta, but she resigned from the post following corruption allegations.

Ngilu ran for governor of Kitui County in the 2017 general election, beating incumbent Julius Malombe and becoming one of three elected women governors.

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