Ngina Kenyatta

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Mama Ngina Kenyatta
1st First Lady of Kenya
In role
12 December 1964 – 28 August 19781
PresidentJomo Kenyatta
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byLena Moi
Personal details
Ngina Muhoho

(1933-06-24) 24 June 1933 (age 89)
Ngenda, Kiambu District, Central Province, Kenya Colony
Political partyKANU
SpouseJomo Kenyatta (m. 1951)
ChildrenChristine Wambui (born 1953)
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (born 1961)
Anna Nyokabi Muthama (née Kenyatta) (also known as Jeni)
Muhoho Kenyatta
Residence(s)Nairobi, Kenya
ReligionRoman Catholicism
1. Ngina retained her First Lady status even after the death of her husband in 1978. Incoming President Daniel arap Moi had separated from his wife in 1974.

Ngina Kenyatta (née Muhoho; born 24 June 1933), popularly known as "Mama Ngina", is the former First Lady of Kenya. She is the widow of the country's first president, Jomo Kenyatta (~1889–1978), and mother of the fourth president Uhuru Kenyattawho served from 2013 to 2022.


Mama Ngina was born Ngina Muhoho to Chief Muhoho wa Gathecha and Anne Nyokabi Muhoho at Ngenda, Kiambu District, Central Province in 1933 .[1][2][3] She married Jomo Kenyatta as his fourth wife in 1951, a union characterised as a "gift" to Kenyatta from his ethnic group, the Kikuyu.[4] This became her reference as the "mother of the nation",[4] becoming Mama Ngina Kenyatta, independent Kenya's glamorous First Lady when Kenyatta became president in 1963. She often accompanied him in public, and had some streets in Nairobi[5] and Mombasa, as well as a Children's Home,[6] named after her. In 1965, she became patron of Kenyan Guiding.[7]

In the 1970s, she and other high-level government officials were allegedly involved in an ivory-smuggling ring which transported tusks out of the country in the state private airliner.[8][9][10] A May 1975 edition of New Scientist cited her as one of Kenya's "ivory queens" but also asserted they could not be completely certain that these claims were true.[11] However, New Scientist claimed that there was now documentary proof that at least one member of Kenya's royal family had shipped over six tons of ivory to Red China.

Mama Ngina became a Roman Catholic,[12] and was known to attend Mass every Sunday in the Catholic mission with some of their children.[13] She also became one of the richest individuals in Kenya, owning plantations, ranches, and hotels.[14]

In October 2021, the Pandora Papers revealed that she bequeathed part of her fortune in 2017. She and her son Uhuru were unmasked as Client 13173 by the Pandora Papers. The report stated that the Kenyatta family had offshore investments including a company with assets worth at least $30 million.[15]


Jomo Kenyatta married four wives, Wahu Kenyatta, Edna Clarke, Grace Wanjiku, and Ngina Kenyatta. With Wahu, Kenyatta had Peter Muigai Kenyatta (1920-1979) and Margaret Rose Wambui (1928–2017). Edna's only child was Peter Magan Kenyatta. Grace passed away giving birth to her only child, Jane "Jeni" Gecaga (1950–).

Ngina's children include Kristina Wambui Pratt (1952–), Uhuru Kenyatta, Anna Nyokabi Muthama, and Muhoho Kenyatta. Uhuru Kenyatta unsuccessfully ran for president as President Moi's preferred successor in 2002 and is today Kenya's fourth President. Muhoho Kenyatta runs the family's vast business but lives out of the public limelight. During Jomo Kenyatta's exile at Lodwar and Maralal, Ngina stayed with him, as did their daughters, Jane and Wamboi.[16] Mama Ngina is step-mother to Kenyatta's other three children, two by his first wife and one by the second.[17]

Monsignor George Muhoho, Roman Catholic chaplain at University of Nairobi, is one of her brothers.[18]



  1. ^ Kenya Gazette. 1947. p. 306.
  2. ^ "Kenya's first first lady- Mama Ngina Kenyatta". The Standard. 27 May 2017.
  3. ^ "Why Mama Ngina met Mzee Moi". The Star Kenya. 23 January 2017. Mama Ngina was born Ngina Muhoho in 1933, daughter of Chief Muhoho wa Gathecha, in Kiambu District, Central Province.
  4. ^ a b Kiluva-Ndunda, Mutindi Mumbua (2001). Women's agency and educational policy: the experiences of the women of Kilome, Kenya. SUNY Press. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-7914-4761-1.
  5. ^ Murray, Martin J.; Myers, Garth Andrew (2007). Cities in contemporary Africa. Macmillan. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-4039-7035-0.
  6. ^ Kilbride, Philip; Suda, Collette; Njeru, Enos (September 2001). Street Children in Kenya: Voices of Children in Search of a Childhood. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-89789-862-1.
  7. ^ Proctor, Tammy M. (2009). Scouting for girls: a century of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. ABC-CLIO. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-313-38114-0.
  8. ^ Animal kingdom. New York Zoological Society. 1980.
  9. ^ Wieland, Terry (2004). A view from a tall hill: Robert Ruark in Africa. Down East Enterprise Inc. p. 411. ISBN 978-0-89272-650-9.
  10. ^ Munger, Edwin S. (1983). Touched by Africa. Castle Press. ISBN 978-0-934912-00-6.
  11. ^ Tinker, Jon (22 May 1975). "Who's killing Kenya's Jumbos". New Scientist: 452. ISSN 0262-4079.
  12. ^ Gibbon, Peter (1995). Markets, civil society and democracy in Kenya. Nordic Africa Institute. p. 135. ISBN 978-91-7106-371-7.
  13. ^ Tablino, Paolo (2006). Christianity among the nomads: the Catholic communities in Marsabit, Moyale and Samburu districts of Northern Kenya. volume II. Paulines Publications Africa. p. 37. ISBN 978-9966-08-120-9.
  14. ^ Meredith, Martin (26 June 2006). The fate of Africa: from the hopes of freedom to the heart of despair : a history of fifty years of independence. PublicAffairs. p. 267. ISBN 978-1-58648-398-2.
  15. ^ Olewe, Dickens; Adamou, Louise (4 October 2021). "Pandora Papers: Uhuru Kenyatta family's secret assets exposed by leak". BBC News.
  16. ^ Johnson Publishing Company (August 1961). "Ebony". Ebony. Johnson Publishing Company: 82. ISSN 0012-9011.
  17. ^ "Wife No. 3 Makes Kenyatta Father For 5th Time". Jet. 26 (12): 26. 1964. ISSN 0021-5996.
  18. ^ Gitari, David M.; Knighton, Ben (2009). Religion and politics in Kenya: essays in honor of a meddlesome priest. Macmillan. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-230-61487-1.
  19. ^ "Pandora Papers". International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Retrieved 3 October 2021.

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