Nyiva Mwendwa

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Winfred Nyiva Mwendwa is a Kenyan politician. She was the first Kenyan woman to serve as a cabinet minister.

She was educated at Alliance Girls High School.[1] She was elected for the post of Kitui West Constituency MP three times, in 1974 and 1992 representing KANU and in 2002 representing NARC.[2] At the 2007 elections she contested the seat on the ODM-Kenya ticket, but lost to Charles Mutisya Nyamai.[3]

Mwendwa was appointed the Minister for Culture and Social Services on May 9, 1995, becoming the first female minister in Kenya.[4]

She caused a national disfavour in 1995 when she travelled to women’s conference in Beijing in 1995 and took a hairdresser as a part of her delegation. Mwendwa herself defended the decision by stating that being a delegation leader, she must take care of her appearance.[5]

Her husband Kitili Maluki Mwendwa was Kenyan chief justice and politician. Kitili Mwendwa died in a traffic accident in 1985. He was at the time the Kitui West MP, his seat was taken at the subsequent by-election by his brother Kyale Mwendwa. His other brother, Eliud Ngala Mwendwa is also a former Kenyan minister.[6]

She lives in Matinyani village in Kitui District. Nyiva Mwendwa has two children, Kavinya and Maluki.[5]


  1. ^ "Alliance Girls High School: Historical Perspectives". Alliancegirlshigh.com. 1948-02-28. Retrieved 2011-08-09. 
  2. ^ Center for Multiparty Democracy: Politics and Parliamentarians in Kenya 1944–2007
  3. ^ Parliamentary election results 2007 - Kitui West
  4. ^ The Power of the Media - A Handbook for Peacebuilders: Kenya - Gender and Conflict Media Projects Edited by Ross Howard, Francis Rolt, Hans van de Veen and Juliette Verhoeven
  5. ^ a b The Standard, October 23, 2008: Nyiva Mwendwa: Never give in to despair
  6. ^ David Throup & Charles Hornsby: Multi-party Politics in Kenya James Currey Publishers, 1998 ISBN 0-85255-804-X