Ms.Cathy Irungu is a 34 years old Kenyan from Nyeri County.
Cathy is a entrepreneur, NGO director and very articulate politician on national and regional politics. She is also a mother to two young children and a staunch catholic.
Cathy, just like many other young and progressive women in the world finds time to juggle between politics,family,religion, community work. Amidst all this, she still finds time for personal development.
She reckons it is not an easy task, but says it requires,commitment,hard work,selflessness,,impartiality ,proper planning and moderation.
Despite graduating from university, with an MBA in Entrepreneurship and a BSC in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, she didn’t look for employment like most of her peers but curved her own path as a politician,Entrepreneur and problem solver.
Many didn’t agree with her choice of career. Initially,her parents didn’t approve of her decision but later become her frontline supporters,encouragers and prayer partners.
She has also had several advisors,mentors and managers, however states that in politics one needs to keep a very lean list of trusted friends.
As Cathy was growing up in the village of Ndimaini,Mathira constituency she observed a lot of problems related to environmental degradation which resulted to climate change and ultimately regular drought,famine and general poor production in the farms.She therefore started an Non Governmental Organization(NGO) called African Food Security and Environmental Programme(AFSEP).Through the NGO Cathy has been mobilizing and working with communities in Nyeri County .She has for the last seven(7) years spearheaded activities such as :tree planting,building of community bridges,donation of seeds and seedlings and massive civic education on natural resources management. Organic farming ,adaptation to climate change,Voter education through friends and partners who include: International Commission of Jurists(ICJ),African Aid Managers(ADM),Development Practitioners(DEVPRAC),Mwai Kibaki Institute among others.
It is through these interactions with the communities that she discovered that there are policy gaps that needed to be addressed so as to solve most of the challenges mentioned above.
In 2010 she joined others in campaigning for the Kenyan constitution which was passed through a referendum resulting in enormous opportunities for the Youth,Women,marginalized groups and the country in general.
She also saw an opportunity for her entry into elective politics.
Cathy is a member of the following professional organizations:
- Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- National Institute of Science and Technology
- JKUAT union of Biochemists
- Mwai Kibaki Institute
Cathy’s leadership journey started at a tender age .She would lead others in early years and during her university years when she would get elected into the student’s council.She played an instrumental role in the Mwai Kibaki re-election campaigns in 2007 as part of the ‘VIJANA NA KIBAKI’.
In the year 2008,she joined a few others to form the Grand National Union Party of Kenya(GNU) .
Cathy made a decision to run for office in 2011 and declared her interest in the Nyeri County Women Representative seat.Although she had founded a political party,as soon as she made her intentions known, the party didn’t support her leading her to look for an alternative. Cathy then joined The National Alliance(TNA). As a pioneer ,she actually invested heavily in building the party at the county level and solely funded numerous activities.She would later participate in the party primaries but lost .
Her determination saw her join another party to enable her proceed with the campaign and get to the ballot.She therefore joined the late Professor Wangari Mathaai’s party(Mazingira Party) she however didn’t clinch the seat .
In 2016 Cathy started preparing for the 2017 general election and this time she ran for the Mathira parliamentary seat.This being her second attempt she was more experienced,knowledgeable and had created expansive networks.This,she thought would guarantee her a win in that contest .It however didn’t work out as she had intended,the party primaries were marred with open rigging,voter bribery and intimidation by various authorities.She had participated in the Jubilee party primaries.
Her journey has been filled with hard work,tireless service to the community,learning of critical political lessons that she could not have learnt anywhere else.Some of her experiences have been painful,she however has not given up or lost determination.
Cathy reckons that it takes serious courage and determination to run for political office as a young female.Her political journey has been very challenging and in both contests she attributes the loss to unfair competition,gender based violence,insecurity,limited financial capacity,rural poverty,illiteracy,sectionalism,tribal politics.
For her to win the upcoming election Cathy needs thorough preparation,training ,continuous community mobilization,community programs and resource mobilization.