My name is Maryann Njambi, from a little known village-Tayari Farm, in Molo ward, Molo Constituency, Nakuru County. It is located next to the Mau forest in the Rift valley Region. I am a last born in a family of five and the only girl. I was raised a Presbyterian but I joined a church whose roots are in the Baptist faith when I was in the university.
I was born to civil servants who earned a modest income. Unfortunately, my mother and father were not always in good terms. This resulted into my mother being the sole breadwinner. Life was tough. Nonetheless, we weathered the storm, my mother managed to send my brothers and I to boarding schools, where we received a decent education. I studied in a school that was run by nuns. I was in boarding school from class five, until I finished my secondary education. It is here that I learnt how to be confident, independent, self-reliant and headstrong . I also learnt integrity, discipline, honesty and how to be a woman of faith. I was both the Chair-lady drama club and a class Monitor in secondary school. I did not know then, but now I realize how much the boarding life contributed into shaping me to be the person I am today.
I did well in school and managed to join Kenyatta University for a Bachelors of Commerce degree. In university, I also managed to pursue my acting career, by joining one of the travelling theaters. I performed classical plays, narratives and poems. How I ended up in politics still remains a mystery to me. I actually thought I had a career in choreography or acting, I guess we will never know. Politics started with me as a chief campaigner for several students in campus, until I realized that I wanted to be the change that I wanted to see. I got tired of waiting for someone to make it happen. Many before me would sell good manifestos but did not deliver most of their promises. I wanted to change that, and so I decided to run for a seat myself.
At first, I chose the deputy treasurer position until my mentors urged me otherwise. Together, we settled for the most powerful position in the student association-Secretary General. This was a big decision that meant had work. I finally secured the seat but not before losing ten Kilograms. There I was, the second female Secretary General of Kenyatta University where I served for 14 months. It is in my tenure that we ended the corruption by student leaders at the student center facility and school tuck shops. We managed to redistribute the tuck shops to associations like persons with disability (PWDs), religious groups, as opposed to individuals. This coupled with the review of the student association’s constitution were key milestones in my student leadership career. In addition, I served as a member of the University Council for fourteen months as the representative of student affairs.
My life took a rather interesting turn as I neared the end of my campus life; I turned to hawking movies in the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD). Do not get me wrong, hawking in the Nairobi CBD is quite a lucrative venture. On Fridays and Saturdays, we would make in excess of KShs fifteen thousand. This allowed me an easy transition from the University to the outside world.
I ran several other business ventures; mainly selling clothes, up until 2007/2008 during the post-election violence, where the country’s purchasing power fell to an all-time low and so did my sales. I decided it was time to go back to school. I gathered all my savings and paid for Chartered Institute of Marketing, a United Kingdom accredited paper. In May 2010, I was lucky to get a job at Nielsen Company where I worked until 2016 December.
To summarize my key achievements; I am a co-founder and Director at Sauti Ya Jamii Programme, an International NGO that spearheads youth and women empowerment in Kenya. I am also a trade expert in Sub Sahara Africa (SSA).
I hold a Bachelors of Commerce degree-Marketing, a diploma in Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) UK and I am currently pursuing a Masters degree in International Studies at the University of Nairobi.
I have a wealth of experience in the Research and Marketing fields from my Client Engagement & Sales roles at Nielsen; working with both multinationals and local companies such as Coca Cola, GSK, Unilever, Bidco and Kenafric to name a few, in East, Central and West Africa.
I have held many leadership positions in the political field. I served as a Committee member of the University Youth Chapter in Ford Kenya which was my first political party. What attracted me to Ford Kenya were its strong values and a solid party structure. This was also the political party founded by the late Mzee Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenya’s true patriot. Later on, I joined Chama Cha Uzalendo (CCU) which was headed by another founder member of (Forum For Restoration of Democracy) FORD and a pioneer in the second liberation movement, Honourable Gitobu Imanyara. Here, I served as the Deputy Treasurer charged with ensuring that the Party books of accounts were up to date. Currently, I am the National Coordinator of women Affairs at the Kenya African National Union (KANU), the party of independence in Kenya.
I have been involved in a lot of community work as an individual and through the Sauti ya Jamii Programme. In 2008 with members of Mamlaka Hill chapel’s youth, I helped mobilize and raise funds to put up six houses for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Mai Mahiu. Together with my fellowship group, we were involved in radical ministry in the Mathare slums of Nairobi.
I am also passionate about addressing the issues and concerns facing the boy child in Kenya today. Towards this end, I have organized mentorship programs for young men in different fields. Additionally, I have helped young men to find jobs across various institutions for example, Parapet cleaning agency.
In 2013, I partnered with the Zeitzs foundation to mobilize well-wishers to raise funds and build a classroom for the children of Sukutan community in Samburu County, who previously studied under a tree. I also partner with the Child Protection Network (CPN), the umbrella body that oversees all homes that support and house orphaned and vulnerable children in Molo Sub-county.
Sauti ya Jamii Programme in one of its flagship project known as “Raising the flag” partnered with the East African Community (EAC) in raising the EAC flag and setting up EAC clubs in secondary schools in Kenya; an initiative aimed at educating and sensitizing the school going children on the importance and benefits of the East Africa integration.
It is this passion, love for the community and a strong belief in transformative leadership that drove me to my decision to run for the Member of Parliament seat for Molo constituency in 2017, where I came third. My faith in possibilities is the key to my dream.
My desire is to see transformation in my country’s leadership and its people and specifically; reconstruction of the political culture and realization of economic freedom.
I want to see the dignity of the people restored, where every man can afford a pair of shorts to cover his son’s backside, a roof to shelter his family, a decent education for his children, food on the table and a good health provider. I want to see a Kenya where every girl and woman will not have to fight for their constitutional rights but enjoy them instead, where women will have adequate representation at the decision making table and where a young man will not be afraid to marry his childhood sweetheart because he is afraid that he will not afford to take care of her. I want a Kenya where children are reminded that it is okay to queue and wait their turn, free from corruption, a country where cultural diversity is a beautiful mosaic to behold.
I believe that without a doubt I have a role to play in this transformation and like Isaiah in the Bible, my hand is up and my tongue says, “Here I am, send me!”