Winfred Nyiva Mwendwa is among the country’s veteran politicians.
Born and raised in Kitui, Mwendwa was married to Kitili Maluki Mwendwa who served as Kenya’s first black Chief Justice.
However, her husband died in a tragic road accident in 1985.
She is a mother of two and lives at Matinyani village in Kitui West, Kitui County.
The former Kitui Woman Representative was the first woman to serve as a Cabinet Minister during retired President Daniel Arap Moi’s reign.
She was appointed as the Minister for Culture and Social Services in May 1995.
Before her appointment as minister, Mwendwa a close ally of Moi, contested for the Kitui West parliamentary seat in 1974, 1992 and 2002 and won on a KANU ticket.
She, however, lost the seat in the 2007 general election to Charles Mutisya Nyamai.
Mwendwa, alumni of Alliance Girls High school vied for the Kitui Woman Representative seat in 2013 and won on a Wiper party ticket.
In 1995, Nyiva Mwendwa caused a national uproar when she travelled to a women’s conference in Beijing, China alongside her hairdresser as part of her delegation.
She defended the decision, noting that as a delegation leader, she needed to look presentable.
In 2016, Nyiva announced her decision to quit active politics after 40 years of service to Kitui west people and Kenyans.
Nyiva Mwendwa is now among veteran Kamba politicians whose influence will play a key part in the Ukambani 2022 politics.