Top women who made headlines in 2018 - Evewoman
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Top women who made headlines in 2018

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Well, as the year ends, we reminisce on women who set the tone of the year. It could be life-altering news, reaffirming, controversial, shocking while some stories taught us a lesson.

We prepared a list of people across the world and we hope you get the most important touch points of 2018 through the women below:  

MEGHAN MARKLE

The former Suits actress made international headlines when it was revealed in 2016 that she was seriously dating Prince Harry of Great Britain. The two met while Harry was attending the Invictus Games in Toronto, where Suits is filmed. So much has happened since then with Prince Harry and Meghan getting married. The royal wedding took place May 19, 2018, in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Meghan Markle embraced a new life, quitting acting and shutting down her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

On October 15, 2018, Markle and Prince Harry announced that they're expecting their first child. The Duchess of Sussex has managed to maintain her stylish looks despite the tight royal protocols. We are also noticing a definite glow from her already showing baby bump. Her mixed-race background, previous marriage, and, of course, status as an American citizen seemed to have been an issue to the people of Britain but she later won their acceptance with her charming and loving personality.

MICHELLE OBAMA

ALSO READ: Women make nearly half of the 2019 top 100 most influential people

Michelle Obama is an iron lady who keeps making headlines even after her exit as US first lady (The first African American to serve in this position). Being one of the most iconic and compelling woman of this era, Michelle’s life has been full of meaning and accomplishment. She has inspired women and girls in the U.S and around the world.

She launched her book this year- her memoir that takes us into the life of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same. The book is so surprisingly candid, richly emotional, and granularly detailed that it allows readers to feel exactly what Michelle herself felt at various moments in her life. 

She has also given U.S book tours to schools and media interviews that has let us see the other side of her. In her book she observes on the first page that asking children what they want to be when they grow up is a “useless” question, she adds, “As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” She urges everyone to become unapologetically themselves and if that isn’t in your New Year resolution bucket then I don’t know what is.

MELANIA TRUMP

She is the current First Lady of US, wife to US President Donald Trump with whom she has one childm Barron Trump. In her role as First Lady, Mrs. Trump focuses her time on the many issues affecting children. An unwavering characteristic of the First Lady is her aptitude for showing love and compassion in all that she does.

Mrs. Trump spends much of her time meeting with children who are patients at hospitals and care centers. She launched her “Be Best” initiative on May 7, 2018. Be best is a public awareness campaign focusing on well-being for youth, and advocating against cyberbullying and drug (particularly opioid) use. On October 1 this year, Melania began her first big solo international trip to Africa in which she made child well-being the focus of the five day tour. Her popularity seems to rise among Americans with members of her staff describing her as adorable unlike Trump whose ratings keep dwindling.

ETHIOPIAN WOMEN

Ethiopia women made history with year clinging some of the major leadership positions in the country for the first time.

Ms Sahle-Work: Ethiopian members of parliament elected Sahle-Work Zewde as the country's first female president. Her election came a week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a cabinet with half the posts taken up by women. After being sworn in, President Sahle-Work promised to work hard to make gender equality a reality in Ethiopia. President Sahle-Work has served as an ambassador for Ethiopia in Senegal and Djibouti. She has also held a number of UN positions, including head of peace-building in the Central African Republic (CAR). Immediately before becoming president, Ms Sahle-Work was the UN representative at the African Union.

Ms Meaza Ashenafi: Ethiopia's parliament appointed Ms Meaza Ashenafi the first woman president of the Supreme Court. Ms Ashenafi was nominated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ms Ashenafi, 54, served as a judge and more recently also worked as founder and board chairman of Enat Bank. The founder of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association is based in Addis Ababa, where she has been working at the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

After obtaining her first degree from the Addis Ababa University, Ms Ashenafi proceeded to the US, where she received her Master’s in international relations from Kent University, according to her biography.

SUDANESE GIRL

On October 2018, a picture of Nyalong Ngong Deng, a 17-year-old South Sudanese girl from the country’s Eastern lakes state, was posted on social media, Facebook, with the caption stating that five men were participating in the auction for her dowry. The highest bidder, a wealthy businessman, gave the girl’s father more than 500 cows, three luxury cars and $10,000 (R144, 000) as dowry and the girl’s marriage was subsequently held on November 3 as pictures of her in a white wedding gown were shared on several social media platforms.

Critics however condemned the deed and wondered how a teenager could be sold for marriage on a social media platform as women lawyers from South Sudan asked the government to investigate, describing the auction exercise as a form of commoditization of women.

SHARON OTIENO

The former Rongo University student made headlines this year after she was murdered and her tortured body found in a thicket. Sharon who was seven months pregnant at the time of her untimely death was found lying in her blood-stained white track suit, with her underwear and condoms around her.

She had been stabbed in the neck, back and abdomen and, according to the post-mortem, bled to death. Her unborn son was stabbed through the spine and the knife exited through the stomach. Her murder hit the media with a storm especially after it was found she had been a mistress to Migori Governor Okoth Obado. A DNA test report by a government analyst also confirmed that Mr. Obado was indeed the father of Sharon’s unborn baby.

Obado was arrested in relation but has since been released on bail as investigations continue. DPP Haji alleged that Obado was in an "intimate relationship" with Otieno which "subsequently led to a pregnancy with the deceased that the Governor was unhappy about." The murder of Sharon led to an uproar against ‘sponsors’ with many netizens urging young university ladies to focus on their studies. Sharon’s lavish lifestyle was revealed and how she boasted of big friends in high places. She dressed like a queen and often socialized in big hotels, as photos on her Facebook page revealed. In her frequent trips to Nairobi, she always flew from Kisumu International Airport.

Sharon has been laid to rest but the murder case is ongoing as the family hope that her killer(s) and that of her unborn baby will be brought to justice.

JACQUE MARIBE

This was probably the most challenging and toughest year TV girl Jacque Maribe has ever had. She is a murder suspect and was detained in jail for a month long. The Citizen TV journalist was arrested for the murder of Monica Kimani alongside his fiancé Joseph Irungu ‘Jowie’. Jacque not only had to deal with the possibility that his fiancé was a murderer but also that she might have helped him to cover the murder of the businesswoman Monica. In the arms of the law, Jacque had to undergo a mental evaluation and As much as Jacque was released from prison on bond, she still has a long way to get back her normal life as the murder case is still ongoing. His fiancé is also still in prison after he was denied bail by the court. Jacque is also yet to get back her TV life after she was barred by the court from reading news until the case is over, her car is also yet to be given to her as it is an evidence of the murder crime. Apart from the murder case, Jacque’s love life was also on scrutiny this year with Dennis Itumbi writing love poems to her while she was in prison and attending all her court hearings. Through all these turmoil Itumbi was always there for Jacque.  It is however not clear whether the two have a thing going on or if Jacque is still engaged to Jowie.

BETTY KYALLO

Betty Kyallo made major changes this year, from launching her new salon to quitting her news anchor job at KTN (Standard Media Group). Betty went all business this year opening the doors to her high-end spa Flair by Betty on April 14, 2018 at the FCB Mihrab building on Lenana Road. Her new business venture is reportedly doing great and offering a range of beauty-related services. The all-smiling diva joined K24 two weeks ago and is said to have quit Standard Group due to an irresistible package that she was offered. She has also been a victim of controversies from her short lived marriage to NTV anchor Dennis Okari. She has however maintained a happy self even after news hit the public that Dennis Okari had secretly tied the knot in a traditional wedding held in Ukambani. There has also been speculations that arise time and again about her relationship with Governor Joho. The two reportedly had a bitter end with Joho reclaiming the Porsche Cayenne he bought for Betty Kyalo while she was driving on Mombasa road.

THE NGIRITAS

Ms Lucy Ngirita, Ms Anne Ngirita and Ms Phyllis Ngirita are alleged to have been involved in an elaborate NYS scandal this year. The Ngiritas are among 35 individuals facing corruption charges of being part of a fraud ring that worked to beat the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) leading to loss of public funds. Prosecutor’s evidence shows that low-level NYS employees falsified entries to show that members of the Ngirita family from Naivasha supplied goods, and then allegedly pushed the claims to their superiors for approval. In total, the Ngiritas are believed to have received Sh918 million from the NYS II transactions. The three have been charged with conspiracy to commit corruption, fraudulent acquisition of public property and money laundering. But Lucy Ngirita is facing three counts of conspiracy to commit corruption. Among the three, Anne Ngirita has made more headlines this year. She caught the attention of Kenyans on social media after displaying a ‘Daddy Ngirita’ tattoo while in court. She lifted the sleeve of her left arm exposing her calligraphy tattoo. During a court session Mary also complained of starvation in Langata prison where she is being held.

RUTH KAMANDE (MISS LANGATA)

On July 2018, Justice Jessie Lessit sentenced Ruth Kamande to death after she was found guilty of murder. This beauty queen who stabbed her boyfriend Farid Mohammed to death in Buruburu in September 2015 was found guilty of murder by the court. In the ruling made by Justice Lesiit, Ruth acted out of malice despite claims that she did it out of self-defense. She added that Ruth Wanjiku Kamande deliberately stabbed Farid Mohammed 25 times. In 2016 Ruth beat 19 other candidates to be crowned Miss Langata Prison 2016. The beauty pageant was held to support the rehabilitation of female prisoners at the institution.

MONICA KIMANI

Slain Kilimani business woman Monica Kimani was found dead in a bathtub with her throat slit in one of the most prominent murder case this year. On the night she was murdered, Monica is said to have arrived from Juba to prepare for her 29th birthday and marriage plans. Joseph Kuria Irungu, alias Joe Jowi, was arrested and held in connection with her murder and is being held at Kamet Maximum Prison after being denied bail. TV Girl Jacque Maribe was also arrested in connection with the murder. She is alleged to have helped his fiancé cover up and clean after the murder. She was however received on bail awaiting trial.   Prior to her murder Monica is said to have chosen the venue and color theme, and had booked a flight to Dubai where she was to link up with Yasir. The beauty had within a short span accumulated significant riches and was planning to marry Sudanese fiancé, Yasir Mohammed. Her friends in Juba believe that Ms Kimani may have travelled to Kenya on Wednesday 19 with a large amount of money because Kenyan banks operating in Juba usually take time to clear each transaction.

PHILOMENA MWILU

Lady Justice Philomena Mwilu was arrested on August 28, 2018. She is facing a graft charge in court where she allegedly abused her office. The charges include using her office to receive Sh12 million from Imperial Bank. She allegedly did so without proper paperwork between August 15 and October 23, 2013. Judge Mwilu has opposed the charges, saying she is being “targeted” for her role in the determination of 2017 presidential election petition. The DCJ’s case was temporarily suspended pending the determination of her case in the High Court, there is no trial against her yet. The DPP Haji has appointed Queen's Counsel Khawar Qureshi to serve as a special prosecutor in Justice Mwilu's trial. However, Justice Mwilu says the appointment of the UK-based lawyer should be declared null and void. She argues that the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. Noordin Haji, and Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki, unlawfully appointed a foreign lawyer to represent the State in a Kenyan court.

MARY KILOBI

The KTN news anchor formalized her union to COTU Boss Francis Atwoli this year on August in a traditional wedding. Kilobi is now Atwoli’s second wife and according to her, she has no problem being part of a polygamous family. Despite the public rumors that she is after Atwoli’s money, Mary has insisted that she married Atwoli out of love and money was just an added advantage. Her first encounter with Atwoli was way back in 2005, when she was at Makerere University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature and Kiswahili. She was an intern at Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) in Kampala at the time, where the union boss had come for an interview. Six years later, when she returned to Kenya, Kilobi and Atwoli opened lines of communication and the COTU boss instantly expressed his undying love for her. She describes the COTU boss as a responsible man who comes home straight from work. The couple lives at their IIbisil home in Kajiado after Atwoli finally won her heart in 2016. Kilobi further confessed that she prefers dating older men as the last young person she was in a relationship with was her biggest regret in life.

Women who were allegedly seduced by Wazir Chacha

Wazir Chacha aka Benson Masubo Chacha was not famous until Valentine’s Day this year. Wazir Chacha aka Benson Masubo Chacha first made headiness after releasing intimate photos with former Bomet Woman Representative Dr. Cecilia Ng’etich.

Chacha, in a chain of text messages to six female MPs either asking for money or seeking intimate relationships. Former nominated Jubilee senator Joy Adhiambo Gwendo was among Chacha’s initial targets.

The 25-year-old former employee of the ministry of Devolution grabbed attention of Kenyans when he released intimate photos of him with former Bomet Woman Representive Dr. Cecilia Ng’etich, claiming she had used and dumped him. Ng’etich denied having had any romantic relationship with Chacha.

Pretending to be a sick Sabina Chege (Murang’a Woman Rep), Chacha fooled honorable members, including Speaker Justin Muturi who sent him Sh300,000. Other victims included Cabinet secretaries Peter Munya, Eugene Wamalwa, Margaret Kobia and Sicily Kariuki.

In yet another attempt to seduce nominated senator Falhada Dekow Iman on February 4, Chacha expressed his feelings in a text message. He did not receive much attention after referring to the lawmaker as his crush.  He then tried to lure former Taita Taveta Woman Representative, Joyce Lay but was unsuccessful. Mteja hakupatikana!

Another conversation between him and a politician he identifies as Kandara legislator Alice Wahome in October 2017 turned nasty and he was yet unsuccessful.

He was arrested April 2018 and detained at the Muthaiga police station in his hideout in Tarime, Tanzania.

Chacha had been hiding in Tanzania before his arrest waiting for his documents before he could move to Zanzibar where he had rented a house for a year.

 

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke

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