Just a year after the current regime took over the instruments of power, a majority of Kenyans are experiencing economic pressure resulting from a battered economy, extreme weather conditions as well as a stretched shilling against the dollar.
In the eye of the despair, however, a number of Kenyans, 100 to be exact, stood out by influencing change in their sectors. They ranged from climate change warriors to multiple record-breaking athletes and next-door hard workers who pushed the needle forward in noble professions such as teaching and nursing.
Since the inaugural ranking of the Top 100 Kenyans list in 2017, Kenyans.co.ke has endeavored to honour the community of leaders who inspire change yearly. This year, Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki proved that the war against bandits that have, for decades, displaced thousands of Kenyans can be a strategic and winnable affair.
Second Lady Rigathi Gachagua, who led a trailblazing class of 36 women on the list, has stood out as a motherly figure with the vigor of helping the boy child reclaim his power in subduing substance abuse while promoting the creation of a healthy working nation. A much-needed push.
Top 100 Kenyans
Athlete Faith Kipyegon, a gem in her own right, achieved the rare feat of breaking two world records in the same week and helped unlock a funding programme from the government, the kind that athletes had longed for decades. It was through her performance on the world stage that President William Ruto promised to reward future record-breaking athletes with a cash prize of Ksh5 million.
Lulu Hassan a beloved face on Citizen TV, has emerged as an important voice of her generation not just in the news business but also in the scripted shows industry where her series tackle societal issues while employing talented individuals. Adelle Onyango, another standalone voice, helps amplify the stories of the underprivileged through her Legally Clueless podcast which has attracted an international audience and accorded her access to rooms where she stands toe-to-toe with world leaders.
After enduring a four-decade drought, more than half of the counties in Kenya found themselves battling floods. As a result, the Kenyans.co.ke team combed through the murky waters to highlight individuals working to make a difference for the thousands that were affected.
Wanjira Mathai has continued carrying on her mother Wangari Mathai’s legacy by championing causes aimed at reversing the effects of climate change. This year, she was part of a team that received part of Ksh3.3 billion from Billionaire Jeff Bezos for carbon sequestration (storing carbon in a carbon pool), biodiversity, and human well-being in the Rift Valley.
Elizabeth Wathuti, an equally beloved environmental activist, has been honoured globally including in this year’s Time 100 Most Influential People globally but she refuses to let success derail her environmental goal. She has led protests in Germany and attracted the attention of the leader of the free world, Joe Biden.
So, How Was Top 100 Kenyans 2023 Compiled?
Spearheaded by the project’s lead Edwin Kuria, a team of at least six individuals controlled the project that included the input of Kenyans.co.ke’s workforce, with the initial list of nominees topping above 400 potential candidates.
“This year proved remarkably difficult during the vetting process as we had so many exceptional Kenyans who displayed a myriad of innovative ways which were not only transformational and impactful but showed evidence of attaining sustainable solutions,” Kuria remarked.
Through parameters that measured an individual’s impact to society, whether local or abroad, the number of nominees progressively narrowed to less than 150 over the last few months before resulting in a lean least of just 100 (who are not ranked).
In the latest list, politicians (who made the least number of entries) appeared alongside teachers, power brokers, climate change activists, captains of industry, doctors as well as scientists.
“It has been greatly fulfilling to see several new entrants into the list and especially in categories such as community development that we don’t often get to hear or read about. I Love that about the Kenyan spirit,” he added.
Kenyans on the list were recognised for invention and innovation, championing equality or using a platform to inspire others and making their vision, both for the present and the distant future, apparent.
Here is a list of Top 100 Kenyans 2023 as compiled by Kenyans.co.ke: