President Uhuru Kenyatta has mourned veteran politician and fashion icon Mary Orie Rogo Manduli as a woman of many firsts and trailblazer who fought tirelessly for women empowerment.
Ms Orie Rogo Manduli, 73, passed away on Wednesday evening at her Nairobi home.
“It is sad and unfortunate that death has taken away Mama Orie Rogo Manduli, one of our country’s most recognizable, highly charismatic and accomplished politicians. A bold leader and mentor, Ms Manduli tirelessly championed for women empowerment,” the President mourned.
In the message of condolence to the family, friends and relatives of Ms Manduli, the President said the late was a fearless, bold and practical leader who always spoke her mind.
He recalled the late Manduli’s exploits as a sports woman and model saying Kenyans will forever cherish her achievement as the first African woman Safari Rally driver, a feat she achieved when she took part in the 1974 edition alongside her late co-driver Sylvia Omino.
“The late Orie Rogo Manduli was a woman of many firsts who never shied away from exploring new horizons. She took up and excelled in motorsports at a time when many African women would never have dared thereby opening up the sport to women drivers in later years.
“At the tender age of 16 years, while still in secondary school, Ms Manduli won Miss Kenya beauty pageant. She was simply a phenomenal and standout woman trailblazer,” the President said.
On her signature attire and head gear, the Head of State said the departed Orie Rogo Manduli fully embraced the African culture and was a recognized fashion icon and trendsetter.
“Mama Orie Rogo Manduli was a fashion icon whose trademark African print attire and prominent head gear made her one of Africa’s most recognizable personalities,” the President recalled.
The Head of State wished Ms Orie Rogo Manduli’s family God’s grace, fortitude and comfort as they come to terms with her sudden death.