Former Maendeleo Ya Wanawake chairperson Jane Kiano is dead.
The 74-year-old, passed away on Thursday night at the Nairobi Hospital.
“She battled bravely against lung cancer and we are very proud of her. She died at 10.30,” family representative Irungu Houghton said in a statement.
Kiano was the widow of Julius Gikonyo Kiano, former Cabinet minister.
She was Kenya’s first PhD holder’Born in Tumu Tumu, Nyeri, she trained as a teacher before switching to National women leadership.
She was the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization National Chairperson between 1971–1984. Later she served as National Council of Women of Kenya Chairperson (1999-2003).
“She also served as Alliance Francaise President (1982-2013) and was Nairobi City Commission Deputy Chairperson (1988–1992),” the family statement said.
More recently, she was a member of the Council of Eminent Persons of Murang’a and a founding Commissioner of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) between 2009-2013.
She was decorated for her service with Legion d’ Honneur du France in 2014, Freedom of the Nairobi City in 2006, Elder of the Burning Spear for being an outstanding Woman Leader among others.
On August 23, 2018, she received the First Class, Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear Award.
Different leaders mourned her passing and below are their messages
@WlliamsRutoCondolences to the family and friends of Jane Kiano, an exceptional leader. The former Maendeleo Ya Wanawake chairperson was a gallant campaigner of women’s rights and empowerment.
She was a proponent of gender equality, a strong voice for girls’ education and a prominent advocate of women’s mobilisation to build sustainable livelihoods and safeguard their welfare. Her indomitable spirit and energy transformed lives and gave hope to many. Rest In Peace.
@UKenyatta I am saddened with the news of passing on of former Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organisation chairperson, Ms. Jane Kiano. She played an important role in advancing women rights & justice in the country. Our thoughts & prayers are with her family & friends. May her soul Rest in Peace.
@MusaliaMudavadi Fare thee well Mama Jane Kiano. Through the Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation, you were a champion of the dignity and rights of the women of Kenya. Rest in peace Mama Jane.
@FirstLadyKenya Jane Kiano was mentor to many women and girls. It is my sincere hope that her cherished memories help temper the family’s grief. May the Almighty God give the family courage, comfort and grace to bear the loss at this difficult moment
@Railajunior Jane Mumbi Kiano will be remembered as a strong advocate for the rights of women and she served as a role model to them as well as cut the way for the current women leaders. We pray for her family at this difficult time. RIP Jane Kiano