Meet Roseline Kathure Njogu, the 39 year old Harvard Law graduate in whose hands Diaspora Kenyans hopes lie
Ms. Roseline Njogu, who made history on 3rd of December 2022 for becoming the first ever Kenyan Principal Secretary for Diaspora Affairs is as charismatic and as well read as they come.
But who really is Rosaline Kathure Njogu?
Born in Kitale in 1984, Roseline grew up as the youngest of five children. Her father worked for the Prisons Service and this saw them move from one town to another. Her mother was a teacher.
A former Lecturer at Riara University Law School and Kenyatta University, Ms Njogu is a PhD Candidate and holds a Master of Laws degree (LLM) from Harvard Law School, and a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) from the University of Nairobi.
“I am honored to have been appointed by the President of the Republic of Kenya as the first-ever Principal Secretary for Diaspora Affairs. Today I took the oath of office, and I look forward to serving Kenyans in the Diaspora,” she said soon after she was sworn in at State House Nairobi.
Roseline has wide experience advising corporations, both as a lawyer, as well as a management consultant. Having worked with Dalberg Global Development Advisors, she brings a wealth of experience and skill in advising corporations, state governments, and multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and UN, on matters of international development, and investment in developing countries.
She also trained in accounting (CPA) at Strathmore University. An expert in antitrust and Islamic Finance, she is the author of Commercial Bank of God? Islamic Banking and Law and Religion in Kenya (Lambert, 2013), among other publications.
She also serves on the advisory board of the South African Journal on Policy and Development (SAJPD) where she advises on articles on international investment and finance. Besides her Islamic Finance book, Roseline has published journal articles, and contributes to legal debates through speaking at international conferences and penning opinion editorials in the dailies.
Due to the nature of her father’s job, she was forced to change schools often before her parents finally decided to take her to boarding school when she was only nine.
“My parents valued education and they strived to see to it that each of us was in school. All of us went to national high schools. Besides that, they were strict disciplinarians,” she said in a recent interview with a local media house.
She left the country in 2008 to pursue her Masters of Law from Harvard Law School in the US. According to her, getting accepted into the programme came as a big surprise.
“Earlier on, I had applied to several institutions, Harvard being one of them. However, I only sent the Harvard application and ignored the others. I am one of those people who have idiotic faith. If I believe in something, no matter how ridiculous it sounds, I will still go for it,” she says.
Studying at Harvard, Roseline says, was the best experience ever despite the challenges.
“The class work was difficult such that I thought I was not going to make it. I was sitting in class with judges from different countries and I wondered how I got there and how I would make it,” she says.
“It was a very steep learning curve. There was also the culture shock. But I am grateful to friends who helped me fit in,” she adds.
Roseline returned to Kenya in 2009 and secured a job at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, where her role entailed advising state governments, multilateral organisations such as the United Nations and World Bank and private players on matters of international development such as access to health, access to finance and agriculture.
“It proved to be a great job, but I was unhappy. I was a lawyer trying to fit into management hence, I felt it was not working for me,” she says.
She decided to quit. Around this time, one of her professors from UoN approached her and told her he was a running a legal project, which he wanted her to manage. And that is how she found herself in academia.
“It was very clear that is the path I wanted to follow,” she says, explaining that she taught at KU after that.
While lecturing at KU, Roseline got a call from Prof Sylvia Kang’ara who is the founding Dean of Riara University Law School. She says it set the ball rolling for greater things.
“We met and had a long friendly conversation. We shared our experiences as lecturers and what we could do to offer a solution to the ailing legal education system in the country. We wanted to set up a unique institution that would produce graduates who would leave a positive mark in the country. And that is how Riara Law School was born,” she says.
She joined Riara in August 2012 and says she has found a home. She has no plans to stop lecturing anytime soon.
“It’s been fun and fulfilling. At every stage in my life, I have ended up having a teacher who has been influential. It was no surprise I became a teacher. Our first students of Law will be graduating in 2016. We all look forward to that day because they will be our first fruits,” she told a local Daily.
In November 2022, President William Ruto has nominated 51 candidates for the position of Principal Secretary (PS) in various State Departments, and among them was Ms Njogu.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) forwarded him 250 names after interviews, which President Ruto narrowed down to 51.