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HomebioEsther Passaris Biography: Background, Education, Political Career, Controversy, And Polygamous Marriage

Esther Passaris Biography: Background, Education, Political Career, Controversy, And Polygamous Marriage

Esther Passaris is touted by many as one of the most exquisite female politicians in Kenya. She is the current women representative of Nairobi County under the ODM party, serving her second term.

Her life journey has been as tumultuous as her personality. From being a secretary to a model to a successful entrepreneur, this is her journey as told by WoK:

Background

Esther Passaris Passaris was born in October 1964 at the coastal city of Mombasa. She is the second born of a Dutch-Kikuyu mother and a Greek father.

Her father, a naval architect, is credited for building the first ship in Kenya – the MV Mwewe.

For her primary and secondary education, Passaris attended the Agha Khan academies, where she completed her O levels before proceeding to the University of Nairobi to pursue a Bachelor in Law degree.

She later enrolled for a diploma in law at London University and a BSC in International Business Administration from USIU, Nairobi.

Her initial ambition was to pursue a course in hotel management, but her parents could not afford the college fees.

Career

After high school, Passaris was employed as a secretary at a Mombasa-based company for a year. Her next job was in the hospitality sector, working as a guest relations manager and later as a marketing officer at Nyali Beach Hotel in Mombasa.

After working in the hotel for a while, Passaris dived into the modeling industry. “I loved modeling because I would be allowed to retain the clothes I used to model,” she told Citizen TV in an interview.

In 1991, she made headlines after clinching the second position as Miss Kenya finalist. She quit her modeling career to start her own business in 2002. It was during that time that her company, Adopt-a-Light Ltd, was founded.

The company started as a printing business before expanding to an advertising agency. Currently, the company installs quality street lights in Nairobi in exchange for advertising rights on the lamp posts.

She also owns another company, dubbed ‘One in a Million’. After her business success, Passaris dived into the world of politics. Her first try on elective politics was after the death of Embakasi MP Mugabe Were in 2008.

However, she lost the by-elective seat to former Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu. In 2017, she was elected as Nairobi County women’s representative and retained the seat in 2022.

Controversy

Passaris is a constant headline-maker, often for the wrong reasons. Her recent controversy involved falling out with her ODM party. Earlier this year, she refused to participate in Azimio’s anti-government protests, citing health complications.

She also caused a stir by voting for the controversial 2023 finance bill and defending the housing levy – against her party’s policies.

Her decisions were termed as disloyalty to her Azimio party, leading to her near expulsion. According to Daily Nation, she was saved by party leader Raila Odinga and got away with a fine of sh 250 000 and a demand for an apology.

In the past, Passaris has been involved in bitter online exchanges with blogger Robert Alai. Her most popular scandal was when former Raila diehard Miguna Miguna accused her of immorality on live TV.

Family

According to online sources, Passaris is married to businessman Pius Ngugi, who owns Kenya Nuts Company and is the proprietor of Thika Coffee Mills.

Ever vocal, Passaris recently admitted to being in a polygamous marriage.

In an interview with Standard, she narrated how she found out about her co-wife when she walked into a restaurant and found her husband on a date with another woman in 2017.

Back at home, she confronted her husband and he admitted to having another family. However, she said that she holds no grudge against her co–wife. Every time she travels outside the country, she buys gifts for her and her stepchildren.

She said: “Ashazaa huko nje, are you going to let the other women’s children suffer? I fight for all women; I fight for all children, okay? Even if it is my husband with another woman out there! At the end of the day, ni mtoto wa bwanangu, ni ndugu ya watoto wangu.”

Salary

As a woman representative, Passaris earns an average gross monthly salary of Ksh 710 000. Her hobbies include writing, reading motivational books, and listening to classic music.