Jacinta Mwatela had an exceptional career as a banker. She worked at the Central Bank of Kenya from 1977 and ultimately rose to the rank of Deputy Governor in May 2005. She also served at the Kenya Tourism Board as acting chief executive officer. Throughout her career, Mwatela has been vocal and uncompromising on issues to do with procedure and integrity. She and other CBK officials remained firm against attempts to loot public resources during the Goldenberg trial. She also provided evidence to the Parliamentary Committee on Finance and Public Administration during the investigation into the Grand Regency.
Mwatela served as acting CBK Governor during a case against Charterhouse Bank following investigations that uncovered massive tax evasion and money laundering by the bank. She asserted that Charterhouse ought to be closed and remained unwavering amidst pressure from powerful forces allied to the bank.
She was perceived as an inspiration to a group of three tough women in the bank’s top management of the bank who refused to compromise or be influenced by peddlers at the Central Bank and Treasury on matters of correct procedure. Mwatela retired from CBK and became actively involved in politics. She narrowly lost the gubernatorial seat in Taita-Taveta County in 2013.