Rotarians in Nakuru on Tuesday joined Nakuru-based philanthropist and Rotary Club of Nakuru President Rani Ramchandani in marking her 43rd Birthday in a special way with the vulnerable children who reside at Gioto Dump site in Nakuru West.
It was all songs and dance as the Rotarians interacted interacted with the kids before sharing birthday cake with them as well as donating food stuff (juice, biscuits, buns and sweets) and stationery to the children.
During the event, the Rotarians made a donation of sanitary pads to the girls of reproductive age in the area that has majority living in dilapidated structures and a visit by well-wishers to them is a blessing.
In an interview with this writer, Rani noted that she chose to celebrate her this year’s birthday with the vulnerable as a way of showing love to them during this harsh economic times.
“This time round I chose to celebrate my birthday with the vulnerable kids from this area just to have fun and put a smile on their face” said Rani.
Rani who is also the current President Rotary Club of Nakuru was born in the year 1978 in India.
20 years ago, she came to Kenya and now is married to a businessman from Kenya in Nakuru and blessed with 3 children.
Rani, at first faced a problem of harsh community but people who surrounded her helped a lot in order for her to understand even Kiswahili language which is the common language used by natives.
It is during her stay in Nakuru that she noticed poverty undermining many people and this marked the start of her charity work dubbed ‘Helping Hands’.
“This initiative had an aim of ensuring transformed lives in the community” she said.
Gioto dumpsite is one of places which has been transformed through the initiative with several girls also empowered through advices and support.
WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED!
Rotary Club of Nakuru has been focusing on thematic areas such as Peace and Conflict prevention/resolution, Disease prevention and treatmen, Water and sanitation,maternal and child health, basic education and literac, Economic and community development.
It is in line with the above that the club has been able to achieve more.
Up to now 2570 wheelchairs have been given to different people in 18 counties 38 subs location besides launch of smart stick in Nakuru for the blind.
A total of 40 schools have benefited with hand washing stations.
The program has also seen 7000 food hampers distributed so far, 1500 Blankets, 8500 sanitary pads donated too,7000 facemasks and sanitizers done as well as 11000 books donations.
It is also through the initiative that more than 18 children homes and Old age home in Nakuru have been assisted.
In addition, more than 13 PWDs have also been supported through their businesses for economic empowerment.
Rani has also assisted young mothers from sustainable program with 21 girls already educated under the same.
“When you empower girls and women you are empowering the society and that is why I chose to assist the young mothers” stated Rani.
She says hers is to see a transformed society where everyone feels loved.
David Kipkemoi Kones is the Nakuru County Deputy Governor under H.E Governor Susan Kihika. The soft-spoken and amiable Deputy Governor is a career teacher, pastor and farmer. He lives in Irongo village in Kiptagich Ward, Kuresoi South Constituency.
Apart from serving the community as a teacher and pastor, the third Nakuru County Deputy Governor is a farmer doing dairy and agro-forestry. He grows tea, avocados and bluegum trees at his farm in Kuresoi.
H.E Deputy Governor David Kones holds a Degree in Education (Mathematics and Geography) and has served in various ranks as a teacher. He rose from being a classroom teacher to head of department before becoming a Deputy Principal and finally a full high school Principal. His last station as a teacher was at Ogiek Sotiki Secondary school. A school he says he started the school from scratch.
In 2018, David Kones was elected the chairman of the Kuresoi South Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KSSHA). He held the post until 2020. He is also a governing member of the Nakuru County KSSHA. His achievements in the education sector saw him elected the chairman of the Cheptuech Vocational Training Center (VTC) from 2015 to 2018.
DG David Kones is also an entrepreneur. His dream of imparting quality education to the young ones of Kuresoi saw him start a private primary school in his home area. He says the school has had a great impact on society and has consistently posted good results in the national exams.
The relatively hitherto unknown David Kones was nominated the running mate to Hon. Susan Kihika on 16th May 2022 at an event attended by most of the senior Nakuru County leaders. With his nomination, out of a crowded race of 16 who were eyeing the seat, Mr Kones embarked on the campaigns to win the gubernatorial seat. The dream came true on 12th august 2022 when Governor Susan Kihika was declared the Gubernatorial winner at Nakuru High School.
At his nomination, Governor Susan Kihika described him as a great community mobilizer and educator
”Today I unveiled David Kones as my running mate for the gubernatorial seat in the upcoming August elections.
David Kones holds a bachelor’s degree in Education and is a highly trained conflict resolution expert. He is a great community mobilizer and educator from Kiptagich Ward in Kuresoi South.
Congratulations David Kones for being the UDA Deputy Governor Nominee!
By incorporating his educational background and conflict resolution, we will have formidable leadership in the county. Our Early Childhood Development Education in the whole county is wanting and the incorporation of a man who has a background in education will bring solutions to this sector that forms a strong foundation for our children,” said the Governor about the nominee.
Senator Susan Kihika is arguably the most discussed politician in Nakuru County currently. Be it at marketplaces, matatus, boardrooms or anywhere else two all three gather, Susan Kihika is a common topic of discussion.
It is not only along the streets that she is a topic. On the online platforms, Susan Kihika is a popular topic within and even beyond Nakuru. Ever since she entered the Nakuru political scene 10 years ago as the Nakuru County Assembly speaker, acres of virtual space has been devoted to her.
Susan Kihika is an enigma to many. Her detractors have spent sleepless nights plotting and scheming against her but she always comes out strong. As a strong contender for the Nakuru gubernatorial seat, she is never far away from the minds of her opponents. The numerous smear campaigns sponsored by her political rivals both online and offline are proof of just how much they tread in fear of her.
Never the one to shy away from controversy, the courageous Susan Kihika is never afraid of facing her detractors head-on and she speaks her mind without sugar-coating the truth. Not many of her opponents cherish the prospect of being on the receiving end when she decides to serve them a dose of truth and they have invested a lot in trying to paint Susan as a monster.
But those who know Susan admit that she’s a charming, jovial and easy-going lady who freely mingles with the people, speaking their language and seeking to understand each and every one. Admittedly, her greatest quality is being able to empathize with everyone she interacts with.
Susan is also generous to a fault as hundreds of residents will admit. On a day to day basis, she’s responding to numerous requests for assistance from even total strangers. From her own pocket, it is no secret that she gives out to numerous cases of charity.
But behind the charming smile lies a sharp brain. The frontrunner in the gubernatorial seat is quick to logically analyse issues and situations and respond effectively. If need be, she will take time to ponder the matter before taking action.
However, one single trait that sets Susan Kihika apart from her main opponents is her consultative nature. She is a strong believer in the fact that no one single person has a monopoly of knowledge and will take time to involve stakeholders before making arbitrary decisions. This is one trait investors in the various sectors in Nakuru will really appreciate once Susan takes over as Governor in August 2022.
As a leader, Susan believes the greatest investment a leader or a government can make is the investment in people. As a strong believer that women and young people need to be socially, economically and politically empowered, Susan is determined that good leadership should always put people’s interests first.
Senator Susan Kihika is no pushover, she’s uncompromising in matters she believes in and loyal to her cause. For her larger than life personality, Susan Kihika has unfortunately been blamed and accused of things she even had no idea about. But she soldiers on believing that a people-centred leadership is possible for the good of all despite efforts by disparagers to pull her back.
Born in the same year that Kenya gained her independence, 1963, David Gikaria has lived most of his life in Nakuru Town. He has also spent most of his adult life in public service starting off as the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) chairman in the Rift Valley Branch.
David Gikaria, a two-term MP, started his education studies in 1973 at St. Theresa Primary School in Kivumbini near Bondeni where he did his Certificate of Primary Education (CPE). From 1980 up to 1983, the Nakuru Town East MP attended Menengai High school for his O-Level certificate and later acquired his A’Level in 1985.
After his stint working at FKF, the charismatic legislator joined the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya in 1986 where he remained until 2001 after which he joined politics. Few people are aware that David Gikaria studied Accounting and Management. During his time at PBK, he enrolled at Strathmore University in 1989 for a Certified Public Accountant course for a two-year course.
Having left PBK in 2001, Hon. David Gikaria joined politics and vied as a Councillor in Nakuru Municipal Council representing Lakeview Ward for a five year period between 2003 and 2007. In 2008, he was elected the Nakuru Municipal Council Mayor until 2010. It was during his time as Councillor that he joined the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) in the years 2005 and 2006 to study Management.
Gikaria got re-elected as the Lakeview Ward Councillor in 2011 up to 2013.
David Gikaria in National Politics
In 2012, David Gikaria vied and won as the MP of the newly established Nakuru East MP. The metropolitan constituency had been hived off from the Nakuru Town Constituency which had been divided into two under the 2010 constitution. He was elected on a TNA ticket.
In 2017, he was re-elected but this time on a Jubilee party ticket. He is serving his second term and will be defending his seat on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party ticket. The party is led by Deputy President Dr William Ruto who will also be vying as President on the same party.
Between 2012 and 2016, Gikaria joined Mount Kenya University in Nakuru Campus to pursue a Bachelor of Business Management in Purchases and Supplies Management.
In Nakuru City, Hon. David Gikaria is popularly known as TM and Baba Yao. The TM is a short form for “Team Manager” and it was given to him due to his love for football. The Baba Yao is a pet name from his fans who are mostly the youth and women especially those from the low-income social groups.
TM has a penchant for fighting for the seemingly downtrodden in the community and he has found himself on the wrong side of the law for this. He also tends to lean towards populist politics which has made him popular among the majority of his constituents.
Baba Yao is an openly polygamous man who doesn’t shy away from parading his spouses in public and takes pride in his large family. He’s a highly sociable person who easily interacts with his constituents. Coupled with his sharp political mind, this has ensured he has survived two decades in the Nakuru political scene.
For eight years, until his demise on 9th of January 1988 Kariuki Chotara dominated Nakuru politics overshadowing even elected Parliamentarians.
During his eight years as Nakuru District KANU chairman, he made himself into a no-nonsense institution and was an un-understood enigma to many. Somehow, Kariuki who has a road in Naivasha town named after him built enviable political power around himself and was envied by many of his counterparts.
Chotara started his journey in party politics when he was elected the Naivasha sub-branch chairman in 1966. He held the post for 10 years until 1976 when he ran against Kihika Kimani as Nakuru District chairman.
Chotara became powerful following the passing on of Kenya’s founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. He was a useful tool that Kenya’s second President, Daniel Moi utilized to deal with the “Nakuru Mafia.” The “Nakuru Mafia” was a clique of wealthy and powerful Kikuyus who had emerged in Rift Valley during the reign of President Kenyatta. The faction had grown into affluence and political impunity in Kenyatta’s last days as President and Moi was looking for a way to trim their influence.
In the 1976 KANU Party elections, Kariuki Chotara had the temerity to challenge Kihika Kani the Nakuru KANU supremo in the party chairmanship. Of course he lost in the elections but he maintains that the elections aaaawere rigged. He even went ahead to file an appeal. Two years later, in 1979, following Kenyatta’s death the previous year, the appeal against Kihika was upheld and Kariuki Chotara took over as Chairman unopposed. He was also elected councillor to Naivasha Urban Council.
Kariuki Chotara as Nakuru KANU Chairman
Kariuki took to his new position as Nakuru KANU chairman with gusto and passion. He had a sharp tongue, made unbridled statements and spoke in black and white. The 1979 elections saw many of the previous political powerhouses in Nakuru lose their positions. The newly elected MPs and Councillors, all under the only political party KANU, soon learnt to toe the line behind Chotara.
Around this time, he was once quoted in the media saying that Nakuru being the President’s home town, the people needed to be peaceful and loyal to the President.
Moi loved Chotara and his way of doing things. He actually seemed to encourage it thereby building Chotara’s stature more and more. This in turn gave Chotara the confidence to continue running the party and political affairs of Nakuru the way he deemed fit. Anyone in Nakuru District hoping to make it in the political career had to pay homage to him.
During the 1983 General election, only those aligned to Chotara were elected. These were people expected to be loyal to Chotara, Moi and KANU. Kefa Wagara lost to Fred Kubai in Nakuru East while Francis Kimosop was elected in Nakuru North. Amos Kimemia was elected in Nakuru Town ousting Mark Mwithaga and Njenga Mungai was re-elected in Nakuru West.
Twelve candidates from Naivasha Urban Council who were to vie for civic seats but were opposed to Chotara were denied party clearance. This completely denied them to vie proving Chotara’s authority in Nakuru politics.
For his “splendid performance,” Moi rewarded Chotara with a nomination to parliament. Moi even went ahead to praise Chotara as a selfless man of action who could not be compared to any other KANU chairman in the republic.
During his term as chairman, Nakuru was the most active party branch. Weekly meetings were held to recruit more members but more so to warn those who were going against the party.
Having dealt with the “Nakuru Mafia,” Chotara turned his attention to the Kikuyus in Mt. Kenya whom he accused of all manner of schemes against the party, the President and himself. He went ahead to claim that there was a plot to assassinate him. His ruthlessness in dealing with his kinsmen earned him a lot of enemies from Kikuyu land who saw him as a traitor.
Kariuki Chotara early days
Kariuki is said to have been born in Murang’a District in the early 1920s. His original name was Maina Mwangi but he was nicknamed Chotara because he was very light-skinned. At some point when the police were looking for him after he broke out of detention, he was described in The Standard newspaper as a man of small build, light-skinned almost yellow skin, with a small beard. He had dark brown eyes, very dark brown curly hair and a small mouth. Chotara used to stoop and walk with small steps and had the habit of hanging his head.
In the 1950s, it is reported that he moved to Nairobi where he joined the anti-colonial nationalist movement. In February 1955, Chotara was arrested and taken to Manyani Detention Camp. Three months later, on 7th May 1955, Kariuki Chotara and another identified as Mwangi Thuita escaped from Manyani. The two had crawled through the barbed wire making a successful break.
The police discovered the daring escape almost a week later and immediately mounted a manhunt for the two Maumau organisers. The police offered 450 British pounds for information leading to the arrest of each of them. On 21st June 1955, Kariuki and his fellow escapee were re-arrested in Parklands area, Nairobi.
Nakuru has had many MPs since the early days. At independence in 1963, Nakuru County, back then known as Nakuru District had four constituencies. Over time, Nakuru has grown to eleven constituencies. The original constituencies were Nakuru North (1966), Nakuru East, Nakuru West and Nakuru Town.
Nakuru North has over time given birth to Rongai, Subukia and Bahati while Nakuru West has spawned Njoro, Molo, Kuresoi North and Kuresoi South.
Nakuru East consisted the present-day Naivasha and Gilgil constituencies while Nakuru Town is today Nakuru Town East and Nakuru Town West.
Nakuru Independence MPs – 1963 Elections
At independence, there were three MPs elected to represent Nakuru District. All the MPS were elected on a KANU ticket. The MPs were;
In 1966, Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga formed the Kenya Peoples Union (KPU). Some MPs followed him into the party which led to the “Little General Election” of 1966. These are the MPs that were elected at the election.
Nakuru North – Francis Koima Kimosop (In 1986, Francis Koima committed suicide. In the ensuing by-election, Eric Kibet Bomett was elected MP)
Nakuru Town – Amos Kabiru Kimemia
Nakuru East – Fred Kubai
Nakuru MPs 1988
In the 1988 elections, Nakuru West Constituency was renamed Molo Constituency and Rongai was created from Nakuru North. These are the Nakuru MPs elected during that election.
Molo – James Njenga Mungai
Nakuru North – Silas Mburu Gichua
Rongai – Eric Kibet Koras Bomett
Nakuru Town – Amos Kabiru Kimemia
Nakuru East – Gitahi Ngaruro
Nakuru MPs 1992
For the first time since 1966, Kenya went into elections in a multiparty state. Since independence, all Nakuru MPs had been from the KANU party. However, in 1992, the newly formed opposition party (Ford Asili) led by Kenneth Matiba took the lead. KANU managed only one out of the five seats.
Molo – James Njenga Mungai (Ford Asili)
Nakuru North – Joseph K. Kimani (Ford Asili)
Rongai – William K. Komen (KANU)
Nakuru Town – J.C Lwali Oyondi (Ford Asili)
Nakuru East – Francis J. M. Wanyange (Ford Asili)
Nakuru MPs 1997
In the 1997 elections, Kuresoi Constituency was created from Molo Constituency and Nakuru North was renamed Subukia while Nakuru East got Naivasha as its new name. KANU continued to lose but managed two out of the six seats. Mwai Kibaki’s Democratic Party (DP) carried the day. The following MPs were elected.
Molo – Dixon Kihika Kimani (DP)
Kuresoi – James Cheruiyot arap Koske (KANU)
Rongai – Eric Toroitich Morogo (KANU)
Subukia – Joseph M. Kuria (DP)
Nakuru Town – David Manyara Njuki (DP)
Naivasha – Paul Samuel Kihara (DP)
Nakuru MPs 2003
For once, KANU was elected out of power since independence. Daniel T. Moi was no longer the president as Mwai Kibaki took over with Kijana Wamalwa as the Vice President. This time around, the National Alliance Rainbow Coalition (NARC) carried the day not only in Nakuru but also in most parts of the country. The following MPs were elected.
For the first time, Nakuru elected a woman (Alicen Chelaite) to parliament. Jayne Kihara became the second shortly after when she was elected to replace her husband Paul Kihara who died a few months into the new government. Nakuru suffered another blow when the Nakuru Town MP Mirugi Kariuki who was also an assistant minister died in a plane crash.
Nakuru Town – Mirugi Kariuki (NARC) – Mirugi died in a plane crash in 2006 and was replaced by his son William Kariuki one year before the 2007 general elections.
Naivasha – Paul Kihara (NARC) – Paul Kihara died just a few months after being elected. His wife Jayne Kihara was elected MP in his place.
Nakuru MPs – 2007
This was President Kibaki’s second term in office. The aftermath of the general election was rocked with chaos and violence that left thousands dead, maimed and displaced. Nakuru was especially badly hit by the 2008 Post Election Violence (PEV).
The following MPs were elected.
Molo – Joseph Ng’ang’a Kiuna (PNU)
Kuresoi – Zakayo Cheruiyot
Rongai – Luka Kigen (ODM)
Subukia – Nelson Gaichuhie (PNU)
Nakuru Town – Lee Kinyanjui (PNU)
Naivasha – John Njenga Michael Mututho (KANU)
Nakuru County MPs 2012
In 2012, Kenya went into the elections under a new constitution promulgated in 2010. It was also time to elect the fourth president with Kibaki having served his maximum two terms.
Constituencies (also called sub-counties in the newly devolved governance) had also been reviewed. Nakuru now boasted of 11 constituencies. Naivasha had birthed Gilgil, Subukia gave birth to Bahati, Njoro was created from Molo and Kuresoi was divided into Kuresoi North and Kuresoi south. Nakuru Town was also divided into Nakuru Town East and Nakuru Town West.
The new constitution had also re-introduced the post of the County Senator and created the post of the Governor as the County head.
These were the leaders elected in Nakuru Couty at the 2012 elections.
For Susan Kihika’s dad, Kihika Kimani, 1974 was a good year. It was in this year that he was first elected to Parliament. Best of all, it was in this year that his favourite daughter Susan Wakarura Kihika was born.
Born on 11th December of that year, Susan can be described as that child who grew “loved by God, and by the people.” She’s also an apple that didn’t fall very far from the tree.
A courageous politician who doesn’t shy away from controversy, the second Nakuru County Senator inherited more than just leadership skills from her dad. But while her dad was limited in terms of his education, Susan Kihika is a polished leader holding several academic certificates from Kenya and from abroad.
After her primary school at Busara Forest View academy in Nyahururu, she proceeded to one of the most sought after secondary schools in Nyeri County. Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls High School or BG as it’s fondly known is a school every girl growing up in Nyeri and surrounding counties aspires to join. The school is one of the best performers not only in Central Kenya but in the country. In the home county, the girls compete with the bright boys from both Kagumo and Nyeri high schools which are the leading secondary schools in the region.
The young Susan did not disappoint. After her KCSE she got admitted into another prominent educational institution in the country. This time, she got admitted to Nairobi University. However, she was barely here for a semester when her father took her to study in the UK.
The weather in the United Kingdom was not friendly to Susan. She again transferred and joined the University of Northern Texas in Denton, USA. She graduated with a degree in Political Science and Government. That was not the end of her quest in academic matters as she also holds a jurist Doctorate Law Degree from the Southern Methodist University. This got her admitted to the Texas State Bar.
Before going into private practice when she set up the Kihika Law Firm, Susan Kihika had worked as a prosecutor and chief prosecutor. Her law firm had specialized mostly in representing immigrants.
This trait of standing with the seemingly lowly in the society has carried on to date. In most of her appearances as Senator, Susan Kihika has emerged as a voice of the voiceless. As a representative of the people in Nakuru County, Senator Susan Kihika has never shied away from lending her voice to the downtrodden and to those whom justice has been denied. One particular case is when she stood out as a lone voice withstanding insurmountable pressure in her quest to find justice for the Patel Dam tragedy victims in Solai.
Susan Kihika plunge into politics
After a twenty-year stint overseas, Susan Kihika returned to the country in August 2012. The general elections were to be held the following year in 2013. These were the first elections under Kenya’s new constitution promulgated in 2010. In these elections, devolution would be implemented and Kenya would have Senators, Governors and Women Reps who had previously not been part of Kenya’s political dispensation. The post of councillors and mayor’s had also been scrapped to be replaced with a county Parliament whose members would be called Members for County Assemblies (MCAs) led by a Speaker.
Susan threw herself into the political ring vying as MP for Bahati. Her greatest competitor was the incumbent, Hon. Onesmus Kimani Ngunjiri, a veteran KANU political operative. As fate would have it, she lost to Kimani Ngunjiri.
“I was completely new in politics in 2013. I even didn’t know where the boundaries were and I would sometimes even find myself campaigning in the neighbouring constituency,” Susan recollects. However, the loss did not kill her political dream which was by now fully ignited. Actually, from an early age, she had loved politics. Like a sleeping giant rousing from a long stupor, her political dream was now fully awake and she hasn’t looked behind.
With the establishment of County Assemblies, Susan set out to vie as the first-ever County Assembly speaker for Nakuru. With the guidance of MPs David Gikaria and Kimani Ngunjiri, she threw her hat into the ring and this is where her political skills first came into play. This time around, and numerous times after, the scion of Kihika has proven herself to be an astute political tactician and strategist. Similarly, over the five years that she was the county Assembly speaker, she showed the world that she was no pushover.
Achievements as Nakuru County Assembly Speaker
“We used to see her as a weak Speaker probably due to her small stature. We considered her an inexperienced political figure and we imagined that we could manipulate her. But she proved us all wrong and we learnt our lessons the hard way,” says a former MCA who served under Speaker Kihika.
While she was a speaker, she also served as the Vice-Chair of the County Assemblies Forum (CAF). This is a body that brings together the speakers and MCAs across the country and acts as their lobby group. in the early days of her tenure as a speaker, MCAs could only earn a gross salary of Kshs. 79,000. She was among those who lobbied for the increase arguing that underpaying MCAs “would make them susceptible to being compromised.”
The County Assembly of Nakuru, led by Susan Kihika, was instrumental in setting the pace for devolution to take root in the County. They made laws, passed rules and made it easy for devolution to work.
It was also during her tenure that the construction of Ugatuzi Plaza which was officially opened by President Kenyatta in 2019 was started.
There were many intrigues during that period. As Susan set out to create laws that would govern and operationalize devolution in Nakuru, some disgruntled quarters tried to destabilise her albeit unsuccessfully.
In 2014, an impeachment motion was brought against Speaker Susan Kihika. The speaker was accused of among other things “failing to discharge her duties impartially.” The motion was however defeated.
When she decided to vie for senate, there were many who again tried to put hurdles along her path. When the President and his deputy appointed her to lead the Presidential campaigns in South and Central Rift, many seasoned politicians in the county came out guns blazing to fight her. It was at this point that her relationship with Hon. Kimani Ngunjiri took a turn for the worse. Although their relationship was to improve later, it has been a matter of on and off. Some other politicians although not as outspoken have lived with that grudge to date probably not accepting the fact that Susan Kihika, a greenhorn politician in their eyes, has emerged as such a strong and influential political player in Nakuru.
Susan Kihika got cleared by IEBC to vie for Senator in May 2017. Shortly after, she had to face another hurdle when the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) ruled that she couldn’t run. According to her accuser, she was not qualified to run since she had not resigned as Speaker. Her accuser was the same MCA who had brought an impeachment motion against her. The accuser was herself vying as an independent. The ruling by the PPDT was however trashed by Judge George Odunga.
“The tribunal did not have jurisdiction to interpret the law, hear, and determine the matter,” said Justice Odunga. “Ms Kihika is the Jubilee nominee for the seat. The decision made on June 12, 2017, must be null and void and is, therefore, quashed,” ruled Odunga.
Senator Susan Kihika’s campaign for the senate was one of a kind. From the end of 2016, several colourful billboards bearing the name and beautiful portrait of candidate Susan Kihika dotted the Nairobi Nakuru highway. The billboards caused a sensation among the youth of Nakuru who would discuss Susan Kihika’s charm and beauty endlessly on their social media platforms.
Apart from the billboards, Susan Kihika’s posters and other campaign materials could be found in every part of the expansive Nakuru County.
“We know her already. We already feel her presence and will vote for her,” voters would declare from even the furthest corners of the county.
She was among the 23 women who went into nominations seeking to vie as senator under the respective parties. After the nominations, she was among the 17 women who went into the general elections seeking to be elected and she ended up being one of the only three women elected senators in 2017.
It was during these campaigns that SK proved her indefatigable nature. It was not a surprise for her to hold up to five campaign rallies a day many kilometres apart. Remarkably, she would always look fresh at every rally as she engaged the people and addressed their issues. She got along well with the young and old respectively. The young ones could easily relate to her easy-going nature while the elderly held nostalgic memories of her late dad who had helped resettle thousands of them after independence. He had done this through the gigantic land buying company, Mutukanio – Ngawataniro Land Buying Company.
Undoubtedly, Susan Kihika was the most popular candidate in Nakuru in 2017. Even the opposition supporters asserted their love and support for her. At one stop in Olkaria ward (Naivasha), which has been an ODM zone for many years, the residents promised to elect her senate but vowed to give their presidential votes to the ODM candidate.
“We can assure you Susan that we shall unreservedly give you our votes. However, we cannot promise the same for the presidential seat as we must give that to baba (Raila),” a speaker had said to her.
Come to the elections on August 8, Susan Kihika was one of the super winners. With a total of 669,550 votes, she had amassed a whopping 89.6% of the votes cast for the senate seat. In Nakuru, no other candidate had such a high number of votes.
Getting Down to Business
In the Senate, Susan Kihika was among the four others who had applied for the seat of the Deputy Speaker. However, elections were not held and instead, the party leadership called for a parliamentary group meeting and through compromise, the Senate deputy speaker’s seat went to Kithure Kindiki. Senator Kihika became the Majority Whip deputised by Irungu Kang’ata.
Shortly after the elections, into Jubilee’s second term, things fell apart in the ruling party. Two opposing factions arose with one supporting the Deputy President and his bid for Presidency in 2022. The other faction believes that Deputy President Dr William Ruto has squandered his opportunity to take over from Uhuru.
Ever the stickler in the rule of justice, Senator Susan Kihika has chosen to be on DP’s side christened Tangatanga by the haters. The other side nicknamed Kieleweke has the President’s favour which saw Susan and her colleagues in Tangatanga getting punished. Susan, Kindiki, Murkomen among others were de-whipped from their house positions. Others who supported Ruto have had cases brought against them. As one blogger aptly put it, “You cannot afford to support the Deputy President if you’re corrupt. Charges will be brought against you before you can even attend two rallies.” It, therefore, goes without saying that the legislators supporting Ruto are those without skeletons in the cupboards.
Senator Susan continues to carry on her role as Senator and as a voice for the voiceless. Apart from the Solai saga, Senator Kihika has been outspoken against the death knell cast on saw millers in Elburgon. The ban on logging left many investors bankrupt and thousands of Molo, Njoro and Elburgon residents jobless. She was also at the forefront of fighting for the rights of former employees of Timsales Limited who were sacked without a care for their rights.
One of her most trying moments was during the London Ward by-elections. While the Senator was supporting Nzuki Wachira, the area MP was supporting a candidate called Francis Njoroge. Njoroge who lost in the by-election was vying on a Jubilee ticket while Nzuki who emerged victorious vied on another party affiliated to Jubilee. The UDA party was recently rebranded with a new symbol and national officials.
The so-called deep state seemed to have fully decided to support the Jubilee candidate and Susan and her supporters had to bear several teargas attacks and intimidation in a bid to discourage them. But the untiring Susan proved once again to be a tactical strategist and her candidate emerged top.
In early 2018, Senator Susan Kihika was elected as first Vice President of the Bureau of the Forum of Women Parliamentarians. The bureau is part of the International Parliamentarians Union (IPU). In October the same year, Kihika took over first as the acting President and later as President replacing her predecessor Hon Ulrika Karlsson of Sweden.
Away from politics, Susan is a family and a social person who will always find time for her family, friends and her ventures outside the public life. She is a mother of two daughters, Tiffany (Tiff) and Ashley. She also engages in wheat farming.
Her husband is businessman Samuel Mburu (kiongozi) a close ally to the Deputy President. During her traditional dowry ceremony at her mother’s home, it was the Deputy President who led the negotiations for the groom.
“I have known Sam as a hardworking diligent young man for many years. He is a close friend and we have come a long way,” the DP once said in a live interview.
She has been described as an iron lady of Nakuru politics, outspoken, aggressive, no-nonsense, powerful and straight talker. While all these words could describe the lady poised to be the third Governor for Nakuru County, Susan Kihika can simply be described as an easy-going, straightforward lady who cuts no corners and values loyalty highly.
When the late Mirugi Kariuki decided to vie as MP for Nakuru North in November 1982, little did he know that the decision would put him into a collision course with President Moi.
Having detained MP Koigi Wamwere after the August 1982 coup attempt, the late Moi was determined that no other Kikuyu would represent his home constituency. The moment he got wind of lawyer Mirugi’s intention, he sent a stern warning to him saying that severe action would be taken against him.
If Koigi was a thorn in Moi’s flesh, Mirugi was, in the late President’s opinion, several times more subversive. And since all available intelligence showed that Mirugi would easily win the race in a free and fair contest, Moi had to resort to unorthodox means.
On the day he was to present his nomination papers, a dragnet was laid out for him. These were the days when KANU was the only party and failure to present the papers would automatically disqualify him. Despite all these evil mechanizations though, Mirugi soldiered on and presented his papers.
Back in those days, the provincial administration would oversee the elections. To ensure that Mirugi lost, by all means, President Moi called all DCs to a “seminar” in Kabarak during the elections and the same DCs who had mastered the art of election stealing were to act as returning officers. They had only one job description, to ensure Mirugi would not be declared the winner.
Until his death in a plane crash twenty-two years later, Mirugi Kariuki maintained that he won the November 1983 by-election in Nakuru North.
A man said to be Moi’s nephew, Francis Koima Kimosop was declared winner in the by-election replacing Koigi who was still in detention. But what Mirugi Kariuki went through in 1982 was just a tickle compared to what he was to go through in the following year’s general elections in 1993.
Miruki Kariuki in the 1983 General Elections
The September 1983 General Elections were held 14 months earlier to “calm the nation” after Moi accused an unidentified Cabinet Minister of working with foreign forces to undermine his administration. In the polls, there were no presidential elections as Moi was unopposed in the only legal political party, KANU.
As the elections drew closer, Moi made it no secret that he had his eyes on Mirugi who he considered a nuisance. During his campaigns the previous year, Mirugi had vowed that once he went to Parliament, he would “cause the release of all political prisoners.” These sentiments hadn’t gone down well with mzee Moi.
Addressing a public rally at Uhuru Park in the run-up to the elections, Moi didn’t hide his distaste for Mirugi. “I must warn him, this lawyer, that if he’s going to talk the way he talked last year, he will face the consequences,” Moi swore.
The drama came to a climax when Mirugi was planning to present his nomination papers. When he went to Nairobi to be cleared, he was the very last person who was allowed in. The KANU treasurer ole Tipis would take the money and give the candidates a certificate with two signatures; Moi’s and his. After Mirugi paid, he was given an unsigned certificate and had he not been keen, he would have left the premises with useless papers. Lucky for him, he noticed this and they reluctantly gave him a duly signed copy. This was after Tipis had talked to Moi for almost 45 minutes on phone. Again, he was sternly warned not to “misbehave.”
Having gotten the certificate, the Deep State of the day decided they would arrest Mirugi on trumped-up charges and keep him in a cell so as not to present his nomination. Luckily for him, a friendly intelligence officer leaked the information to Mirugi including when and how the arrest would be made.
With this information, Mirugi disappeared to hide in Nyahururu when the arresting officers came to arrest him that evening. He escaped by jumping over a fence to a neighbour’s home and a driver drove him to Nyahururu. The angry officers ended up arresting Mirugi’s brother, Samuel Gakinya, to use him as bait.
On the day of the nominations, a contingent of police officers manned the DC’s office to prevent Mirugi from accessing the office at the Old Town Hall. Luckily, again, for him, there was a blood donation office next to the DC’s office and a charcoal store. Mirugi was smuggled in by hiding in the back of a pickup that was delivering charcoal and that was how he presented his papers.
Unfortunately, the police officer was so agitated knowing he would be punished for his failure to prevent the presentation of the papers.
Even after presenting the papers to an angry DC and being declared duly nominated, Mirugi was arrested and taken to Central police where his brother Gakinya was still being held. Trumped-up criminal charges were brought against him but were later dropped after the elections.
But that, was by no means the end to Mirugi’s woes as he was to be arrested again and held for five months on other trumped-up charges …….