Get to know MCA-elect for London Ward Nzuki Anthony Wachira

Nzuki Anthony Wachira is the Member of County Assembly (MCA) elect for London Ward in Nakuru West.

Anthony Nzuki Wachira(in UDA t-shirt) with Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen during campaign in Nakuru.PHOTO/Courtesy.

Nzuki trounced Francis Njoroge of Jubilee after he garnered 1,707 votes against Njoroge’s 1,385.

Born 34 years ago to Mr Charles Wachira, Nzuki is married to the love of his life and they have been blessed with three daughters.

Nzuki addressing.PHOTO/Courtesy.

Nzuki attended Prisons Nursery school before proceeding to Milimani Primary and then to Crater Secondary.

He attended Egerton University and worked at Nakuru PGH briefly before joining Bidco Kenya.

Nzuki joined politics in 2014 while still working at Bidco.

“I was always touched by the many jobless youths who used to hang around “jobless corner” in London. Every day I would meet people asking for alms. The salary I was earning was hardly enough to give them and that’s how I decided to join politics to empower my community,” said Nzuki in an earlier interview with this publication.

Nzuki with DP William Ruto.PHOTO/Courtesy.

In 2017, Nzuki Wachira decided to vie for the MCA seat.

To him, this would have been a great platform to empower the people and make a difference in their lives.

He however lost in his bid at the nominations.

A strong believer in the will of the people being supreme, Nzuki fully supported the late Sammy who had won in the Jubilee nominations. He was part of the London Ward team popularly known as “Team Change.”

Nzuki strongly believes in incorporating people in leadership. His years in the corporate world put him a step of his competitors as a team worker, a person who respects others opinion and a listener.

For his dynamic, out of the box ideas, Nzuki has been nicknamed “Big Mind” by those who have interacted with him.

His victory in London can be attributed to the fact that the residents had embraced the new party that is focusing on empowering the hustlers.

Nzuki Anthony Wachira now says his task as the MCA is to ensure the people at grassroot majority of whom are youths are empowered economically.

Once sworn in, he will serve the London residents for the remaining term to 2022.

Novelist Henry ole Kulet takes final bow

Henry-Ole-Kulet

Nakuru based literally giant Henry ole Kulet has passed on.

The renowned writer who has written many best sellers passed on this Tuesday (16/02/2021) at Mediheal Hospital, Nakuru. He died at the age of 75.

Henry ole Kulet will be missed by many literally lovers who grew up reading his wide range of books. Some of the books by Henry ole Kulet include; Blossoms of Savannah, Moran No More, To become a Man, Maisha ya Hatari, Daughter of Maa, Vanishing Herds, Is it Possible, Elephant Dance and The Hunter.

Henry ole Kulet
Henry ole Kulet with a friend at Nakuru Library

​Henry Ole Kulet was born in 1946. He was raised in Enkare-Ngusur in Narok, Kenya. He studied farm management at Egerton College. He also worked at KFA in Nakuru.

In 1987, he retired from his career in agriculture and it was during his retirement that he wrote his 9 novels and also engaged in business.

Ole Kulet has been awarded the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature thrice.

Nzuki Anthony Wachira

Nzuki Anthony Wachira

Nzuki Anthony Wachira is the Member of County Assembly (MCA) aspirant on the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party in London Ward, Nakuru County.

A jovial Nzuki shares a moment with supporters
A jovial Nzuki shares a moment with supporters

Born 34 years ago to Mr Charles Wachira, Nzuki is married to the love of his life and they have been blessed with three daughters.

Nzuki attended Prisons Nursery school before proceeding toMlimani Primary and then to Crater Secondary. He attended Egerton University and worked at Nakuru PGH briefly before joining Bidco Kenya.

Nzuki joined politics in 2014 while still working at Bidco.

“I was always touched by the many jobless youths who used to hang around “jobless corner” in London. every day I would meet people asking for alms. The salary I was earning was hardly enough to give them and that’s how I decided to join politics to empower my community,” says the UDA candidate for London Ward.

Nzuki with DP Ruto
Nzuki with DP Ruto

In 2017, Nzuki Wachira decided to vie for the MCA seat. He felt that this would have been a great platform to empower the people and make a difference in their lives. He however lost in his bid at the nominations. A strong believer in the will of the people being supreme, Nzuki fully supported the late Sammy who had won in the Jubilee nominations. He was part of the London Ward team popularly known as “Team Change.”

Nzuki strongly believes in incorporating people in leadership. His years in the corporate world put him a step of his competitors as a team worker, a person who respects others opinion and a listener. These qualities form the basis of his promise of the people of London ward as we approach the March 4 by-elections.

Nzuki Wacira with UDA supporters
Nzuki Anthony Wachira with his supporters from, Nakuru

For his dynamic, out of the box ideas, Nzuki has been nicknamed “Big Mind” by those who have interacted with him.

As he runs on the UDA ticket, Nzuki starts at an advantage. The residents have embraced the new party almost to a man. The popularity of the jubilee party which was the most popular in 2017 has waned greatly.

Nzuki Anthony Wachira might as well emerge as the next MCA for London ward to serve the remaining term to 2022.

A jovial Nzuki shares a moment with supporters
A jovial Nzuki shares a moment with supporters

 

Meet Sam Mburu-the man who won Senator Kihika’s heart

Sam Mburu

Sam Mburu (alias Kiongozi Kiswahili word for leader). This is the man who won Senator Susan Kihika’s heart.

Sam Mburu and DP William Ruto
Sam Mburu and DP William Ruto

And last Saturday, dowry was negotiated in a ceremony also attended by Deputy President William Ruto in Laikipia.

But who is this man Sam Mburu alias Kiongozi?

Sam Mburu has been a close ally of Deputy President William Ruto and Senator Kihika for a long time.

Ahead of the 2017 election, Senator Kihika’s campaigns were largely sponsored by the wealthy businessman.

Prior to the 2017 General Elections, Ms Kihika, the daughter of the late veteran Nakuru politician Dickson Kihika Kimani, conducted one of the high profile and well-oiled campaigns crisscrossing the county in choppers.

Her campaigns were flashy and showy, with state of the art Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and at times helicopters, which wowed many, including her opponents.

The little-known Mburu is described as a wealthy, humble, down to earth and generous man, who generously contributes to harambees.

Mr Mburu is also known as a shrewd businessman with strong connections locally and internationally.

He runs a clearing and forwarding company in Mombasa – Landmark Freight Services, which has two branches in China and rakes in profits estimated at Sh10 million monthly.

Mburu also owns multimillion properties in various towns including apartments in Nakuru, Nairobi, Kajiado, Mombasa as well as a string of high-end luxury cars.

The businessman started humbly as a soft-drinks distributor in Nakuru Town’s Shabaab area.

In 2013, Mburu took an active role in the United Republican Party (URP) campaigns.

The soft-spoken Mburu hails from Solai in Nakuru County.

Senator Kihika finally ‘off market’!

Susan Kihika

It is now official that Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika is taken by businessman Sam Mburu.

This is after her partner businessman Sam Mburu on Saturday paid her dowry in a traditional ceremony held at Marmanet Town, Laikipia County.

Deputy President William Ruto was among the many guests(including MPs) who attended the colourful ceremony.

Businessman Sam Mburu, commonly known as ‘Kiongozi’ and Susan Kihika met during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s campaign towards 2013 general elections.

Already Senator Kihika has declared her interest in the Nakuru Gubernatorial seat come 2022.

Political analysts argue that the latest development in her social life(marriage to Mburu) is key towards her political ambitions towards 2022.

Susan Kihika- daughter of the late veteran politician Dickson Kihika Kimani served as Nakuru County assembly first speaker.

This came after she unsuccessfully tried her luck for the Bahati parliamentary seat.

In 2017 she successfully contested Nakuru senatorial seat in which she is serving to date.

The ‘iron lady’ as she is commonly known in Nakuru over her strong stands, is a holder of a degree in political science and government from the University of North Texas.

She also has a doctorate Law degree from Southern Methodist University in Texas.

Remembering Chief Francis Kariuki and the 8988 shortcode

Chief Francis Kariuki

One thing that made Chief Francis Kariuki stand out was his high regard for communication. He believed in passing the message to the people and in time. He constantly asked for feedback, and promptly shared out information that was relevant to the people.

“Am there to serve the people. Almost 80% of the people I serve receive my updates via Twitter SMS shortcode. To me this is the most effective way of holding a Chief’s public baraza as required by law,” he once told me as we took tea at the Nakuru library cafeteria.

That was Chief Kariuki. A man feted around the world for embracing technology to enhance service delivery. For several years from 2011, Chief Kariuki used Twitter as an integral tool in his work. He used the platform to share information relevant to his people. His followers, however, were not only people residing in Lanet-Umoja, but also included many Nakurians in the diaspora. His tweets were a source of updates on what was happening home.

Chief Kariuki would tweet about a robbery in real-time and many are the times such robberies were thwarted in the nick of time. He would share job opportunities, pleas for help and public announcements. Mostly, however, he tweeted about lost children, lost livestock and other lost items. The beauty of the platform was the fact that his followers, mostly who were local people without smartphones, always received the updates in real-time as SMS alerts on their phones.

Discontinuing the Twitter SMS short code, 8988

One of Chief Francis Kariuki’s lowest moments came in the middle of 2018. During this time, his rural followers who had always depended on him for updates could no longer receive his Twitter SMS alerts. It was a frustrating experience for him as he frantically tried to contact the service provider and look for alternatives. When I met him during this time, could see and feel that he was devastated by Safaricom’s decision to discontinue the Twitter SMS shortcode that enabled subscribers to receive tweets via the Safaricom line.

“Majority of my target audience don’t have smartphones and can only receive my tweets via SMS. The discontinuation of this service has been a huge blow to my community as it has over time grown to be their platform for reaching out and sharing information,” lamented the soft-spoken chief.

On the 16th of June 2018, Chief Kariuki had tweeted his frustrations and prayer that Safaricom would reconsider their decision.

Safaricom had just withdrawn the service then. The tweeting Chief could no longer tweet his message to the people and by then, he was trying to get the phone numbers of the residents to do direct SMS. But the hassle of collecting numbers and bulk texting was still a headache.

A month before, the tweeting chief had warned his followers of the impeding pulling down of the 8988 number in a few of his tweets. He has also requested his followers to try subscribing via the Airtel network where they could still get him.

Residents say crime went up during this period. Previously, a resident who was attacked by robbers just needed to send a text message with their details to the Chief. The Chief would then tweet the message and in a few minutes the whole community would know about the attack and neighbours would come to the rescue. The Chief used to joke that even robbers would follow him to monitor when they would be reported.

Due to the nature of his audience, the tweets were mostly made in Swahili. And due to the fact that he would forward the texts as received without editing, the tweets would sometimes come out funny and in broken language. But this suited his thousands of followers just fine. As long as they could communicate through the chief, they knew he had their backs.

Rest well chief. We shall dearly miss your progressive ideas.

Fred Kubai: Freedom Fighter, Politician & Trade Unionist

Fred Kubai

As we celebrate Labour Day, we wish to celebrate one of Kenya’s pioneer Trade Unionists who spent the better years of his youth fighting for the rights of African workers.

Born in 1917 in Nairobi, Fred Polworth Kibuthu Kubai first worked as a telegrapher at East Africa Posts and Telecommunications after his education at Buxton Baptist School in Mombasa. In 1945, at the age of 28, he was posted to Rongai and then Nakuru Post office.

He, however, worked for only one year in Nakuru before he resigned citing job discrimination against black employees. Thus started his journey in trade unionism 15 years working for posta.

Immediately after his resignation, Fred Kubai joined the trade union movement so he could assist fellow workers to achieve equality at the workplace. The mistreatment of the blacks at their places of work is what led Kubai to join the African Workers Federation Union where he became an official. By 1949, he had managed to unite all the registered trade unions in Kenya under the Trade Union Trade Centre.

His activities agitating for the rights of black workers put Kubai in a direct collision with the colonial settlers who were the majority of employers. In 1950, he led a hugely successfully boycott against a royal charter that would have made Nairobi a city. He argued that landowners within and around Nairobi area were not compensated for their land losses.

To keep him out of circulation, Fred Kubai was arrested and accused of the murder of alderman Muchohi Gikonyo. After a 9 months trial, Kubai was acquitted and he returned to his activism with renewed zeal.

In addition to mobilizing for blacks to join the trade union movement, Kubai was at the same time mobilizing for membership to the only black political party, the Kenya African Union (KAU). He was elected the Nairobi branch chairman for KAU in 1951 and also the National Vice-Chair.

On 20th October 1952, Fred Kubai was among those arrested in operation Jack Scott together with five others who have since been nicknamed the “Kapenguria Six.” The six were initially confined in Lodwar before he was transferred to Kabarnet in 1960. He stayed there until the 25th of March 1961 when he was released and put on house arrest for six months.

Kubai rejoined the trade union movement immediately he was released from the house arrest in 1962. He was appointed as a director to the Kenya Federation of Labour and played a role in the writing of the 1962 Industrial Relations Charter.

With independence, Fred Kubai was elected the first MP for Nakuru East which was comprised of the present-day Naivasha and Gilgil constituencies. As an MP, he was also appointed to the cabinet serving as the Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Services. In his second term as MP between 1983 and 1988, he served as an Assistant Minister in the office of the President. He retired from public service in 1988.

Fred Kubai died on 1st June 1996. He had lived such a secluded live after retirement that it was only after four days that his death was reported in the media. Thus ended the life of a career trade unionist.

Umardin Karimbux – Man who build Odeon Cinema, Nakuru

Umardin Karimbux logo

In honour of Umardin Karimbux, all businesses belonging to Asians and Europeans in Nakuru were closed on 19th March 1945,

The death of the young man was felt across the whole country. He had died two days earlier on 17th March 1945 aged only 37.

The young man had never been to school. The schools back then only catered for European kids. However, his father, Ibrahim Karimbux had taken on the task of homeschooling him.

Umardin Karimbux achievements

One of the greatest achievements of the young man was the construction of the Odeon Cinema in Nakuru. Odeon opened in 1929. The short road the joins the highway to Kenyatta Lane outside Odeon Cinema is named after him. The man is none other than Umardin Karimbux, son to Ibrahim Karimbux. He build the theatre when he was only 21 years old.

 

Odeon Cinema Building, Nakuru
The Odeon Cinema Building in Nakuru was first opened in 1929 by Umardin Karimbux

Odeon Cinema had the vision of serving people of all races. It was built as a revolt against the White people who only had theatres that served their own.

Umardin is also credited for growing the family business. Imagine if he hadn’t died young? At his death, his son Mohammed was 13 years old.

Michael Blundell – Nakuru farmer & Politician

Sir Michael Blundell

Although born in London, Michael Blundell who came to Kenya in 1925 was a core pillar in Nakuru through the 1940s to the 1970s.

Michael Blundell first worked as a farmhand in Solai where he later bought land and set his own farm. As a farmer, he was quite successful later serving as a Kenyan Minister for Agriculture and even wrote two books about wildflowers.

In 1948, Michael Blundell was elected to the Legco to represent sent Rift Valley. He was again re-elected in 1952 unopposed. It was in 1955 that he was first appointed as minister for Agriculture but was also reappointed in 1961 serving until 1962. He resigned from politics in 1962 and did not vie for the 1963 elections.

During his time as a politician and even after, Michael Blundell’s opinion in political matters was always highly valued. Although he entered politics with the sole intention of “<em>protecting white highlands and white privilege</em>” in Kenya, he was among the first to accept and accommodate African politicians. He was very instrumental in crafting the Lancaster constitution and brokering a deal between Kenyatta and the British.

After his resignation from politics, Sir Michael Blundell who was knighted by the British Government for his service to the queen became the Chairman of the Egerton Agricultural College. This was the predecessor to Egerton University and he served until 1972.

From 1951, Blundell was the chairman of the newly formed Nakuru Players Theater. He was not new in the entertainment scenes having owned the Electrical Theater (later renamed Eros Cinema) in Nakuru town. The theatre would not admit anyone else but white people leading to the founding of the Odeon Cinema by Umardin Karimbux.

In his active years, Blundell held many leadership and influential positions. In 1938, he was elected to the Coffee Board of Kenya. In 1949, he was appointed to the Pyrethrum Board of Kenya taking over the chairmanship the following year.

In 1964, he was appointed the chairman of the East African Breweries and shortly after the Uganda Breweries. He also found time to serve as the chairman of the Nairobi Hospital.

Apart from his two books on wildflowers, Michael Blundell in 1994 published his memoir titled “A Love Affair with the Sun.” There is also an autobiography published in 1964, “So Rough a Wind.”

Michael Blundell died of kidney failure in 1993 at his Nairobi home where he had settled after selling his Solai home. He’s survived by a daughter, Sussie.

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