Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika is officially ‘off the market’ as her long term political partner, flamboyant businessman Sam Mburu on Saturday initiated dowry negotiations ahead of their marriage.
The high profile, colourful event, attended by politicians including Deputy President William Ruto and hundreds of Nakuru residents took place at her parents’ home in Marmanet, Laikipia County.
The event was characterised by pompous traditional songs, dance and jubilation.
At least five choppers and several sports utility vehicles (SUVs) were pictured outside the home as guests arrived at around noon. The event kicked off with a sermon and prayers for the couple, presided over by the Catholic Church.
Elders led by DP Ruto then left for negotiations that lasted about two hours inside the house of the late veteran politician Dickson Kihika. The others in the team included Jesse Kamau, David Wambiru, Evanson Kamau, Joe Karanja, Thuku Warurengo and Peter Njenga.
Others were MPs Caleb Kositany (Soy), Kimani Ichung’wah (Kikuyu) and Moses Kuria (Gatundu South).
Senator Kihika’s foe turned best friend, Bahati Member of Parliament Kimani Ngunjiri, was the master of ceremony.
Senator Susan Kihika and her soon to be husband, who wore a gold embroidered gown and a white African themed ensemble, respectively, epitomised the lyrics of Kenny Roger’s song “Love will turn you around”.
They once denied their love for each other and dismissed reports of a relationship, but not anymore.
The 46-year-old Tangatanga lawmaker is set to marry her long-term political partner, turned sweetheart and yes, Senator Kihika’s outfit – possibly a traditional Agikuyu dress – has been ironed and folded, ready for their union.
DP Ruto, who led Mr Mburu’s side in the dowry negotiations, said he was privileged to be part of an event bringing together his “best friends”.
“I am very happy that they are joining. Friends and family are very important. I assure you of my support and I wish to encourage you to reach out incase there are any issues,” he said.
He left the audience in stitches when he jokingly told Mr Mburu that those were the last negotiations he was leading for him to get a wife
“My mother lived in Naivasha and it looks like Nakuru is a gem that produces good beautiful women. I encourage the two to go produce a lot of children. Politicians want crowds, now that maternity is free and education is free, produce more children [sic],” he said to more laughter.
Although leaders attending the event kept off politics, DP Ruto used the forum to reiterate that it is good to continue building bridges of unity and peace in the country.
“We must never tire to build bridges. We should not close doors to negotiations. The art of building bridges should bring people together, not divide them. We must build bridges together,” he said.
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua spoke about the 2022 succession politics, equating the Uhuru Kenyatta succession race with the United States of America race between Democrats and Republicans.
“We are not afraid of what people are calling the deep state. The narrative is equivalent to what is happening in the US, where the people’s choice is supreme and will triumph at the end,” said Mr Gachagua.
Other politicians praised the couple and wished them the best in their union.
Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa said, “My friend Mr Muiru, a woman likes to be loved. Even the Bible says so. A woman should be praised and appreciated. Stop calling her ‘senator’. Call her sweet love names. A woman wants to be heard. Always listen to her so that she does not look for audiences outside.”
“A woman also loves to be given romance,” she added, sending the crowd into cheers and laughter.
Mr Mburu, alias Kiongozi (the Kiswahili word for leader) has been a close ally of the Deputy President and Senator Kihika for a long time.
Ahead of the 2017 election, Senator Susan Kihika campaigns were largely sponsored by the wealthy businessman.
The little-known Mburu is described as a wealthy, humble, down to earth and generous man, who contributes to harambees.
The soft spoken tycoon, who hails from Solai in Nakuru County, is also known for being a shrewd businessman with strong connections locally and internationally.
Until 2012, Ms Kihika practiced law in Texas, a career she abandoned and returned to Kenya to venture into politics.
She lost the Bahati parliamentary seat in 2013 and was tapped to contest for the position of Nakuru County Assembly Speaker.
She floored 12 men to become Speaker in 2013 and turned out to be one of the most powerful and influential individuals in Nakuru politics. Since 2013, her meteoric rise in politics has baffled friend and foe alike.
Ms Susan Kihika quickly rose to the top to become Nakuru Senator in 2017, when she beat several male contestants including seasoned politicians like former Molo MP John Njenga Mungai and veteran politician Koigi wa Wamwere by polling more than 270,000 votes.
She made history by becoming the first ever woman Senator in Nakuru.
Senator Kihika has announced that she will run for the Nakuru governor seat, currently held by Lee Kinyanjui.
Some of the other high profile guests and political leaders who graced the ceremony were MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Patrick Mariru (Laikipia West), Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), David Gikaria (Nakuru Town East), Samuel Gachobe (Subukia), Kuria Kimani (Molo) and Mathias Robi (Kuria).
Also present were Senators Christopher Lang’at (Bomet), Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka Nithi), Kipchumba Murkomen(Elgeyo Marakwet), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho) and Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter and Nandi Governor Stephen Sang.