Uhuru to pay 200-year-old debt to Narok village family

In most African communities, paying bride price is mandatory, regardless of the time it takes for the debt to be paid. That is the reason Uhuru Kenyatta’s family is planning to pay the family of the former President Jomo Kenyatta’s grandmother, identified as Mosana, a visit in Narok to settle her bride price after more than two centuries. ALSO READ: Ignore the noise, only court can take us back to the ballot again At the home of ole Gilisho family in Narok West Sub County, preparations are already in top gear ahead of the visit by the first family at a yet-to-be-disclosed date. According to President Kenyatta’s cousins, former Gatundu South MP Ngengi Muigai and his brother Kung’u Muigai, who are leading negotiations with the Gilisho family, they would like to finally settle the ‘debt’ for the ‘stolen girl’. For the past few years, the Kenyatta family has relentlessly been tracing the roots of Uhuru’s great grandmother with the help of Maasai council of elders. Mr Kung’u, who spoke recently in Narok, narrated how Agikuyu warriors raided the Maasai village of Naroosura and made away with a herd of cattle and a girl who later gave birth to Kung’u Magana. Uhuru’s responsibility Mr Magana was the father of the first Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta, James Muigai and Kung’u Muigai. Capt Rtd Kung’u explained that President Uhuru, whose middle name is Muigai, was named after his great grandfather, Muigai, and therefore it is Uhuru’s responsibility to pay ‘his’ bride price. Kung’u, the patron of the National Council of Elders, said Kung’u, the son of Mosana married without paying his mother’s dowry. Mzee Kenyatta also never paid his grandmother’s bride price, according to Kung’u. However, Uhuru is determined to correct the wrong committed to the Maasai community and settle the old debt. ALSO READ: Let us support efforts to cure what is wrong with our politics The home of Mosana, the Kenyatta family’s matriarch, was traced to Naroosura in Narok after Uhuru ascended to power in 2013. “Mosana is the mother of our family. We respect her and that is why we have taken time to trace her origin,” he said. Gilisho’s family has been a beehive of activity recently with a manyatta under construction and the family working round the clock to prepare for the big day. A special bull has also been identified for the ceremony. Chief John Gilisho, the family’s spokesman, said all will be done as per the traditional Maasai culture during the ceremony expected to be graced by President Kenyatta. “We are working tirelessly to ensure the day is a success. Everything will, however, be done according to traditional Maasai culture,” said Chief Gilisho. He said a special black-and-white bull will be slaughtered and its meat put atop oloirien (olive) leaves after being cleansed by elders, ready to be prepared for the guests. Even though the family is yet to be notified of the date of the visit, Chief Gilisho said they are not taking chances as they do not want to be caught flat-footed. ALSO READ: European Union calls for dialogue between Uhuru, Raila Traditional Maasai attire (red shukas) will be worn by the elders who will sit on traditional stools to listen to the visitors’ apologies for taking too long to pay the bride price. Gilisho, however, said members of the public were welcome to the ceremony but only family members will be allowed into the negotiation room. The Kenyatta family also revealed that it was at Naroosura, at his grandmother’s home village, where Mzee Kenyatta learnt to speak the Maasai language after going into hiding there for over five years to avoid being conscripted into the British Army. Kung’u said Mosana advised Kenyatta to go into hiding after his elder brother, Kung’u, was forced to join the army during the First World War in 1914. He never came back. After five years, senior Kenyatta returned to Gatundu speaking fluent Maasai and wearing the traditional beaded belt called ‘inyatta’ in Maasai. The name Kenyatta is believed to have come from this name. Captain Kung’u and Ngengi are sons of James Muigai, hence Uhuru’s first cousins and Mosana (Wanjiru) their great grandmother. “Kenyatta stayed in Naroosura during the whole period of first-world war. He even went ahead and opened a shop in the area, which he named “Kenyatta stores”. rkiplagat@standardmedia.co.ke
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