Ululations from the negotiation tent followed by wild cheer, song and dance sealed the deal in which city lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo won Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru’s heart.
The date was February 16, two days after Valentines Day, the setting in picturesque Kiamungo in Kirinyaga. Gathered to lent ear, eye and mouth to the traditional engagement event between the two lovebirds were invited guests, friends and family. No photos were allowed.
Dressed in African regalia, Waiguru shyly walked to her soon-to-be husband, with her gaze fixed on the ground. Kamotho had paid dowry, gone through the Kikuyu custom of paying for the locked gate to be opened, and identified her among women who had covered themselves to gauge his familiarity with his love.
“It was a beautiful ceremony. The time was right for us to take our relationship to the next level,” Kamotho told the Saturday Standard.
The event brought to an end speculation and hushed conversations on the status of their relationship. Love from a ferry
In Shakespearean terms, it all began with “a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino, for love is crowned with the prime.”
It all started afloat a ferry in Likoni channel, Mombasa 10 years ago. At the time, they were traveling for constitutional conference and in the heat of Coast, they shared a simple meal – bread and Soda – that struck Kamotho’s heart.
“I realised she was a basic girl,” the former commissioner for Commission for Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) says. They were both consulting for parties that were negotiating the constitution. Kamotho was a team leader and Waiguru had been sent to advise them on public finance chapter.
He decided to pursue her further. After several phone conversations, she submitted to his requests for a date. He took her to a Thai restaurant in Nairobi, and it is there that they had their first fight.
“She was on phone the whole time. I had to ask her why she was not paying attention to our date,” says Kamotho. Waiguru says at that time, she had not mastered the delicate balance of separating work from her private life and would spend hours answering calls from people who wanted to engage in work.
“We agreed that when we are together and with family, phones are kept aside unless it is completely necessary. I am not doing badly nowadays,” she says.
Their love has been fraught by controversies, scandals and scrutiny from tabloids. Often, when questions were asked on why they were cozy with each other, or why Kamotho, a lawyer, represented Waiguru in several cases, they would brush off the accusations.
“I am a Kenyan entitled to meet anybody,” Kamotho once said when a photo of him and Waiguru at a hotel emerged online. He now admits that he has known her for years, and that their families, including children have interacted closely and support their relationship. He says their love has been tested in many ways.
When Waiguru was making headlines for wrong reasons after being implicated in the NYS scandal, Kamotho says it was a tough time. Waiguru says even though they went through a turbulent time, it did not affect their relationship. “He is an exceptional man. There is no other like him. He was my pillar at the time and has always been. Kind, patient, supportive and level headed,” she says.
Kamotho says in those days, he was put in situations where he had to man up and defend his woman. Like the time he was enjoying his meal in a hotel and overheard people who did not know of his relationship with Waiguru scandalising her. They were talking about the many hotels she was building from money she had fraudulently acquired. “I called her and put her on speaker phone asking her if she is building hotels. She did not even know of the existence of such a thing,” he says.
That Waiguru is a governor who has served as a minister does not threaten Kamotho whose claim to public life is the CIC assignment. He does not mind being overshadowed, as long as their love remains strong. “People have different roles, and the fact that she is popular is all details. We focus on the two of us,” he says. Waiguru says they deliberately block out negativity and they guard their privacy with all they have. “My advice to people in public life is to separate work and family, and make family a priority,” she says.
Kamotho says he has heard it all while dating Waiguru. Her morality has been questioned, work ethics put on scrutiny, and memes created about her.
He ignored it all and went on his knees and proposed to her a few weeks ago at the lavish Lord Eroll hotel in Runda, Nairobi. “I was completely surprised. We had not been talking about formalising our relationship so I did not expect it. We had just come from holidays and were celebrating his birthday as we do with close friends every year,” Waiguru says.
She recalls feeling shy and saying yes to the man she describes as very grounded and with deep faith in God.
Both of them are divorced, and Kamotho says their ex-spouses have accepted that the two are destined together and are now supportive.
They miss the times when they would go to their favourite nyama choma spot in Thika and eat to their fill without worrying about people who rudely come to them and start discussing politics without respecting their privacy. “Now that she is in public office, everyone wants to talk politics with her,” says Kamotho.
On what took them long to settle, the two say they were waiting for the right time. They are considering a formal wedding in the future, but they have not fixed a date yet.
By AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, Washington, United States, Mar 23 – The ovaries of transgender men appear to remain functional even after a year of receiving hormonal treatment with testosterone, according to a small Israeli study presented Saturday in the United States.
Transgender men are born female but self-identify as male. Not all of them undergo gender reassignment surgery but lots of them take hormones to make their bodies more masculine.
Doctors from Tel Aviv-Sourasky Medical Center studied 52 transgender men aged between 17 and 40 for a year after they began receiving injections of testosterone.
They had access to the complete results for 32 of them, which is a small sample but studies of this kind are rare.
“Our research shows for the first time that after one year of testosterone treatment, ovary function is preserved to a degree that may allow reproduction,” said the study’s lead investigator, Yona Greenman.
“This information is important for transgender men and their partners who desire to have their own children,” Greenman said.
The level of the Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) dropped off after 12 months of treatment but remained in the normal range for fertility, said the researchers, who will present their findings at the annual conference of the Endocrine Society in New Orleans this weekend.
The level of this hormone is an indicator of the so-called ovarian reserve and is used by doctors to assess the remaining egg supply.
There seems to be little chance of a reprieve for Kenyans against the ongoing drought even as they expect the long rains to start pouring down later this month.
This is because the drought, which has left at least 1.1 million people in need of urgent food aid, will not be ending soon and may actually spread out according to the latest predictions by the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD).
Cyclone Idai may have killed more than 500 people and devastated thousands in the southern African nations of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, but in Kenya, the storm is expected to leave millions hungrier, according to KMD.
According to the weatherman, the onset of long rains has delayed because the cyclone delayed the movement of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) — a belt of low pressure near the equator, “where trade winds of the northern and southern hemispheres come together” to create favourable conditions for rains.
As the government and food aid agencies continue distributing food and water to starving Kenyans in different parts especially in Turkana, Baringo and some parts of Coast and northern Kenya, more will need food aid in the coming months as the March-April- May rainfall is expected to be short and sparsely distributed.
Although above-average rainfall for most parts of the country was expected except for parts of Eastern Kenya and the Coastal regions in accordance with the Climate Outlook, the situation has abruptly changed due to the cyclone, said KMD in its latest weather update.
“The seasonal rainfall onset was also expected to be timely over several parts of the country. However, a tropical cyclone known as “IDAI” located in the Mozambican Channel has delayed the northward movement of the rain-bearing ITCZ,” said Stella Aura, the Acting director of meteorological services at KMD, in a briefing.
According to the update, “the cyclone significantly reduced moisture influx into the country and led to the continued sunny and dry weather conditions over the better part of the country.”
And more depressing is the fact that there is a possibility of more tropical cyclones which may further delay rains in the eastern parts of the country and prolonged dry spells in the western counties despite timely onset of the rains.
Also in play is the neutral to cooler than average sea surface temperatures along the Kenyan Coast and very warm sea surface temperatures to the east of which contributed to the delay in the establishment of the ITCZ over Kenya.
Former Civic United Front secretary general Seif Sharif Hamad has defected to the Alliance for Change and Transparency -Wazalendo party, ending a three-year leadership wrangle in Zanzibar’s leading opposition party.
Mr Hamad’s defection immediately after the High Court in Dar es Salaam threw out his petition challenging Prof Ibrahim Lipumba’s chairmanship of the Civic United Front was a culmination of behind-the-scenes negotiations with three Tanzania Mainland opposition parties as he sought an exit.
ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe on Thursday joined Mr Hamad in a homecoming tour of Zanzibar where they were expected to visit Mr Hamad’s strongholds in Pemba and Unguja Islands.
The CUF enjoys a near-fanatical following in Zanzibar and made significant inroads into the Mainland during the last general election in 2015, more than doubling its MPs.
Mr Hamad holds commanding sway among party supporters whom ACT-Wazalendo hopes to welcome alongside the man they say has remained steadfast in advancing their interests since the 1990s.
Prof Lipumba, who for years worked alongside Hamad, resigned from the position of party chairman in the heat of the 2015 elections, but returned in 2016 to claim the position.
His faction has accused the government through the Registrar of Political Parties of engineering the split in the party by propping up Prof Lipumba.
Mbarara Maharagande, a former CUF spokesperson, told The EastAfrican that at least one million membership cards had been issued to prospective defectors to ACT-Wazalendo.
“We are confident we will print as many more in the coming weeks,” he said.
Sources said that Mr Hamad’s faction settled for ACT-Wazalendo fearing stiff competition within Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) which was also likely to grapple with its own internal rivalries between their leading lights for the presidential ticket.
Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe hinted they were interested in recruiting Mr Hamad but said they have taken it in their stride his decision to join ACT-Wazalendo.
“We will work with him from his new base to strengthen our unity,” he said.
Awadhi Ali Said, a former president of Zanzibar Law Society said that Mr Hamad’s defection puts ACT-Wazalendo on equal footing with Chadema in coalition-building ahead of the 2020 elections.
“The defection also raises Mr Kabwe’s stake should he choose to run for the Union presidency, with Mr Hamad in Zanzibar,” said Mr Awadhi.
In Chadema, the defection back to CCM of 2015 opposition presidential candidate Edward Lowassa means the party will likely front Mr Mbowe or its firebrand Singida East MP Tundu Lissu for the top seat.
Mr Lissu is currently in Belgium, where he has been receiving treatment from injuries sustained in a failed assassination attempt in September 2017.