The cards, shiny and embossed with cowry shells, have been dispatched and Anne’s dress - a traditional Agikuyu outfit - has been ironed and folded
Anne Mumbi Waiguru and her soon to be husband Kamotho Waiganjo epitomise the lyrics to Kenny Roger’s song “Love will turn you around…”
There was a time they denied their love for each other, and dismissed any report that saw passion whenever they were sighted together. Not anymore.
Today, in a multitude of what they say will be a crowd of about 4,000 people, they will tie the knot in a traditional wedding and they will officially become husband and wife.
“It is expected in the Kikuyu culture to observe the rights of passage, of which marriage makes a part. It is also to honour our parents and the extensive Mt Kenya community,” says Anne, who now prefers to be called Mumbi, abandoning her ex-husband Waiguru’s name that she has popularly gone by.
She says she is ready for a new beginning.
Kamotho says the large number is deliberate. It is a sign that their love is strong and they are not ashamed of coming before a crowd to say they are entering the marital life together. They are taking a fresh shot at love after both of them went through divorce in recent past.
“We have gotten many comments from people who think we are hiding our feelings for each other. We will have our ceremony in a public event to show people that we have nothing to hide,” he says.
The cards have been dispatched. Shiny and embossed with cowry shells on the top. Anne says her dress has been ironed and folded; a traditional Agikuyu outfit to go with the theme. Kamotho laughs saying guests should be assured that rice will be in plenty; alongside other delicacies.
The guest list has been checked, and it is packed with politicians and friends from their social scenes.
Even as they prepare for their big day, questions on whether Anne, the Kirinyaga governor, will now spend more time in her matrimonial county of Muranga are asked online and off the net.
Ever since they made the grand revelation of their engagement in February this year, talks on how her marriage will affect her political ambitions abound. “Why is it that people only asks about where someone is married if it is a woman? Male politicians marry all the time and nobody makes it a big deal,” says Kamotho, coming to her defence, like he said in previous interviews that he has always done so when Anne’s name seeps into conversations that taint her image.
Anne says the question on relocating to Kirinyaga should not arise, and that she will continue dispensing her duties regardless of where she is married. She admits that she is excited about her wedding. The thoughts of the numerous possibilities that the marriage holds is new to her.
She says the wedding will be a great addition to what she refers to as an amazing journey they have been in. She says she does not have the jitters and anxiety that most new brides always have.
“We have been best friends and partners for 10 years. Very little will change after the wedding,” she says. Sceptics, however, say the wedding might tilt things for her political ambition, and that people in Kirinyaga might start viewing her as an outsider. On why they decided to make the wedding public, a sharp contradiction to the ‘ruracio’ (engagement party) earlier this year done in great secrecy including warning people against taking photos, Kamotho says when a man is going to meet her bride’s family, it is an intimate moment that should not be plastered all over social media.
He says he has undergone all the rites set by Kikuyu traditions when asking for a woman’s hand in marriage. He took jars of honey to her home, identified her in a crowd of other women, negotiated the bride price and paid dowry. He is not willing to reveal how much dowry he paid.
“Dowry does not tell a woman’s worth. I was not buying her. I was just showing her family some appreciation,” he says.
On today’s event, Kamotho says the guest list is full of politicians, and the fact that it will be at Kiamugumo Primary School which is an open ground makes it inevitable that things may turn political.
He does not feel shortchanged that his big day will be peppered with political speeches and innuendos. He says he proposed to Anne knowing well that she is a politician, and he is willing to stick by her and watch her pursue her passion.
After the traditional wedding, Anne says they are planning to have a small church wedding at a later date, possibly at the end of the year.
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