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

By Robert Kiplagat | November 3rd 2017 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

Ole Gilisho family at Ng'oswani in Narok West Sub County. The family will receive bride price for its daughter Mosana who is President Uhuru Kenyatta's great grandmother. PHOTO:ROBERT KIPLAGAT

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  his father's grandmother, identified as Mosana, a visit in Narok to settle her bride price after more than two centuries.

At the home of the Gilisho family in Narok West Sub County, preparations are already in top gear ahead of the visit by the first family on 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.

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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 the 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 irregularity by settling the old debt.

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 according to Maasai culture during the ceremony.

“We are working tirelessly to ensure the day is a success. Everything will, however, be done according to Maasai culture,” said Chief Gilisho.

He said a special black-and-white bull will be slaughtered and its meat dried on 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 were not taking chances as they did not want to be caught flat-footed.

Traditional Maasai attire (red sarongs) 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 beaded belt called ‘inyatta’ in Ma. The name Kenyatta is derived from "inyatta".

Captain Kung’u and Ngengi are sons of James Muigai, hence Uhuru’s first cousins and Mosana (Wanjiru) their great grandmother.

 “Kenyatta lived in Naroosura during the whole period of first-world war.

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Uhuru Kenyatta bride price grandmother
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