Murangá woman urges Ruto to fulfil promise of house, two dairy cows 

Shosh wa Ruto

Margaret Njambi, 65, at her Gikandu village home that President William Ruto financed. The house is 80 percent complete .

Photo credit: Mwangi Muiruri I Nation Media Group

A Murang'a woman who says President William Ruto promised her a permanent house and two pedigree dairy cows now wants the promise fulfilled.

"Dr Ruto’s campaigns were about fulfilling promises. In Mt Kenya region, we were facing the greatest test of our faithfulness to keep our promise of voting for him to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta. It's now Dr Ruto's turn to keep his promise to me," said 65-year-old Margaret Njambi, from Gikandu village.

The genesis of Dr Ruto’s promise dates back to January 12 last year, when Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro held a public function at Gikandu Primary School.

Ms Njambi was there, leading a group of 28 women. She was slotted in the programme to address the gathering on their behalf.

In 12 minutes of broken English, the Standard Seven dropout opposed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and the video capturing her presentation went viral.

“What is BBI? We do not know what it is! We are supporters of Dr Ruto and he will become President … I will campaign for him and if I meet him face to face I will call him Mr President,” she said.

Widowed in 2008

As the cheers became wild, even with the MP clapping all along, the grandma, who was widowed in 2008 and is a mother of nine children (seven sons and two daughters aged between 30 and 46) hit one more high note: “Let all of them hear me say this – we only know of Dr Ruto and we do not want BBI.”

And it reached Dr Ruto, who, through Mr Nyoro, invited Ms Njambi to his Karen residence on February 24.

Ms Njambi reveals that she had a rocky relationship with her husband and the two had lived separate lives since 1995.

“I left my home in Gikandu to seek my peace in Murang’a town. But when he died in 2018, I went back home to take charge of the 2.5-acre family land,” she said.

In a tweet, Dr Ruto notified his followers: “I (today) interacted with former quarry worker turned small-scale farmer Margaret Njambi after her video went viral during a Kiharu development meeting where she expressed her interest to meet the Deputy President Macho kwa macho (face to face). I agreed to support her small scale farming.”

It is at that meeting with Dr Ruto, she narrates, that she was promised a permanent two-bedroom house on her marital land and two cows – one lactating and complete with its calf and the other pregnant.

Modern pen

Ms Njambi now says Dr Ruto gave her the details of the project – that the house would be fitted with tiles, a ceiling and a bathroom and be furnished. For the cows, she says she was promised a modern pen for them before they would be delivered.

“As we speak, the house is there, yes, but it has stalled at 80 percent. No toilet, no ceiling and no tiles. There is no pen either for the cows,” she said.

A call to Dr Ruto’s spokesman, David Mugonyi, in July last year was met with the response: “I do not speak on behalf of the project or the masons … the area MP is the one coordinating it and he is better placed to respond.”

United Democratic Alliance (UDA) director of communications Wanjohi Githae referred queries about the project to the head of digital and youth affairs in Dr Ruto campaigns, Mr Dennis Itumbi.

"I am making inquiries and I will revert," Mr Itumbi told Nation.Africa in a WhatsApp message.

Taking the cue from Mr Mugonyi's suggestion that the enquiries be channeled to the masons, we called the contractor – Peter Manyeki – who said the issue was inadequate funding.

Unexpected celebrity

Besides accusing the grandmother of being “disturbed by her unexpected celebrity status”, Mr Manyeki said the blame lies with Dr Ruto's team. 

He explained that the DP donated Sh500,000 for the house and promised to have the cows delivered to her directly from his dairy ranch.

“It is my submission that out of the Sh500,000 Dr Ruto gave her, the house has since exhausted it and Mr Nyoro has topped up with Sh150,000,” he said. 

“The furthest we can go with the resources available cannot include tiles, the toilet and the ceiling. We have done our best with the resources available.”

The only people with information about the cows, he said, are from Dr Ruto’s team because “he said that he would direct that they be delivered from his private ranches”.

Ms Njambi also says Dr Ruto promised to personally open the house once it was completed.

“Go and tell Dr Ruto that I am waiting for him to come and open this house once it is complete. I will never move into it until he guides me into it,” she said.

“He is my guardian angel and the cause for my anxiety is seeing his trustees in this project take me in circles and social media posts by some of his people lying that the cows have been delivered to me.”

Ms Njambi is referring to Dr Ruto's photography team, who, a few weeks before the elections, posted on Facebook that the cows had been delivered to her home. The post had a photograph of two Friesian cows, the house under construction and Ms Njambi chatting with Dr Ruto at his Karen home, with the caption reading "promise delivered".

So optimistic was Ms Njambi about a Dr Ruto presidency that she, alongside her two sons, enrolled in a driving school because she believes she will get at least three jobs in his government.

She sums up that “never worry that your breakthrough is taking too long … God knows at what point to assign you a guardian angel and change your narrative from that of stress to that of relief. In Dr Ruto’s wing lies my breakthrough and that of my family”.

Ms Njambi says she is happy Dr Ruto won the presidency "and I will be patient enough to have him settle down and then remember to fulfil his promise to me".

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