It’s finally here. The invites are out for over 2,000 high-profile guests with a dress code to boot.
Dubbed the wedding of the year by residents of her county, today’s highly-publicised event will see Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and city lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo formalise their union.
Kiamugumo Primary School was a beehive of activity on Friday as preparations got underway for the invite-only event. Roads leading to the venue were also being upgraded, said Ngariama MCA Erastus Ireri.
There was excitement among residents, who were elated that Ms Waiguru was for the second time hosting such a high-profile celebration in six years at the same venue where she held her thanksgiving ceremony in 2014 upon her appointment as Devolution Cabinet Secretary.
Her triumphant entry then into the sleepy village sent a clear message – that she was not only increasingly powerful and influential, but could also be headed for higher office in the future. President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was in his first year in office then, was among the key guests who graced the ceremony.
Known as ngurario in Kikuyu, today’s occasion is the final part of the Agikuyu traditional wedding rites. Meetings, which were being held at a Nairobi hotel, have been concluded.
Unlike their private dowry ceremony in February, today’s event is expected to attract prominent guests among them political bigwigs as Ms Waiguru’s husband-to-be accompanies his parents to her home. And the couple has left no detail to chance, with the Nation establishing that the dress code for today is “African and smart casual”.
As is customary among the Agikuyu, the ceremony will begin with the slaughtering of a goat by the groom assisted by his friends and relatives. To test how well he knows his wife-to-be, the groom will also have the tough task of identifying his bride from a group of women whose faces will be covered and all clad in identical outfits.
Mr Waiganjo declined to reveal the budget for the function.
JOB OR HONEYMOON
“We have received financial support from family and friends and we thank them for that,” said Mr Waiganjo.
“We have invited between 2,000 and 3,000 people including our friends in leadership positions and the residents of the two counties of Murang’a and Kirinyaga. We cannot say at this point who will come or not, but those who will come will be welcomed,” he said.
According to the lawyer, those without the invitation cards will not be sent away, but will have difficulties getting a seat.
The event, according to Ms Waiguru, will be private. “We will only concentrate on exchanging vows and walking down the aisle,” she said.
She, however, declined to reveal the names of those on the guest list because “we respect their privacy”.
The couple was also not forthcoming on whether they will proceed on honeymoon immediately after the event. “Tell Kenyans to be patient. They will see us gladly serving them come Monday,” said Mr Waiganjo.
Ms Waiguru separately told the Saturday Nation they will balance between their new lives and their respective jobs, suggesting they may not proceed on honeymoon immediately.
The governor’s deputy, Mr Peter Ndambiri, urged residents to turn out in large numbers. He spoke to worshippers at Nyagithuci Catholic Church last Sunday. “I urge you to seek divine intervention for the governor as she gets ready to take the marriage vows,” he said.
Some leaders, however, did not make it to the guest list.
County Woman Representative Wangui Ngirichi and Central MP John Munene have not been invited as well as a section of “rebel” MCAs.
Ms Ngirichi wished Ms Waiguru well. “She should guard her husband because good men are rare to find and that’s why we jealously guard ours,” she said.
But the days ahead of the governor’s big day have not been easy. She had to deal with doctors, nurses and clinical officers who went on strike over “filth” at the hospital. But Ms Waiguru breathed a sigh of a relief after the court declared the strike illegal.
Lawyer Peter Wanyama is also seeking to be paid Sh284 million for legal services offered in the controversial Mwea Settlement Scheme land case.
County leaders have also been on the governor’s case, citing a health crisis and demanding that she resigns.
Stories by Ndung’u Gachane, Joseph Wangui, George Munene and Kennedy Kimanthi