Susan Wakarura Kihika, the sweet-faced political science and law graduate and the current Nakuru County Speaker has declared interest in the 2017 senatorial race.
Her well-oiled campaign which started sometime in February 2015 has wowed many, including those contesting against her. Those privy to her campaign strategy claim that she spends not less than Sh500,000 at any given time for the seat she declared she must win come August 8.
Her opponents, left feeling the heat have started questioning the source of Kihika’s wealth.
In April last year, members of a civil society group called on the anti-graft agency to investigate the county speaker for using a helicopter to do early campaigns ahead of the 2017 elections. Led by Nakuru Residents Accountability Forum Chairman James Kimani, they called on the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate the source of money the speaker is using for her flashy campaigns.
The daughter of the late maverick politician Kihika Kimani was being accused of dishing out huge amounts of money during public functions as she campaigns to be the next Nakuru senator. She dismissed these allegations as malicious.
Earlier in May, Kihika had used a helicopter to fly to events presided over by Deputy President William Ruto during his tour of the region.
“She might have spent at least Sh5 million in a span of two days, while we still demand a lot from her as the speaker,” one of her opponents whined.
But as the civil society activist continue to speculate on Kihika’s change of fortune, those in the know say the power behind Kihika’s financial might- is none other than a mysterious businessman called Sam Mburu.
“I suspect her campaign is being funded by the wealthy businessman called Kiongozi (to read Mburu),” said a close ally of the speaker who did not wish to be named.
The little-known Mburu is described as a wealthy, humble, down to earth and generous man. Mburu — also known as Kiongozi (Kiswahili word for leader) is allegedly a close associate of Deputy President William Ruto — and is often seen in his company especially during public events across the Rift Valley region.
Mburu is a man of few words and IS always in the company other young men whose extravagant lifestyle, sources say, he finances. This is the man said to be sponsoring Kihika’s high profile campaign — complete with Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and occasionally, a helicopter.
One of the aspirants claimed since she was appointed Speaker of the County Assembly, Kihika has earned a total income of Sh70million.
“How can you earn about Sh70 million as speaker of County Assembly but plan to spend 500 million shillings on your campaign for Senator of Nakuru County? Even the president does not seem to spend so much money with so much abandon,” said the aspiring senator who did not want to be named.
Although Mburu has declined to comment on his relationship with Kihika, those who know the two claim that Mburu has visited the family of the late Dixion Kihika Kimani — the maverick politician of the Jomo Kenyatta and Moi eras.
When contacted for comment about her relationship with Mburu, Kihika said, “My private life, should just remain as such; private.”
Kihika, a mum of two daughters, has kept her family life private and rarely speaks about her immediate family in public. It is alleged that Mburu is a divorcée who parted ways with his wife due to irreconcilable differences. Mburu, a shrewd business with strong connection in the Jubilee government, runs a clearing and forwarding company in Mombasa. Details of Mburu’s source of wealth are still scanty but before he ‘struck gold,’ he was soft-drinks distributor at Shabaab estate in Nakuru.
He is known to be generous and contributes to harambees and other social events especially.
In the run up to the last General Elections, Mburu was actively involved in the United Republican Party (URP) campaigns and was instrumental in the formation of a party youth league in Nairobi County which was later incorporated in the presidential campaigns.
The soft spoken trader hails from Solai in Nakuru County where his parents were charcoal burners.
Kihika went to the United States of America after secondary school where she studied and practised law, rising to the position of a district attorney. After a 20-year stint in the US, she returned to Kenya in 2012.
“Politics was not in my agenda then,” she says of her entry into the country’s political arena in 2013 when she contested and lost the Bahati parliamentary seat.a
But people who knew her late father had convinced her to run for political office and “continue my father’s political legacy,”she said in a previous interview.