This Uhuru is not Kenya’s president. He is three years old. His mother is a tomato seller. But both Uhurus coincidentally share a birthday, October 26.
Wangechi,43, named her son after the one person who inspires her. The mother of three proudly calls herself ‘Mama Uhuru’ and everyone at Kiawairigi says the little boy is her life.
On October 15, 2017 during a campaign rally at Karatina Stadium, Wangechi was able to catch a glimpse of President Uhuru for the first time.
Having her son named after the president earned her a mention and even a handshake from the president, a day she cherishes to date.
“The MC at the rally called out my son’s name and introduced me to the president. I shook his hand and he told me that he was very busy with campaigns but after the elections we would talk. I was speechless.”
But Mama Uhuru now says her decision to name her son after Kenya’s fourth president has had dire consequences: her husband left her and family relationships became frosty.
“When I found out I was pregnant, I told my partner who threw me out because he had another family and was not willing to take in more responsibility,” Wangechi told The Nairobian, adding that, “I prayed to God to give me a little boy and when he was born, I knew instantly he was going to be a great man in future and I made the decision.”
But without financial support from the baby daddy, she returned to her maternal home where she was welcomed by a hostile mother and 11 siblings.
“I came here when my son was only a year old, and even though they took him in for a few months, they could not understand why I named my son after a person who is not a member of the family,” recalls Wangechi, adding that efforts to gain acceptance were futile and her brothers and mother finally kicked her out.
Her family insisted that she name the son after her brother or one the relatives or move out and live with her son’s kin.
Her mother, Margaret Wangui, admits kicking her daughter and grandson out.
“She left me to raise her two sons. The older one is 20 while the younger one is 17 years. That was over 10 years ago. I had to struggle to make ends meet to keep my grandchildren in school,” Wangui told The Nairobian, adding that her daughter’s return with a son named after the president was the final straw.
“I couldn’t understand how she had the audacity to bring me another child to raise after close to two decades of being away. There was no way I was going to risk taking in a child with such a prominent name.”
Upset with Wangechi and her failure to provide an explanation, or name the child after one of her kin, her family showed her the door.
Desolate and abandoned, she sought solace at a local evangelical church which agreed to rent her a two-roomed wooden house in Kiawairigi where she sells tomatoes.
Elizabeth Thoithi from whose shop Wangechi sells her produce says “she lives for her son. If you see Uhuru playing here just know his mother is not far and is keeping a close eye on him from a distance.”