May 16 will forever remain engraved in the memory of Esther Muthoni, not only as the day she bid farewell to her more than 10 friends who died in the Patel Dam tragedy, but also as the day she had a surprise encounter with the President.
The 65, had arrived at the funeral service for the 47 victims of the Patel Dam tragedy held in Solai, and which was attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and many other top Government officials.
During the service, members of the Women’s Guild were tasked to collect offerings and Muthoni happened to be among them. After collecting the offerings she handed over her basket to the preacher and walked back to her seat. It was at this moment that Muthoni caught the attention of millions of Kenyans who were following the event being broadcast live on TV stations.
“I happened to be the only one using a different path after handing over the offerings. A well-built man stood up and held my right hand. As he led me towards my seat another man held my left hand, making me feel uneasy,” said Muthoni.
It was at this point that she looked into the face of the two men only for her to realize that the man on her left was the Head of State, who after holding her hand, induced a handshake, which she responded to quite casually. “At first I thought this was just a dream, but when we looked at each other in the eye, I was elated, but fear soon gripped me. I became confused not knowing whether to move on or go back and use a different path,” she said.
As she pondered what to do next, Muthoni was seen by hundreds of mourners in attendance and captured on camera, her mouth wide open in shock before she buried her face in her palms and walked away without uttering a word. The President’s reaction also caught the public’s attention, as he continued tapping his feet to the rhythm of Carol Wanjiru’s live performance of her vernacular worship song, which he once sang on radio during his 2017 campaigns.
“Flashbacks of the brief moment I had with the President kept coming throughout the service. I was unable to speak to anyone, including my daughter who was seated next to me, during the service. My conscience told me that I had done a terrible mistake,” she said.
Muthoni wants to apologize to the President and have an opportunity to properly shake his hand. She has, therefore, invited Uhuru to her house next time the President visits the area. “Despite all the congratulatory messages I have been receiving, I still feel guilty. I feel I need to tender my apology to him through a proper encounter. I welcome him to have chicken for lunch when he comes to issue title deeds that he promised,” said Muthoni, who rears indigenous chicken.
(Courtesy, the Standard)