For the last few days, her name has been on local political headlines after she emerged as yet another casualty of the sweet-turned-sour relationship between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
But who exactly is Susan Kihika?
Susan Wakarura Kihika is a Kenyan lawyer and politician, who is the current elected Senator for Nakuru County since 2017.
Before she rose to the upper house, Kihika previously served as the first female elected speaker of the Nakuru County Assembly.
She was born in Nakuru County circa 1974 to Moi-era politician Kihika Kimani and is among the astounding 41 children that her father sired. She was his sixth child with his second wife, Alice.
Susan attended Busara Forest View Academy in Nyahururu and Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girls High School in Nyeri. She then migrated to the United States sometime in 1992, where she furthered her education.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of North Texas.
In 2006, she graduated with a Juris Doctor degree from the Law School of Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Texas, and was subsequently admitted to the Texas Bar, after she passed the requisite examinations.
“Dad wanted us to succeed in our education. He followed our performance keenly,” she said in an interview with The Standard.
Following her graduation from law school, she worked in the public service where she later left and established The Kihika Law Firm in Dallas, Texas.
In 2012, after 20 consecutive years in the United States, Susan finally left and returned to her motherland, Kenya.
In 2013, she contested the Bahati Constituency parliamentary seat but lost. She then went on to beat a field of seven opponents, to emerge as the first Assembly Speaker of Nakuru County.
Susan Kihika is the mother of two daughters, Tiffany and Ashley.
In 2018, it was rumoured that Susan had launched divorce proceedings against her husband Kiongozi Sam Mburu due to his “unending party lifestyle and a string of girlfriends”.
The glamour couple has long been known as the political appointment of Deputy President William Ruto in the vast and vote-rich Nakuru County region.
Local tabloids back then reported that the marital crisis had erupted in early July when Mburu was being hunted down by DCI officers to record a statement over illicit sugar imports. The closure of his businesses and bank accounts thereafter reportedly drove Mburu into depression, which in turn made him take to heavy drinking leading to unending wrangles with the Senator.
Mburu’s adulterous lifestyle coupled with heavy drinking reportedly left Senator Kihika mentally and physically broken.
So affected was Susan Kihika that she scaled down her political activities in the Senate that year and was hardly ever seen in DP Ruto’s weekend campaign tours in which she used to be a prominent feature.
The wheeler-dealer who trades out of the Port of Mombasa under the name of Landmark Logistics, and whom the DP has variously used to import and dump large quantities of illicit sugar into the local market, Mburu was at one time forced to go underground when detectives started hunting down importers of tainted sugar.
Later that year, Mburu was arrested by DCI officers over the alleged link to a Sh64 million fraud scam where the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) seized 6 high-end vehicles belonging to the businessman.
Through his company Landmark Freight Services Limited, Mburu was accused of colluding with KRA officials and two other companies (Gendipe Enterprises and Rupai Trading Limited) to conceal imported goods and evade taxes.
A married Mburu and the son of a charcoal seller from the Solai area of Nakuru met Senator Kihika, a single mother of two, during the colourful 2012-2013 Jubilee campaigns when the Senator returned to Kenya from her twenty-year hiatus in the USA.
After the elections which Jubilee controversially won, the friendship between the two blossomed into a full love affair eventually leading to a nasty divorce between Mburu and his first wife Beatrice Wanjiku.
Susan who is at least a decade older than her husband is said to be his third wife.
In 2017, Susan was accused of being hostile to her step-children by Beatrice, who moved to the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Nairobi to dispute her husband’s plea for their children’s custody where she claimed that Susan hates them.
Wanjiku’s affidavit dated April 2016 was in response to Sam Mburu’s application to alter the consent order of custody of children that was issued in 2013.
It explained how the two children go through a hard time when they visit her ex-husband.
Susan was accused of violently swearing and distancing herself from the children.
“The children have complained to me about the applicant’s wife who hates the children, orders them away from her, and violently swears at them that she never wants to see them again. When the stepmother is asked why she behaves that way, she says the children are grumpy,” read the affidavit in part.
Beatrice further told the court that giving Sam custody over their children is subjecting them to the whims and mercies of “an absentee dad, stepmother, mistress, or simply other women”.
Beatrice who left her job to manage their family business claimed that he was engaging in reckless sexual relationships, thereby endangering their lives and had left their matrimonial home, leaving her and the children to fend for themselves.
The late Hon Kimani Kihika
Away from family squabbles, Susan Kihika is said to be a refined reincarnation of her father. Ambitious and a political firebrand, Susan is slowly emerging as an “Iron Lady” of Nakuru County politics.
In a six-page handwritten letter by her late father Kihika Kimani dated October 28, 2002, she is praised as his favourite daughter.
The 46-year-old was given 10 acres and described as a good girl. “This is the girl I love the most. She did me good in America,” read the first page of the letter.
Kihika left behind eight wives and 41 children. The patriarch of the family died in 2004 at the age of 78, leaving behind over 1,000 acres of land for his family in Nakuru and Njoro. He also owned 1,000 acres in Rumuruti, Laikipia.
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