African Press International (API)

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Widow recalls her big day with the President

Posted by African Press International on September 21, 2007

By Cyrus Kinyungu

As she welcomed President Kibaki to her modest home in Matisi village, Webuye, Bungoma East District, her heart pounded with joy and excitement.

She appeared a little nervous at first, but a light smile on the Presidents face as he warmly shook her hand calmed her nerves.

widow_210907.jpgPresident Kibaki listens to Mama Rosemary Njali Namalwa, a resident of Matisi village in Webuye, Bungoma East District, on Wednesday. The President visited the widow during his tour of Western Province.
Picture Isaac Wale

Kibakis casual talk, confessed Mrs Roselyne Namalwa Njali, 52, made her free to talk with the Head of State.

The President engaged the widow in a cheerful conversation that made the woman smile all through.

The President had taken a detour from his campaign trip and paid a surprise visit on the widows homestead, which is along the Webuye-Bungoma highway.

President Kibaki, in a change of tactic, was in for a door-to-door campaign. And Namalwa became the first to host the President.

Bwana yangu alikufa 1991 na nimekuwa nikilea na kuwasomesha watoto wangu saba kutokana na hii shamba (My husband died in 1991 and I have been bringing up my seven children and educating them from this farm),” she told the President who nodded and said “watasoma wote” (they will all get educated).

Dressed in a flowery skirt, a white blouse with a pink shawl strapped around her shoulders, Namalwa was all smiles as she was introduced to the First Lady Lucy Kibaki.

With a slight bow and holding her right hand with her left one, as a show of respect, Namalwa greeted the First Lady and told her “karibu“.

She went on, “Baba nimefurahi sana kuona unaweza kumkubuka mama kama mimi (I am so happy to see you could remember a woman like me),” she told the President.

The security detail that surrounded them as she walked the President through her compound with about six houses did not seem to bother her.

“You told us to work hard and this is my farm where I have been working to feed and educate my children from,” she told the President.

In the six-acre farm, Namalwa says she plants sugarcane in three acres and other food crops such as maize, bananas and vegetables in the other three. She also has a cow and its calf, which were grazing in the compound.

President has done a lot

The widow became an instant hit in the village as she hosted dozens of dignitaries who had accompanied the President. They included the Vice-President, Mr Moody Awori, and seven ministers.

“Nimefurahia sana kwa Rais wetu kuja kunitembelea. Nani hawezi kufurahi akitembelewa na Rais?” (I am so happy for the President to visit me. Who wouldnt be happy if the President visited them?),” she said as neighbours congratulated her for hosting Kibaki.

Ametufanyia kazi nzuri sana. Sasa tunapata pesa kutoka kwa kilimo chetu. Mimi napata pesa za miwa kila baada ya wiki mbili (He has done a lot of good work for us. We are now able to get money from our farms. I now get money from my sugarcane after every fortnight),” she said.

As she walked back to her house, Namalwa said: “I am so happy. I feel excited. I will vote for Kibaki.”

Asked why she would vote for him, Namalwa said the President has done a lot for wananchi.

“I have educated four of my children in primary school free because of him and he encouraged me to work even harder,” she told The Standard.

She says one of her sons is studying engineering at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

She says her MP, who is also the Minister for Local Government, Mr Musikari Kombo and the Provincial Administration requested her the previous night to host the President.

“I was very happy to have the opportunity. How can your father visit you and you fail to welcome him?” she wondered, adding she was glad to host him.

Lifted and published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel +4793299739 or +4763002525 source.standard.ke

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