How is your family?
Family is good. It is the best part of life, actually. By ‘family’ I am assuming you mean the first unit and children. You know family can be quite extensive.
You said recently in an interview that marriage is a sweet thing. How sweet is it?
You can tell from my face. I have been well. I have gained a few kilos, maybe 12. perhaps I will lose them during the campaigns, but so far marriage is great. Kamotho (the husband, Kamotho Waiganjo) is a great guy. Many of you do not know that we have been together for over 11 years now, you guys just know the marriage part. For the public, counting must has started when you made the union public.
What took you so long to do so?
We were never in hiding, actually; you just chose not to see us. We have been together for a very long time, so it is not really a new thing. The only new thing is that we formalised it, mostly because of politics, in the sense that, you know, people like to misconstrue something that is not formalised. They can start coming up with funny stories. Otherwise, there is really nothing that has changed. We have an interesting life.
You have a busy schedule. How do you balance work and family life?
It can be strenuous but I have always been very deliberate in all my years about a work-life balance. I do not take politics as a matter of life and death like other people. So I am very clear; I work very much like a technocrat, from Monday to Friday. I do not do politics on weekends, unless I have something really important that I have to do. On Sundays we go to church here in Nairobi. I hardly do church upcountry, and I hardly do politics in church as a matter of principle.
You are not the Governor in the house?
No, I am not! And not just in the house; the moment I’m out of the county I cease to be one. My friends call me Ann. They do not call me Your Excellency. And Kamotho’s friends call me Mumbi, not even Waiguru! Children call me Mum… his children call me Ann. We have a blended family. Even here at home, the house helps just know I am a governor by virtue of the newspapers. On Saturdays we usually have a family breakfast here because our family is large and the children have moved out of home. This house is very empty. We still run two homes by the way in Nairobi, because Kamotho still has his home in Runda. The children live in their own houses. We do not have small children. Two of our children are married and we meet on Saturday mornings for breakfast at times. That is why I am always around every Saturday morning. We catch up, play cards, some of us go to play golf, others go to watch a movie in the afternoon. Sundays are exclusively mine and Kamotho’s. Even the children know that. Saturdays are for the whole family, but Sundays are ours. Parents have this emptiness when they get older. Sometimes back we used to drive around. It is only now that I have stopped doing it because I have become too public and people recognise me. We used to just drive out, reach the gate and ask; left or right? If we say left, we would drive left and when we reach a junction ask whether left or right and drive the direction we decide again. You would find us in Ukambani in some place called Ndalas (laughs). But nowadays we hardly do that. There was a time we actually packed our bags and kept asking ‘left or right’ and we went all the way to Uganda. We had no fixed destination, we just went.
Do you miss that life?
Yes, I do. Oh God I do.
How does it feel being in this big house, this big compound, with no kids and mostly alone?
It is sad. Really sad. I am clingy, yesterday I was following my son to his house. I am sure he was wondering what was wrong as he kept asking me if I was okay. I said I was okay. I had carried left-overs from Kirinyaga for them and they were like: “Mum, you know we cook here.” It is sad in the respect that kids are leaving. Kids grow and you eventually have to release them. They are now living in various parts of the country. I have heard some have ambitions of living abroad. It is quite sad in the sense that you can actually be alone for some time. For example, right now there is nobody I can talk to, unless I go and disturb the house-helps in the kitchen. It is a good thing for children to grow up, for you to see them on their feet. It is a good thing seeing them running their own lives with their wives, but it is a sad thing that they have gone. I mean, you are no longer their priority. They have spouses, their wives are number one, not you. Before it was Mum, now there is a sweetheart, a darling. Now you call them and they say they are not available and ask if you can reschedule for later.
Read the full interview on Oct 17 Sunday Nation