At exactly 1pm last Saturday, Emurua Dikirr Kanu lawmaker, Johanna Ng’eno, stepped on the red carpet to a rapturous applause, to officially bid farewell to bachelorhood in a wedding that amplified thirst for ethnic cohesion between the Maasai and Kipsigis in Narok County.
Minutes later, his bride, lawyer Naiyanoi Ntutu, niece to Ng’eno’s close political friend and confidant Interior Chief Administrative Secretary Patrick Ntutu, walked on the same red carpet. She was escorted by her parents Mr and Mrs Livingstone Ntutu and her uncle.
The 45-year old MP’s face lit into a smile, which he spotted throughout the five-hour ceremony. The guest list was rich; Deputy President William Ruto led half of Rift Valley’s top political class in congratulating the legislator’s move to enter into matrimony.
ODM leader Raila Odinga cut short his meeting in Kisii County and skipped a political event in Kakamega to bless his friend’s wedding.
The bride and groom landed at the venue of the ceremony in helicopters. Ng’eno was the first to land at the school grounds escorted by colleagues, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi and his Belgut counterpart Nelson Koech, before the ceremony kicked off.
Clad in an eye-catching white cotton shirt decorated in Maasai beads, a black trouser and dark suede shoes to match, he was accompanied by his excited mother, Mary Temas, to officially receive the bride from her parents.
Ng’eno took a few seconds to unveil his fiancé whom he had proposed to about three months ago. He pulled back the veil of the glittering white wedding gown to the applause of the large crowd of guests.
Reverend Stephen Ayienda of Baptist Church of Kenya officiated the ceremony, guiding the lovebirds through the exchange of marital vows and wedding rings. “I do,” both of them said in many words. Then came the arguably much-awaited ‘kiss the bride’ moment after the signing of the marriage certificate.
Ngeno smiled shyly and looked down, sending everyone into prolonged laughter. He, however, gathered courage and, holding his wife’s face in his palms, kissed her gently and surveyed her 1’6” physique with an intimate smile.
Instead of the usual politics given the guest list, laughter and music rent the air when the reception kicked off. The legislator is known by many to hail from a humble background.
The community had contributed for him to go to Ukraine to study. Some chided him for having taken long before finally settling down. Energy Cabinet Secretary, Charles Keter, the master of ceremony in charge of the high table guest list took to the podium and praised the MP for the event and decision to marry.
He also heaped praises on the Ntutu family for allowing their daughter to get married to the Kipsigis community. “I thank the family of Ntutu for giving us a wife with a good heart. This marks an important step for the two communities to address their differences mainly influenced by competition for natural resources,” he said, before inviting Narok governor Samuel Tunai to speak.
He too, reaffirmed the message. “We look forward to disputes being sorted out more amicably,” said Tunai, remarks that were also reiterated by his Bomet counterpart Joyce Laboso, before she went on to preside over the cutting of the wedding cake. She described herself as the MP’s godmother when she served as Sotik legislator.
The deputy president, who had to rush to another event, was invited to speak prior to departing. “People from far and wide have come to witness this occasion after several years of waiting. Indeed you have proved yourself a gentleman by getting married.
Congratulations my friend,” Ruto said, and advised the legislator to tone down on politics now that he was married, and concentrate on his wife. “I am happy you can now settle down as a family man. The problems we had with you in the past are now over.
You are now an elder. Welcome to the club,” added Ruto. The DP left guests in stitches when he told the couple; “The Jubilee administration rolled out a programme to foot maternity bills…and I’m glad my friend knows about it. Sasa wewe tia bidii (now work hard).
The people here have supported you a lot in large numbers. It is now your turn to ensure that in future, the voters will include your own children,” he quipped, then announced President Uhuru Kenyatta’s congratulatory message, and that the president promised to host the couple at State House. Ruto also pledged to deliver a bull as a gift to the couple.
Raila, who arrived in the nick of time as the event was entering its last stage, said as a long-term friend of the Kanu MP, Ng’eno had repeatedly brought to his attention the fact that he was getting old and should find himself a wife. “He looked for me and insisted I must attend his wedding, as he had finally found the love of his life. I am happy for him,” Raila said.
The Ntutus said they had chided the MP for a long time to get married because they thought time was running out for him. “But we did not know that we were pushing you to come and marry our daughter,” said CAS Patrick, who spoke on behalf of the others.
Former minister Julius Sunkuli said for a long time, Ng’eno used to visit the Sunkulis, who thought he could be eyeing one of their sublings for marriage, but got surprised that he had his eyes elsewhere. “Anyway, you have married when you have seen everything in this world. Congratulations,” he added.
MPs who spoke welcomed their colleague to the club of the married. “We want you to ensure your wife has delivered a child every year. There is no need for you to adhere to family planning methods since you married late,” said Murang’a Women Rep Sabina Chege.
Leader of majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale said Ngeno had been a senior bachelor in Parliament and that he was difficult to deal with. “At least we now know who to call when you give us a rough time in parliament. Men are tough out here, but most coil their tails before their wives,” Duale added.
His Senate counterpart Kipchumba Murkomen said insults previously directed at his colleague on his marital status would now come to an end. Former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto said the wedding was significant and came at the right time.
“God’s time is the best time. If waiting for more than 30 years meant that you get a beautiful lady like this one, then it was the best thing you did. Congratulations,” said Ruto.