Ntimama kin must recognise me as first son, says man
Mr George Kariuki Njoroge guides us from Thika Highway in his car. We are headed to his home in Mugutha, Ruiru.
We turn onto a rough road and drive for about a kilometre to the homestead. We sit outside.
He informs us this is where his mother lived. Mr Njoroge has another home in Muthangari, Nairobi, where his family lives.
He first gained national attention when he went to court to block the burial of former minister William ole Ntimama. He sought to extract DNA from the body for a paternity test.
It was not to be, but he is back in the High Court, seeking to have the body exhumed.
We settle for tea served by his wife. Mr Njoroge’s first wife died in 2008 when the family was displaced during the post-election chaos.
“I know who my father is. I am Ntimama’s son and no one can change that,” he tells us when we state our intentions.
“Though the court failed to side with me and the family is in denial, his blood flows in my veins.”
Contrary to reports that his mother was the Ms Rose Odhiambo who was with him when he was ejected from Ntimama’s home during the burial, Mr Njoroge says his mother — Rebecca Ngibia Wanjiku — died in November 2013.
He says Wanjiku and Ntimama met in Kahuhia where he was studying. He adds that from an account given to him by his mother, Ntimama promised to marry her, but became dodgy when she got pregnant.
He says he was born on January 1, 1956, adding that that was the story told to him in his adulthood after years of pestering his mother.
“I was in my 20s when I started asking questions. She was not keen to provide answers. Eventually, she said I was the son of a prominent man and she feared for our lives if we pursued the issue,” says Mr Njoroge.
He adds that eventually, his mother — who remained single and never got another child — told him Ntimama was his father.
“In 1998, I started the mission to meet with my father. I looked for places he frequented,” he says.
But Mr Njoroge says he feared the powerful man who was an enigma and whose word was almost law.
“Of what use would I be to such a man?” asks Mr Njoroge, who when asked about his schooling and career answers with a sigh: “I was a mischievous child and did not finish school.”
He mumbles something about his mother not being able to discipline him. He deals in land, he says, adding that his days at Kilimani Primary School bore no fruit.
He was at a loss, for a long time on how to approach Ntimama. He says he began to fraternise with people known to be his associates.
“That is how I became a frequent guest at Hotel InterContinental where one of Ntimama’s allies, former assistant minister John Keen, was a patron.
He recollects “the first night I met my father”.
“I was seated by the pool at the hotel. When he arrived, he pulled me into the restaurant and that is when I told him who I was,” he says.
“He was very happy. I could not believe it. After a chat, he led me out using the rear gate and we walked to Nyayo House where he introduced me to Justus ole Tipis, who said we should go to his home in Lavington”.
Mr Njoroge says after they had a meal, he told Ntimama that he needed a small car to sell eggs.
“To my surprise, Tipis said he actually wanted to sell his car and my father bought it at Sh220,000. It happened very fast. I was given a driver home,” he says.
He has a picture of a Datsun 620 pick-up, registration KUS 259 that he claims to be the vehicle in question. He says Ntimama bought him many other cars.
Mr Njoroge says the father-son relation blossomed to the extent that Ntimama gave him money to campaign for his party in Central Province, and that he even encouraged him to vie for a parliamentary seat in Limuru in 2007.
“I gave him a budget. He funded my campaign to the tune of Sh2 million and bought several cars,” says Mr Njoroge.
All this time, according to Mr Njoroge, Ntimama told him to keep the relationship secret “since my father was a family man and a public figure”.
Apparently, Ntimama promised to inform his nuclear family of Mr Njoroge “at an appropriate time”.
He says they met secretly from 1998.
“My mother was elated when I told her that I had linked up with Ntimama,” he says.
AMBUSH HIS FATHER
The man says his mother talked of how bitter she had been about Ntimama’s “betrayal”.
“The old man assisted us financially,” he says.
Mr Njoroge says Ntimama introduced him to many of his friends in Nairobi and Narok counties.
He speaks of often having to “ambush” his father.
“I could not access the family home so I would go and lay in wait at the gate,” says the father to five children — three from his first wife.
He says he would lie in wait at former Nairobi mayor Nathan Kahara’s home next door.
The man who exudes confidence and even speaks of succeeding “his father” in the Narok politics, says Ntimama had promised to introduce him to his Purko clan.
“As far I am concerned, I am the first born of the Ntimama family,” he says.
He lets out a heavy chortle and goes on: “That is why you see every feature of the man in me. The eyelashes, cheeks, chin … everything.”
He brings out Ntimama’s portrait. “Look at this,” he says as he puts the picture alongside his face.
“What do you see? Look at me and look at him,” he pauses and proceeds: “I will stop cutting my hair and dyeing my greys. And you won’t tell the difference between me and him.”
“All I want is for the other family to recognise me. I will battle with this thing until I am accepted as one of his children.”
Asked if he is only pursuing the matter to get inheritance, he has a ready answer: “Mzee left a lot of wealth.”
Mr Njoroge says “his father” showed him some of his properties in Ngong, Karen, Maasai Mara, Mau Narok, Naivasha among others.
He says his relationship with his step-siblings is non-existent.
“Last time the court said that I could get a specimen from one of his other children if I needed DNA. But how do we know that those are his children? I cannot agree to this,” Mr Njoroge tells this journalist.