Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika’s meteoric rise in politics suffered a setback yesterday after losing her position as Senate majority whip.
She returned to the country in 2012 after living in the US for 20 years to join the murky Nakuru political waters, where her quick rise to the top baffled both friends and foe.
Ms Kihika, a scion of the late veteran politician Dickson Kihika Kimani, studied law in the US and left a thriving law practice in Texas to venture into local politics.
Within months, she made a name for herself, gracing newspaper headlines as the ‘iron lady’ of Nakuru politics.
But it was baptism by fire when her bid to oust Kimani Ngunjiri as Member of Parliament for Bahati constituency flopped.
This did not dampen her spirit.
Her political star started shining again when she was elected to head the inaugural Nakuru County Assembly in 2013 as the speaker.
She floored 12 men to become the speaker and turned out to be one of the most powerful and influential individuals in Nakuru County politics.
Her abrasive nature at the male-dominated assembly was loved and hated in equal measure.
She stood firm to make sure the assembly delivered on its key responsibilities of oversight and legislation.
Kihika kept the inaugural Governor Kinuthia Mbugua’s administration in check, making many believe that the sky was the limit for her.
In the run-up to the 2017 General Election, Kihika criss-crossed the expansive county in choppers and Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) while campaigning for the Senate seat, much to the chagrin of her competition.
She sustained a high-profile political campaign for almost one and a half years before the General Election.
She brought on board a number of aspirants for Members of County Assembly (MCA) seats and parliamentary aspirants whom she partially sponsored to win various seats.
Her well-oiled senatorial campaign and oratory skills became the envy of many.
She enjoyed total support from Jubilee Party hierarchy, especially Deputy President William Ruto.
Now her support for DP has put her in a precarious political position, as some of her Jubilee Party colleagues and members have accused her, among other Ruto allies, of early 2022 presidential campaigns.
Her replacement yesterday by Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata as the Majority Chief Whip is seen as a major blow to her political career.
Analysts say Kihika’s political career will suffer greatly should the Senate adopt the resolutions to change the Jubilee Senate leadership.
“She had this dream of becoming the third governor of Nakuru County after she easily won the Senate seat in 2017,” says Andrew Nyabuto, a political commentator.
Jubilee leaders allied to Uhuru in the county are also of the opinion that the move to replace Kihika at the Senate leadership will work against her political ambitions.
“She had a very bright future politically, especially in Nakuru County, that will suffer as a result of her being disloyal to the president,” says Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama.
Born in 1974, Kihika attended Bishop Gatimu Ngandu Girl’s in Nyeri before going in the US in 1993 for further studies
She holds a degree in Political Science and Government from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, US.
She also did a Jurist Doctorate Law Degree from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, US.