CULTURE: NGABURÎ – VIBRANT TOWN WHICH WAS RENAMED ‘RUNYENJES’

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CULTURE: NGABURÎ – VIBRANT TOWN WHICH WAS RENAMED ‘RUNYENJES’
It is the second largest town in Embu County today, lying 26KM North-east of Embu town, along the Embu – Meru highway is Runyenjes town which boasts of a vibrant trading center, several learning institutions, hotels and is surrounded by magnificent touristic sites. However, unbeknown to many, the real name of Runyenjes town is ‘Ngaburî’, but it was renamed ‘Runyenjes’ in honor of a powerful Paramount Chief named Rûnyenje wa Mûkobo. Chief Rûnyenje was born in Rûgusa area, near the present day Rûnyenjes town and ruled the region between 1906 -1939. Details of the process that saw Rũnyenje become a Paramount Chief are not readily available but sources within the family have it that he was recruited by the early European administrators who wanted to establish an administrative post around Runyenjes. Initially, they had asked Rûnyenje to accompany them to Mbeere as a guide. However, upon returning, Rûnyenje had won the confidence and trust of the Europeans owing to his demonstrated ability and therefore, they installed him as a Chief, a post he held until his demise in 1939. In addition to his administrative duties, the Chief was an elder among his people and a committed family man. He had more than ten wives and a host of elder friends and relations. Family sources trying to reconstruct their ancestral lineage trace the patriarch of the family as Mareru. Mareru had two sons Mũtema and Mũkobo. Mũkobo had a son Rũnyenje and a daughter Mwarwa Mũkobo. These two had cousins Mũnoi and Masaria. The two family branches have remained close to this day although many of the more recently born family members do not know each other yet. Today, Runyenjes is renowned for its fiery politicians including Njagî Mbarire, Kamwithi Munyi, Njeru Kathangu, Stanley Kîthûng’a, Cecily Mbarire as well as Embu County Governor Martin Wambora. It is also home to Kenya’s first ever ‘Mûkûrino (turbaned) M.P, Eric Muchangi. Runyenjes is also home to many beautiful sceneries namely; hills and rivers as well as renowned academic institutions including Moi high school Mbirurî and Sacred heart Kyeni. The social, economic and political amenities in Runyenjes today lie in abundance, thanks to Chief Rûnyenje wa Mûkobo who donated land on which Runyenjes stands and after which the region is named. Paramount Chief Rûnyenje wa Mûkobo, an outstanding ancestor of the Embu people and seriously Emberian..

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