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Why veteran politician Kenneth Matiba will be remembered

By Timothy Makokha | Published Sun, April 15th 2018 at 21:33, Updated April 15th 2018 at 21:36 GMT +3
Kenneth Matiba
Kenneth Matiba

Veteran politician Kenneth Matiba will be remembered for his role in the struggle for multi-party democracy in Kenya.

For instance in July 1990, he was arrested and detained without trial at the Kamiti Maximum prison with Raila Odinga and Charles Rubia for demanding the re-introduction of multiparty democracy in Kenya.  

The arrest came ahead of a planned political rally on July 7th that year by the opposition leaders that was to be staged at Kamkunji grounds in a bid to end former president Moi's one-party state system.

When he returned from UK where he had been hospitalised after suffering a stroke while in detention, activists and opposition leaders by then organized a big event as homecoming of multiparty hero.

Former cabinet minister and FORD-Asili chairman Kenneth Stanley Njindo Matiba boycotted presidential elections in 1997 to protest the alleged rigging of 1992 general election in which he emerged second.

Daniel arap Moi, who was the incumbent, had trounced a crowded opposition field that included Raila’s father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Kenya’s third President Mwai Kibaki.

While in detention, Mr Matiba suffered stroke but government officials were not bothered to get him medical help.

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An angry Matiba vowed to boycott Parliament to protest the ‘theft’ of his victory and for five years he made technical appearances in Parliament to merely preserve his Kiharu parliamentary seat.

The High Court on Friday 29th September 2017 enhanced compensation to be paid to multiparty hero Kenneth Matiba to Sh945 million over his illegal arrest and detention. The court had earlier ordered the state to pay Matiba Sh504 million.

Matiba became a senior civil servant at age 31. Before Kenya attained independence in December 1963, he became the first indigenous African Permanent Secretary for Education.

In 1964, Matiba was appointed Permanent Secretary for Commerce under Minister Mwai Kibaki.

Matiba was chairman of the Kenya Football Federation from 1974 to 1978, and was elected to Parliament in the 1983 general elections from the Mbiri Constituency (later renamed Kiharu) in Muranga District.

He served as Minister of Transport and Communications under the KANU administration led by President Daniel arap Moi before resigning in December 1988.

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