August 23 marked 14 years since the death of former vice president Kijana Wamalwa. The alumnus of Cambridge University and London School of Economics was a lawyer and a Shakespeare-quoting lover of classical music and Tom & Jerry cartoons.
After his death, four of Wamalwa’s children — Jabali, Muthoni, William Wamalwa and William Wamalwa Jr — at some point sought legal redress over their father’s estate against their stepmother, Yvonne. The two sons, William Samuel and William Wamalwa Jr, through their sister Alice Muthoni, claim their step mother Yvonne Nambia has failed to account for Ksh3.4 million that was in their father’s briefcase at the time of his death and Ksh36.7 million released by Parliament as his pension.
Wamalwa’s estate comprised 40 acres of land in Trans Nzoia that was valued at Sh4 million, five acres of land in Milimani, Kitale valued at Sh500,000 and maize that was under cultivation on 300 acres in Kitale. At the time of his death, Wamalwa owned a Mercedes Benz 300S and a Range Rover and had an account with Standard Chartered Bank, 20 head of cattle in Kitale and a death gratuity and pension under the Parliamentary Pensions Act.
In a land where the average big politician is a crooked billionaire, Wamalwa’s puny assets describe a politician who was a different kettle of fish altogether.
Those who know him say the former Saboti MP generous to a fault, and that if he walked into a pub with Sh50,000 in his wallet, he was certain to walk out without a coin to his name - having handed out alms to those seeking cash for fees, hospital bills, food and whatnot.
Despite his long career in politics, and a stint as the CEO of a government parastatal, he was living in rented quarters when he was appointed Vice President in 2002.
But a shadow was cast over his integrity when it was reported in Parliament that the deposit for his house in Karen was paid by a firm associated with conman and controversial businessman Ketan Somaia. By the time of his death, he had not completed paying for the house and the government stepped in picked the tub.
The son of a senator, the dashing Wamalwa whose eloquence and mastery of the Queen’s language was bewitching, was known as something as a playboy when he was young Law lecturer at the University of Nairobi.