When Mzee Jomo Kenyatta lapsed into a coma
SEE ALSO :JKUAT develops primary health care modelAccording to Njiru, the founding father of the nation didn’t get the best of medical attention in spite of his advanced age and failing health. The statement had it that Mzee had reached a stage where he could not remember simple things and was unable to sign documents. Njiru would recall the old man fainted at his toilet in Msambweni on August 21, 1978. Kenyans were told the president had “died peacefully in his sleep” but here was an insider talking of near-criminal negligence. According to Njiru, Kenyatta had no surgeon by his side the day he died.
SEE ALSO :Wazee wadai Mzee Kenyatta alikuwa MdigoOn one such occasion, we have it on Ndegwa’s authority, Kenyatta “suffered a blackout at his Mombasa Tiririka residence and remained in a coma for three days. They were three days of uncertainty and when he came out of it… I asked him what had happened, he replied that he had visited “Weru wa Mukaaga meaning an expansive plain where he was all alone.” Kenyatta also suffered bouts of gout. My dictionary defines it as “an extremely painful inflammation of joint’ especially of the big toe, caused by a metabolic defect resulting in the accumulation of uric acid in the blood and the deposition of urates around the joints.” In the statement, Njiru is unhappy that Kenyatta’s handlers allowed him to travel to Msambweni when he was obviously weak. He protested: “To start with, Mzee should not have been allowed to travel to Msambweni on August 21, 1978, to be subjected to the indignity of collapsing in a washroom. As a young information officer, I had been from 1977, assigned to cover all the official functions of Mzee. This critical day, he had lunch will all the Kenyan envoys abroad. This was at State House, Mombasa. I could see the concern of the envoys as Mzee’s speech was a worrying incoherent stutter. The then Minister of State in the Office of the President, Mr Peter Mbiyu Koinange, was at the high table. I cast a furtive glance at him to see his reaction and noticed he was not bothered. This surprised me because Mbiyu was not only Mzee Kenyatta’s minister and confidant but also his brother-in-law. But it was after lunch that things became terrifying. Mzee missed his way out and ended at the dingy caretaker’s office where he caused a commotion among the junior staff as the room was littered with dirty utensils and food leftovers. When he was redirected to his sleeping room, the old man could not make it upstairs. In between the flight of stairs, he ran out of breath and asked for a chair. After a brief rest, he went to his private quarters. After witnessing all this agony, I was convinced that Mbiyu Koinange or the PC Eliud Mahihu or the State House Comptroller Alexander Gitau would cancel the Msambweni function. They didn’t. I believe that Kenyatta’s life would have been saved if immediate medical attention was made available.”
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