Second liberation hero had on Christmas Day in 2018 told his family to prepare for this year’s fete without him.
What mourners who will today attend Charles Rubia’s burial in Karigoini in Murang’a County may not know is that the multi-party crusader foresaw his death.
In an exclusive interview with KTN that aired last night, Rubia’s first born son Michael revealed that his father spoke of his death a year ago.
Rubia, who died last Sunday, had on Christmas Day in 2018 told his family to prepare for this year’s celebrations without him.
“My time is up. You are now big people with families. This is the last family Christmas we are having in my home in Karen. From today onwards, prepare for your Christmas without me,” Michael recalled what their father told them.
Michael said the father of multi-party democracy would, during his lifetime, warn family members over certain things, and those who went against his word always regretted.
Another pointer that the old man knew that his time on earth was up was when he told his other son that he missed his wife Hannah Muthoni, who died 20 years ago.
“Dad met with my brother Maurice last month for lunch and told him he was missing our mother, but didn’t know the reason,” Michael said.
He recalled the last moments with his father at his Karen home.
“I went to his home at 5pm the day before he died and we drove to the shopping centre. He drove his car and bought some toiletries. We returned to his house, had tea as we chatted and I left at around 6.30pm,” Michael recalled.
The following day, Michael was called and told his father had not woken up to have breakfast.
“We rushed there and found his door locked. We called him but he didn’t respond. We broke the door and found him dead,” said Michael.
He said Rubia died without being admitted to hospital, save for the one time he went to London for an operation.
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Michael remembers his father as a disciplined person who always urged his children to work hard and achieve their dreams.
“He advised us to learn in order to expand our knowledge. He told us that one university degree was not enough because the world was very competitive. He was never wasteful and never thought he was wealthy,” said Michael.
He added: “I returned from the US and rented a council house in Valley Arcade. My dad was the minister for local government. When he learnt of my position, he ordered me to leave the rented house because I was not working for the city council. He equally rebuked people who approached him to cut deals,” Michael recalled.
As a family, the Rubias had it rough when their father was arrested in 1991 for agitating for multi-party democracy.
“It was a lonely time for us for the nine months he was in prison. Even his closest friends shunned us. No one wanted to be associated with us. Our clients cancelled our businesses and we were unable to supply beer to most hotels. We were trailed every day,” said Michael.
Michael however remembers that the old man had prepared them before his arrest.
“He called us and informed us that he was going to make a statement together with the now late Kenneth Matiba and knew he would be arrested,” said Michael.
He said his father loved gospel music and family members could often catch him singing along to some old Christian music.
As a true democrat, Rubia allowed his family members to join political parties of their choice.
“He had no problem with our political affiliation. He told us that it was good to compete politically, but not become enemies. I am an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) official. My brother Maurice is in Jubilee and another brother, Robert, is in Kanu,” said Michael.
Rubia will be remembered as one of the pioneers of Kenya’s second liberation, together with Matiba, Masinde Muliro, Martin Shikuku, Njeru Gathangu and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
He is one of the last of surviving fathers of multi-party advocacy that teamed up with the Young Turks, who include lawyer Paul Muite, James Orengo and Kiraitu Murungi, Anyang' Nyong’o, Mukhisa Kituyi and Gitobu Imanyara.
They fought for multi-party democracy after Kenya had become a one-party state by law in June 1982.