Kamale: Village once inhabited by Shiftas now boasts of Speaker

Kingi Mwaruwa Mukweha, 82, the father of Senate Speaker Amason Kingi, at his home in Kamale village, Magarini, Kilifi County [Nehemiah Okwembah, Standard]

Tucked deep inside Magarini in Kilifi County is Kamale village. The little-known village, which was once inhabited by shiftas in the 1980’s, borders the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) land in Galana and also borders Tana River County to the East. 

The village has now produced the third Speaker of the Senate in Kenya, Amason Jeffah Kingi.

Shiftas were rebels who forced locals to flee their homes and the locals only returned in the late 1990’s after calm was restored.

Mr Kingi’s father, Kingi Mwaruwa Mukweha, said that the shiftas contributed to underdevelopment of the area as residents fled.

“The shiftas used to beat me and snatch the little money I had saved for my children’s school fees. When they grew up, I told them (children) not to settle here and that is why you cannot see their houses in this compound. I told them to leave me alone to tackle the shiftas and they have built homes in Adu, Malindi, Mombasa and Nairobi towns,” said Mukweha.

The village rose to fame when its first son, Amason Kingi, ventured into politics in 2007 and became Magarini Member of Parliament (MP) on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket.

“My home is Kamale and my friends in Nairobi and Mombasa refer to me as ‘Kamale boy’ and I am happy because without Kamale village, I will not be who I am. They should know that Kamale is the village that shaped my life,” Kingi said recently when he toured the village for the first time after being elected Speaker of the Senate.

North Frontier District security officers inspecting firearms recovered during Shifta war operations, 1966. [File, Standard]

His other visit was on August 9 when he went to vote. During the visit, he did the groundbreaking of the construction of two classrooms at AJ Kingi secondary school, where he called on the ministry of education to register the school and post teachers so that learners can start using the facility in January 2023.

“I have come for development and in my last meeting in the village some years ago, residents brought up the idea of a secondary school because their children were walking several kilometers away to seek secondary education,” he said.

Kingi said he had received Sh4.2 million from his former classmates at the Alliance High School to implement the project.

“It was your idea and as a villager, I had to come to your aid since most families here could not afford to help out due to poverty.

"Your former MP Michael Kingi is a brave man and he started the development early this year. I also talked to my friends in Nairobi who gave me Sh4.2 million to construct two classrooms at the AJ Kingi secondary school,” he said.

He offered a Form Four leaver from the village a scholarship to study for a degree course in Medicine in China that he said was fully funded by the Chinese government.

“My friends also demanded that I produce one student who completed his secondary school education and excelled so that they can sponsor him to study medicine in China. The beneficiary has been awarded a full scholarship by the Chinese government,” he noted.

The Amason Jefah Kingi Secondary School was constructed in honour of Senate Speaker Amason Kingi at Kamale village. [Nehemiah Okwembah, Standard] 

Residents said that they coined the name AJ Kingi secondary school as a way of giving thanks to Mr Kingi and because he is the one who purchased the piece of land that the school sits on.

Samuel Thoya said that former area MP Michael Kingi, a brother to the senior Kingi, injected funds through the National Government-Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) in the 2021/2022 financial year that enabled construction of two classrooms and a laboratory whose construction is ongoing.

“We chose the name AJ Kingi Secondary school to remember him because he was the one who helped buy the school land. He gave us Sh450,000 to buy that land and the former MP, Michael Kingi, through the NG-CDF kitty, constructed the first two classrooms and an ongoing project of a lab,” said Mr Thoya.

Thoya said the school will reduce the distance students had to cover to access the nearest secondary school at Adu shopping centre, six kilometres from the village.

The nearest school is Adu secondary school and was started in 2012 when Kingi was MP since students could travel more than 20 kilometres to Marafa or Fundisa.

Mr Kazungu Yaa said that the school will also help most students who dropped out of school due to poverty and high school fees charged by schools in far flung areas.

“When operational, the school will help us because secondary schools are far away from the village. It will help especially those students from poor backgrounds whose parents are unable to sponsor them in bigger and better schools far away,” he said.