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Tamati Mauti: The ‘bwana raha’ who loved politics, karaoke and the altar

By Elvince Joshua | December 2nd 2021
'Bwana Raha', the late Henry Tamati Mauti died after jumping from the eighth floor of a Nairobi hotel in November. [Courtesy]

Twenty-nine-year-old Henry Tamati Mauti, who died in disputed circumstances on November 19, had a penchant for karaoke, politics and the church, several speakers at his funeral service said.

Mauti’s funeral service was held on Wednesday, December 1 at the Christ is the Answer Ministries (CITAM) church in Karen, Nairobi.

A cloud of theories surrounds his death, though police suspect he killed BBC employee Kate Mitchell, and, thereafter, plunged to his death.

His family, however, disputes the murder-suicide narrative, saying there was no way Mauti would sustain minor injuries if he indeed jumped from the eighth floor of a hotel in Westlands, Nairobi.

Until his death, Mauti worked as a videographer and graphic designer at a higher learning agency in Nairobi.

According to friends and relatives, the 29-year-old was “reliable, hard-working and jovial”. They are doubting police narrative – that their loved one killed Mitchell, a British national, before plunging to his death.

“A handsome boy since birth, who had an ever-smiling persona” earned him the nickname Bwana Raha in his family circles. The name stuck, to his adulthood.

At 3am on November 19, workers of the hotel responded to a distress call from Room Number 810.

When they accessed the room, they found 42-year-old Kate Mitchell, who had checked into the facility three days earlier, lying lifeless.

Police said Mauti checked into the hotel on November 16 with his girlfriend Mitchelle Akinyi, and booked a room on the seventh floor.

The young couple was set to exchange wedding vows in December this year. According to speakers at the funeral service, Mauti and Akinyi met in 2018, while studying at the United States International University (USIU).

A well-educated man, Mauti was pursuing his second degree in International Relations from the USIU, when he met his partner. He graduated in late 2018, family said.

His first undergraduate degree was on Mathematics and Physics from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

Born and bred in Ongata Rongai, Kajiado County, Mauti attended different schools, including Catholic Parochial Primary School, where he served as an altar boy.

“He was very social from his early primary school years to a point he became popular among administrative nuns. He took roles of teaching Kisii folksongs to his classmates,” said a part of his eulogy.

Mauti would later attend Kiambu High School, where he scored a B+ (plus) in KCSE, securing him placement at JKUAT. He also tried his hand at rugby and dancing during his high school days.

Shaquille Oduk, Mauti’s former colleague at NRG Radio where the 29-year-old had a stint, described the deceased as a God-fearing person.

“I knew that Tamati loved the Lord. He was always preaching,” said Oduk, whose popular nickname is Shaq the Yungin.

“Sometimes we would go out for karaoke, and you’ll see him up there singing,” he added, saying “politics was also one of his passion topics”.

At CITAM Karen, Mauti served as a choir member.

“While at CITAM, he joined Spatanz dance group for a short period, but realised he was more useful in praise and worship because he was a natural singer,” his euology said.

Dan Mauti, the deceased’s father who is among those doubting the suicide narrative, said he had forgiven “the people who might have killed my son”.

Mauti will be buried in Nyaribari Chache, Kisii County.

Police said Mauti worked as a fixer for Mitchell, an employee of BBC Media Action. According to authorities, the vicenarian helped the 42-year-old move around the city while on assignment.

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