Struggle for democracy turned us into paupers
By Patrick Beja
| July 7th 2015
At 70, Willy Nduva, who served as Tudor councilor in Mombasa between 1988 and 1997, is proud to be part of the team that opened up Kenya's democratic space in the early 1990s.
This is what he said. "We joined the national liberation struggle as four Mombasa councillors. I was with Salim Bamahriz of Miritini, the late Luyali Luyai of Shimanzi and John Kaviu of Kipevu. Later in 1991, Islamic Party of Kenya preacher Salim Balala and chairman Omar Mwinyi became part of the movement.
"The four of us, with Bamahriz as the Coast representative, joined the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy way back in 1989 and sustained the campaign until December 1991, when Section 2a of the Constitution was repealed to usher in multiparty democracy in the country. Our motivation to join the liberation movement at the Coast was the need to open the democratic space and address the poor services offered by the Government at that time, particularly in the hospitals. It was a risky undertaking for our team of four councillors as we soon found ourselves in police custody and our financial resources heavily drained, leaving some of us as paupers.
"In 1991, I was arrested and locked up at Kijipwa Police Station in Vipingo, Kilifi County. I was held incommunicado for 29 days and my family did not know where I was. I was later charged with the murder of a man during riots over grabbing of part of Mwembe Tayari market, but the charge was later dropped because I was not part of the chaos and the land allocation saga. Similar tribulations faced Bamahriz, Luyai and Kaviu.
"My curios and ornament business in a tourist hotel at the Coast collapsed because of this campaign. I remember Bamahriz selling his five houses to finance the movement as the Coast representative of the movement.
We would often meet with national officials of the movement including Jaramogi Odinga, Kenneth Matiba, Martin Shikuku, Masinde Muliro, George Nthenge and Philip Gachoka. Bamahriz has been ailing for some time now and has relocated to the Middle East for medical attention while Kaviu has since retreated to his rural home in Yatta."
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