Samuel Makabira: Former county administrator now homeless, living in poverty

Samuel Makabira Andanje 86 years represented his people at Kakamega county council between 1993- 1997 on a Ford Asili ticket. [ Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

At the age of 26 years, he became the first councillor of Plateau Ward in the then Sirikwa County Council between 1963-1969. It was around the same time Kenya had gained its independence from the British colonialists.

Samuel Makabira, who hails from Mpongo village in Butere constituency, was elected on the Kenya African Democratic Union (Kadu) ticket under the leadership of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

“We used to conduct joint campaigns those days in organised political rallies and no money was given to voters to influence the way they vote,” said Mr Makabira who used to earn Sh15 as salary.

"During our time, there was no provision for sitting or committee allowances, it was service to the people," he recalls.

When the General Elections were called on December 6, 1969, the first since independence in 1963, Mr Makabira opted out of the race saying the salary was 'too small' to sustain his family's needs and those of voters.

For two decades between 1970-1992, he lived a quiet life; but when then President Daniel Arap Moi repealed Section 2A of the Constitution, giving birth to multi-party democracy, Makabira teamed up with fierce politician Martin Shikuku.

He also worked with second liberators like Jaramogi, former minister Masinde Muliro (late), Wamalwa Kijana (late), Siaya Governor James Orengo, lawyers Paul Muite and Gitobu Imanyara among others.

In an exclusive interview with The Saturday Standard at his home, Makabira, while pointing a scar on his forehead, said "GSU officers senselessly beat me up during a Saba Saba rally in 1992 and left me for dead but God saved me from the jaws of death."

He would then go back to elective politics and using Ford Asili ticket, he was elected as the Marama West ward councillor (now divided into Marama North and Marama West wards) where he served between 1993-1997.

The father of eight did not defend his seat in subsequent elections. He said in the 90s, civic leaders used to earn a paltry Sh3,900 as salary with no allowances, something he says made it difficult for them to execute their duties.

And 25 years after leaving politics, Mr Makabira is a pale shadow of his former self. This despite being a firebrand Kenyan politician who went by the moniker “people’s watchman” for always defending the rights of his people.

Those who know him in political circles say he is a perfect example of the Midas curse; that the more he defended his people by fighting government and becoming more popular among the locals, the more the 86-year-old veteran politician set himself up for self destruction.

Samuel Makabira Andanje. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Today, he is ‘homeless’ at his own homestead. He does not have a house save for a ramshackle structure he erected in 1995 when he was still a councillor which he now calls home. His wife, Everline Eshiunwa, 83, is blind and critically ill.

“When people see me coming to ask for help, they say ‘Siasa ya Martin Shikuku ilikuharibu (Shikuku style of politics ‘destroyed’ you) and then they walk away,” said Makabira.

The octogenarian said, "no one in the political circles and those in government wants to associate with me despite helping them get elective seats’ during my heydays".

“My wife is blind and needs at least Sh50,000 for a check-up but I don’t have the money. El Nino rains are beckoning and if we are not rescued, this house will collapse and kill us while asleep. The entire rooftop is leaking and when it rains, our house becomes a lake," he said.

He added: “I am calling upon Governor Fernandes Barasa and well-wishers to come to my rescue. All I want is shelter and treatment for my wife. I was the first councillor of President William Ruto, I am appealing to him to also rescue me because I am homeless in my own home with no basic needs."

In his house is a small bed made of springs and covered with cartons and worn-out clothes that serve as the old couple's beddings.

Makabira lost three children and the remaining five are not only jobless but equally hopeless in life, just like their father.

“When I see someone coming to my home, I feel ashamed because I live like a pauper.  I am a perfect example of the living dead," he said. "This life has no meaning but if someone can hear my cry, please come and get me a house and have my wife treated.”

By AFP 21 hrs ago
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