Martin Shikuku- firebrand politician who challenged government
By - May 12th 2023
Martin Shikuku was a firebrand Kenyan politician. He was once detained by the government of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta for claiming in Parliament that Kanu was dead and that Kenyatta was responsible for this.
Shikuku was born on Christmas Day in 1932 in Magadi to John Oyondi and Lucia Andeche. He attended St. Peters Mumias Boy’s Primary School then proceeded to St. Peters Seminary to pursue priesthood. Interestingly, this was not to be as he caught the love bug and left the seminary to get married.
After high school, he briefly worked at Caltex and moved to East African Railways before opting to join politics in 1952 while aged 19.
In 1954, Shikuku was appointed to represent Kadu at Lancaster House Conference alongside Kanu for talks pertaining to Kenya’s independence. He was the youngest member of this delegation at the age of 28. He also took part in crafting the first Constitution of Kenya at this conference.
After the Lancaster House talks, Shikuku joined the Nairobi People’s Convention Party (NPCP) and he was immediately made its secretary general. Afterwards, he resigned to join the Kenya African Democratic Union (Kadu) as a youth along with Ronald Ngala and Daniel Moi.
In 1963, Shikuku vied for Butere MP seat on a Kadu ticket and won.
In 1969, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta appointed him as an assistant minister. However, after a few days, he clashed with Kenyatta after referring to the ruling party Kanu in Parliament as dead. Shikuku was detained and was only released in 1978 after Kenyatta’s death.
After being released from detention, Shikuku again vied for his Butere MP seat and recaptured it. Then President Daniel Moi appointed him assistant minister for Livestock Development.
Shikuku went by the moniker “people’s watchman” because he always defended the rights of Kenyans inside and outside Parliament. Shikuku died on August 22, 2012 from cancer.