Kenya mourns the death of veteran politician Kenneth Matiba

Kenya is mourning the death of veteran politician Kenneth Matiba. The outspoken politician passed away on Sunday night (April 15) at Karen Hospital in Nairobi.

The politician is being remembered for his fight for democracy in Kenya, detention without trial by the KANU government and is now the poster boy of neglect by the Kenyan state of its past leaders and freedom fighters. He has been eulogized as the second liberation hero of the East African nation in glowing tributes that continue to come in.

Veteran politician Kenneth Matiba addresses Wangu Investment Company shareholders’ meeting in Murang’a County in 2016. He was once detained for agitating for multiparty democracy. Photo | Nation

Here are some of the tributes for the late Matiba:

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tribute:

It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of loss that Margaret and I send Mrs. Edith Matiba and her family this message of condolence and encouragement following the death of Mzee Kenneth Matiba.

Mzee Matiba was a true patriot who loved this nation of Kenya, a nationalist who believed in hard work and building strong bonds of friendship for the betterment of all.

Mzee Matiba was among the first sons of Kenya who formed the team that began to lay the foundation of our great Nation. He played a key role as a teacher in Kangaru High School in 1960; then in 1961 through 1962 as an officer for higher education; and later in 1963 as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Co-operatives.

He also served as Minister for Transport and Communications, Minister for Health and Minister for Culture and Social Services. He was also among the pioneering Kenyan entrepreneurs with diverse interests being involved in a number of companies such as the East African Breweries Ltd and in the hotel and tourism industry.

Kenneth Matiba
Kenneth Matiba addresses supporters in 1993 after filing a presidential petition in the High Court, Nairobi. File – The Standard

On the political front, he was at the forefront in shaping the political landscape of this Country. His call for multiparty democracy and his rallying cry of “Forward Ever, Backward Never” helped transform our Country.

With the passing of Mzee Matiba, the cruel hand of death has robbed us of a devoted leader and mentor who was a role model to many. Indeed, he served the country with distinction.

His accomplishments clearly demonstrate that focus, diligence, and determination pays. Those who knew him benefited immensely from his selfless leadership and wisdom.

As we mourn the death of Mzee Matiba, be encouraged that our prayers, and those of all Kenyans, will give you and your family the strength and fortitude. We are privileged that he lived amongst us and thank God for the time we shared with him.

May the Almighty God rest the soul of Mzee Matiba in everlasting peace.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga’s tribute:

Mama Ida and I have this evening learnt with deep shock of the passing of second liberation hero Hon. Kenneth Matiba.
Our country has lost one of the last living symbols of the pains our people have had to bear in order to get where we are.
It is hardly where we intended or ought to be, but certainly better than where we were at this time over 20 years ago, thanks to the sacrifices of Hon. Matiba and his team.

As a family, we have a very special bond with Hon. Kenneth Matiba and his family; one sealed by a shared vision and the scars of our shared struggles. We pass deeply felt condolences to his Widow Edith and the family. We intend to speak more comprehensively about Hon. Matiba in the next few days. May God grant strength to the family at this lonely and trying moment. –  Raila Odinga and Mama Ida Odinga

Kalonzo Musyoka’s tribute:

It is with great shock and sadness that I have learnt of the demise of Hon. Kenneth Stanley Njindo Matiba, former MP for Kiharu, and presidential candidate 1992.

Mr. Matiba will be remembered for his valiant fight for multi-party democracy. His bravery, steadfastness, and personal sacrifice even in the face of great threats against his life will forever be etched onto the minds of Kenyans who cherish democracy and freedom.

His boldness aside, Hon. Matiba had great moral character. In a country where corruption had become the norm, he stood up against the vice.

I had occasion to serve under him as his assistant minister and I found him an astute mentor who guided me as a young minister.

Hon. Matiba also promoted the sporting culture in this country. He was captain of the Bunge Football team, where, at one time, we both teamed up with our other Kenyan parliamentary colleagues against the German Bundestag team. Although we lost three goals to one, as our captain, he demonstrated great leadership.
The late Matiba was a champion of gender equality. And this is evidenced by the fact that, as the minister responsible, he hosted the famous 1985 Nairobi Women’s Conference, which was the precursor to the Beijing Women Conference of 1995.

He was also a great family man who molded his family in the Christian way, imparting onto them the virtues of honesty and diligence.

At this most trying time, I convey my condolences to Mama Edith Matiba, the family, relatives, and the entire Kenyan nation in general. I, too, offer my heartfelt condolences to all those who were in way or another touched by his life.

May the Lord Almighty give them the fortitude to bear the pain of this great loss – Hon. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka

Kenneth Matiba

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi’s tribute:

Tonight, I as the nation is overwhelmed by the demise of one of the icons of the second liberation Hon. Kenneth Matiba, I wish to send my profound condolences to the family and the country for a loss so saddening.

A brave and selfless leader, Hon. Matiba cut a niché as a hero for multi-party democracy in Kenya and generations will be grateful to him and others who took the country to the unprecedented spheres of democracy. Respected and adored within and beyond our frontiers, Matiba’s hand in the unyielding hope he had for prosperity of this country will always be with us. We can only work hard to make it a better place like he had envisioned. #RIPPapaMatiba – Hon Justin Muturi.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru’s  tribute on the passing of veteran politician Kenneth Matiba

Kenneth Matiba will forever be remembered for his fight for multiparty democracy and rule of law. Kenya has lost a political icon and a strong defender of democracy.

May God comfort his family, friends and the people of Kenya. Rest In Peace Matiba. –  Anne Waiguru

Mombasa Governor’s Ali Hassan Joho’s tribute:

I am deeply saddened by the passing on of the second liberation hero Kenneth Stanley Njindo Matiba. His death is a huge loss to the country.

The late Matiba will be remembered for his contribution in the amendment of the constitution that paved way for the re-introduction of multi-party democracy.

Few countries will experience the honor of birth to such a resilient son. At a time when a handful stood up to be counted, he faced unspeakable difficulties in the pursuit of the freedoms we enjoy to date.

I have drawn a lot of inspiration from his style of politics in my life, that of courage in articulating Issues that affect the lives of the people I represent.

May his courage serve as an example to us all, and may his life guide revolutionaries for years to come. He was a true soldier of the struggle. On behalf of my family and Mombasa County, I join his family and the nation in mourning a true hero of the Republic, the late Matiba.

I pray to the Almighty God to grant his family the strength to come to terms with the profound loss. You have gone but your spirit lives with us. – Ali Hassan Joho

Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka’s tribute:

I have received with profound shock and utter sadness the news of the demise of Hon. Kenneth N. Matiba.
He will be remembered for his contribution to the second liberation and constitutional reforms on this Nation.
Hon. Matiba fought valiantly for frèedom of expression and multiparty democracy. We will remember his service to the Nation as both a public servant and a politician.

I want to extend my condolences to the family and pray for comfort and Peace during this trying moment.

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