Life and times of multiparty icon Kenneth Matiba

Written By: John Jacob Kioria


Kenneth Stanley Njindo Matiba will go down in history as one of the astute doyen of multi-party democracy but whose bright star would be dimmed by a regime keen on curtailing his rising profile.

Matiba secured a 942 Billion compensation against the State last year for torture after being detained without trial for his insistence on multi-party democracy.

Born in 1932 in Fort Hall in what is the present Murang’a County, Matiba studied, sociology, geography and history in Makerere University.

He became the youngest Kenyan to join the public service in 1964 when he became the PS Commerce in 1964.

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Matiba became the Kenya Football Federation Chairman in 1974 before venturing into active politics in 1978 when he was elected Mp Mbiri constituency which is the current Kiharu constituency.

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He would serve as the Minister of Culture and social services under President Daniel Moi and later the Minister of Health between 1983 to 1989.

But Matiba would fall out with President Moi in 1989 when he began championing for the repealing of section 2A of the constitution to give way to multi-party democracy leading to his detention without trial in 1990.

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But he would suffer stroke while in prison which incapacitated him.

Matiba ran for President in 1992 but lost to President Moi emerging second in the hotly contested race but he would win the Kiharu Mp seat on a Ford-Asili ticket and would lead his troops from the Opposition benches, a position he would serve up until 1997.

By then the government was cracking down on Matiba and his assets losing prime hotels and prestigious businesses to auctioneers.

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But he would boycott the 1997 elections citing lack of democracy and later went back to his already collapsing business empire.

He would only re-emerge in 2007 when he ran for President on a Saba Saba Asili ticket but faired poorly in the contest.

Matiba has been unwell and had occasional visits to the hospital. His biggest win came last year when the courts awarded him a 942 Billion compensation for the detention without trial and torture.



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