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April 23, 2018

Remain true to Kenneth Matiba's ideals, leaders tell Kenyans

Former Kiharu MP Kenneth Matiba at his Jadini Beach Hotel in February 2012. /FILE
Former Kiharu MP Kenneth Matiba at his Jadini Beach Hotel in February 2012. /FILE

Several leaders have mourned veteran politician Kenneth Matiba as a brave and selfless figure, who significantly contributed to multi-party democracy in Kenya.

Matiba died on Sunday while receiving treatment at Karen Hospital in Nairobi. He was 85.

President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogised him as a true Kenyan patriot in a televised speech from State House.

Details: Matiba was my role model and mentor - Uhuru

Among those who have sent condolence messages are DP William Ruto, Opposition leader Raila Odinga and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.

Their statements are as follows:

DEPUTY PRESIDENT WILLIAM RUTO

The country grieves a great man. As the cloud of sadness envelopes us, we pay respect and undying tribute to Matiba, an indefatigable proponent of democracy, human rights; a champion of the less privileged and a people's person.

Mzee Matiba's strong fight for reforms, freedom of expression, tolerance and divergent opinion that saw him overcome great odds, inculding detention, won him admiration from friends, foes and cemented his stellar status.

He advocated hardwork and was richly rewarded in the fields of business, education and sports. He was well loved in Kiharu constituency and the larger Murang'a that he represented with distinction and unparalleled dedication, impacting lives and providing servant leadership.

We pray for his family and friends during this difficult period. Rest In Peace.

President Uhuru Kenyatta visits former Cabinet Minister Kenneth Matiba at Karen Hospital in Nairobi, March 30, 2015. /PSCU

ODM LEADER RAILA ODINGA

Mama Ida and I have learnt with deep shock of the passing of second liberation hero 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 Matiba and his team.

As a family, we have a very special bond with 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 Matiba in the next few days.

May God grant strength to the family at this lonely and trying moment.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MAJORITY LEADER JUSTIN MUTURI

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

A brave and selfless leader, 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

WIPER PARTY LEADER KALONZO MUSYOKA

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

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, 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.

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.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga and politician James Orengo visit former Kiharu MP Kenneth Matiba at his Jadini Beach Hotel in February 2012. /FILE

MURANG'A GOVERNOR MWANGI WA IRIA

It is with great sadness that I have learnt of the passing on of our hero Matiba. I, on behalf of Murang'a County residents, celebrate a rare gem.

Matiba was without a shadow of doubt a national icon. He was epitome of leadership. He was revolution He was a legend. He was courage. His history is a data bank of feats.

We can't enumerate. But we will give thanks for his time. His deeds and clarion calls of Kuga na Gwìka and "Let The People Decide" will always reverberate.

His legacy can't be extinguished as his contribution towards the making of our second republic is invaluable and immeasurable.

He dared to dream. And went a notch higher to actualise the dreams. This at the expense of not just his material wealth but most importantly personal health.

Yet over and above all the tribulations, he never sold out the spirited fight for democracy and constitutionalism.

His fight, contribution and commitment towards a better republic can neither be redacted nor be ignored. Because they hang like a halo in our nation's history.

We can only repay him by remaining true to the ideals he so much believed in and worked for.

He was among the first in terms of hardwork. He ranked among the cream in terms of achievement. He was simply A+ class. A class of a few within our citizenry who have remained selfless for public interest. Yes, he was unique.

As we enjoy the fruits of our democratic space, we shall never forget his input and output. He hasn't left. As his legacy lives on!

He was the embodiment of the true Murang'a spirit. The spirit of discipline, work ethic, public good, resilience, entrepreneuriaism, unity of purpose, equality and freedom.

That is the reason we have honoured and immortalised him by establishing and naming the biggest gazetted public eye and dental hospital in the region at Kenol in Murang'a after him.

The Hospital draws inspiration from his exceptionalism in its service to the region. May God rest his soul in revolutionary peace.

KIRINYAGA GOVERNOR ANNE WAIGURU

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.

More on this: 'Uncle Ken' Matiba burnt his voter's card in fight for democracy

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