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Veteran politician and multiparty democracy hero Kenneth Matiba is dead

Kenyans mourn the death of second liberation hero

Matiba passed on at the age of 85 at Karen hospital on Sunday where he has been undergoing treatment.

The former opposition leader had been hospitalized at the Karen Hospital’s ICU for the last 55 days after suffering cardiac arrest and had been placed on a ventilator for the last 14 days

His conditioned worsened on Friday after his internal organs started failing but he could not undergo dialysis as his blood pressure was too low.


Matiba who first suffered stroke on May 26, 1991 while in political detention has been in and out of hospital for various health related complications.

In September 2017, the state agreed to comply with court orders directing that the politician be compensated to the tune of Sh 945 Million for the torture he underwent while in detention.

Matiba was the brain behind a 2day-nationwide general strike in 1992 that saw retired president Daniel Moi succumb to pressure and lift the ban on political rallies followed by the first multi-party democracy elections.

The former Kiharu Member of Parliament came close to clinching the presidency in 1992, emerging second in an election that was largely viewed as not free and fair.

Matiba resigned as the Minister for transport and communication in the Moi administration in 1988 and was expelled from independence party Kenya African National Union (KANU) after he criticized the manner in which the party’s elections were held.


He teamed up with a team of brilliant lawyers and clerics including James Orengo, Rev Timothy Njoya, Raila Odinga, Jaramogi Oginga, Gitobu Imanyara and began an aggressive push for multi-party democracy.

Their political activism would see Matiba along with many others arrested in June 1990 and detained up to January 1991.

He will be remembered for standing up against an authoritarian regime keen on clamping down on dissenters at a time when it was a great risk to his life.


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