There was an awkward moment on popular talk show JKL after the Wednesday night guest, Lee Njiru, implicated the host Jeff Koinange’s uncle in the neglect and death of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta on August 22, 1978.
According to Njiru, Mzee Kenyatta’s closes confidant, who was also the Minister of State and his brother-in-law Mbiyu Koinange, failed to take care of the founding President in the days leading to his death.
Mbiyu is Jeff’s paternal uncle.
Njiru, who accompanied Kenyatta to on the day he died, noted that the old man had collapsed at a public function in Msambweni, after which he was rushed back to State House Mombasa.
“What surprised was that Mzee was not taken to hospital. Naturally, if you collapse here Jeff, we do not take you to go and sleep, we take you to hospital. They took him to State House and put him to sleep.”
“Pandya Hospital is just across the road and they should have taken him there. Mahihu (then Coast PC) went home. Mbiyu Koinange, his minister, his confidant, brother-in-law; took a flight to Nairobi and left Mzee asleep. I have always wondered what the compulsion was that forced Mbiyu to leave his boss in Mombasa when he had collapsed a few hours earlier,” Njiru said.
Jeff appeared caught off-guard by the news, and listened on without probing, only interjecting with a hmmm and a "what?".
However, Mzee Kenyatta’s press officer, went on to criticise Mbiyu, saying his absence on the night Kenyatta died has been attributed by superstitious people, as God’s plan to ensure Vice President Daniel arap Moi assumed power.
“If Mbiyu stayed in Mombasa and Kenyatta died in his presence, he would actually have hatched a plan to thwart Moi’s ascension to power,” Njiru said.