In Summary
  • Matiba was held without trial at Kamiti Maximum Prison in 1990 together with politician Charles Rubia.
  • Matiba became a senior civil servant aged only 31 years.
  • In the 1992 presidential election, Mr Matiba emerged second, losing to former President Moi.
  • Mr Matiba would go on to sue the government for damages for the illegal detention.

Mr Kenneth Matiba, who died yesterday aged 85, was a great crusader for Kenya’s multi-party democracy. He died in the evening at Karen Hospital, Nairobi, his daughter Ivy Matiba confirmed.

Mr Matiba is understood to have been receiving treatment at Karen Hospital for a number of weeks. Dr Dan Gikonyo, head of the hospital, told the Nation last evening that he would prefer to talk about Mr Matiba’s health later.

“It just happened this evening and the family is still here,” he told the Nation on phone.

PRISON

Mr Matiba had been unwell since suffering a stroke while at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, where he was held without trial for agitating for pluralism, to the chagrin of then President Daniel arap Moi. He was later released.

After the government allowed multi-party politics, he went on to play instrumental roles in the 1990s.

In the 1992 presidential election, Mr Matiba emerged second, losing to former President Moi.

Mr Matiba became a senior civil servant at only 31 years. In May 1963, he became the first indigenous African Permanent Secretary for Education.

In 1964, he was appointed Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce, then headed by retired President Mwai Kibaki.

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