- Matiba and Charles Wanyoike Rubia are among a politicians who paid the heaviest price in Kenya’s political history.
- In 1990, he fired the bullet that flowered the Second Liberation, sparking ugly fights for re-introduction of multipartyism.
Kenneth Stanley Njindo Matiba was a technocrat, sportsman, businessman and politician par excellence.
But for doing the “diabolical” thing to call for multipartyism at the height of the Kanu dictatorship, Matiba and Charles Wanyoike Rubia are among a politicians who paid the heaviest price in Kenya’s political history.
Matiba held many firsts. He became one of three permanent secretaries before independence at only 28; was first black chief executive officer of East African Breweries Ltd; was first African to head Kenya Football Federation; and was the first minister to break taboo and resign on principle during the Moi regime.
Still, he took on gigantic tasks in the most difficult political circumstances, baffling friend and foe.
In the 1979 elections, shortly after Jomo Kenyatta’s death, Matiba took on and fell a giant in then-Mbiri Constituency in Murang’a — Gikonyo Kiano, a cabinet minister who was one of the blue-eyed boys in Jomo’s regime.
The second herculean task is what Kenyans owe it to him for having risked his life to speak out against Kanu tyranny when no one would dare.
For taking on the regime, Matiba paid a heavy price of detention without trial where a stroke struck, disabling a once vibrant energetic mountain climber.
But he had lit the logs which fired what has become to be famously known as Second Liberation.
Matiba leaves behind a rich history. He was a man with conviction, a conscience, bold and ready to die for it.
Matiba lived and fulfilled them one after the other, culminating in formation that became known as the nine heroes of the Second Liberation.
The others were Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Masinde Muliro, Martin Shikuku, Phillip Gachoka, Salim Ndamwe, George Nthenge and Ahmed Salim Bamahriz.