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Controversial politician with six degrees and no job dies

Monday August 5 2019

Dr Reuben Savai

Dr Reuben Savai whose attempts to run for the presidency in 1997 and 2002 were thwarted by the electoral commission. He has died. PHOTO | COURTESY  

DERICK LUVEGA
By DERICK LUVEGA
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Dr Reuben Savai, 70, whose attempts to run for the presidency in 1997 and 2002 were thwarted by the electoral commission, is dead, his son Mr Daniel Lihanda said on Sunday.

Despite securing six degrees and a diploma, the controversial politician still could not secure formal employment in Kenya.

MAKERERE UNIVERSITY

Dr Savai, who holds six degrees from Greece and a diploma from Makerere University in Uganda, was barred from contesting for the top seat by the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya in the 1997 and 2002 elections.

After failed attempts, the Kenya Republican Reformation Party leader’s effort to secure a formal job also hit a dead end.  

Some of his academic credentials include Diploma in Theology, Law degree and two Bachelor of Education degrees, one in Arts and another in Science.

His family says he was barred from practicing law in Kenya because he had not graduated from the Kenya School of Law.

Dr Savai, who had wanted to vie against retired Presidents Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki, was disqualified because he lacked prerequisite materials.

Dr Reuben Savai's room at Budaywa in Sabatia,

Dr Reuben Savai's room at Budaywa in Sabatia, Vihiga County on August 4, 2019. PHOTO | DERICK LUVEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In the 1990s, he participated in the formation of Forum of Restoration and Democracy (Ford) party, during the re-introduction of multi-party democracy in the country.

In 1997, Dr Savai contested for the Lang’ata parliamentary seat and lost to ODM leader Raila Odinga, who was then leader of National Development Party.

LANG'ATA

Lang’ata constituency has since been split into two constituencies – Lang’ata and Kibra - following the review of boundaries ahead of the 2013 General Election.

Mr Lihanda told Nation that his father was found dead in his shanty in a suspected stroke attack.

Mr Lihanda said his father never got any formal employment in Kenya despite the rich education background and his involvement in politics.

"He studied abroad and got one diploma and six degrees. When he returned to Kenya, he did not secure employment and ventured into politics. When he lost his bid for Lang’ata parliamentary seat, he also tried seeking a job but was not successful," said Mr Lihanda.

He said his father was struggling with high pressure amid glaring poverty.

He said the politician’s family had raised only Sh30,000 out of the Sh130,000 needed to meet funeral expenses.

POVERTY

"We are calling upon well-wishers and politicians he interacted with to help us meet funeral expenses,” said Mr Lihanda.

Another son, Mr Abinayo Kivisi said the late Moses Mudavadi, father of Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, asked his father to return to Kenya after promising to help him secure a job.     

"My father left Greece only to come home to struggle and lead a poor life," said Mr Kivisi.

He added: "I have made attempts to reach President Kenyatta and his deputy (William Ruto) but I have not been successful. We really need their help."

Dr Savai's wife died in 1990. His body was taken to Jumuia Hospital mortuary in Kaimosi.