Ex-minister Kenneth Matiba climbed Mt Kenya 18 times

Tuesday April 17 2018

Kenneth Matiba

Kenneth Matiba and politician Raila Odinga (right) during a past function. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By GRACE GITAU
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Multi-party crusader Kenneth Matiba climbed Mt Kenya, Africa’s second highest peak, 18 times in his eventful life.

Naromoru River Lodge, a hotel managed by The Alliance Group of Hotels, has an album filled with black and white photographs of Mr Matiba on the mountain.

The hotel, acquired by the former minister in 1980, has won the hearts of hundreds of domestic and international tourists who have conquered the mountain.

K.S.N MATIBA

Several t-shirts pinned on the hotel walls are prominently marked ‘K.S.N Matiba’, a testament of the politician’s exploits.

They paint a picture of a man who was brave but also an adventure lover.

Edward Wangeci, the hotel’s general manger, said this has inspired guests who had no intention of climbing the mountain to sign up for the adventurous journey.

“We have had guests who admire the writings on the wall and desire a similar experience. We do not want people to climb the mountain and their presence here forgotten, it should be preserved,” he said.

Although Mr Wangeci was not working at the hotel when Mr Matiba took the long trek, he said the veteran politician was in love with the mountain.

“You know so many people fantasise about climbing the mountain but they never take up the challenge. Mr Matiba’s drive to climb the mountain was natural, not forced. He loved it,” noted Mr Wangeci during an interview at the hotel last week.

It is the t-shirts and colourful flags pinned on the wooden walls and some hanging from the ceiling that makes the hotel stand out.

The hotel usually asks guests who have “conquered” the mountain to inscribe on either a t-shirt or the country’s flag their experiences. This could be how they felt at the peak or the  soul searching moments.