Kenneth Matiba: Intrigues and betrayals in the struggle for multi-party politics - Daily Nation

The gallant spirit Moi killed in detention

Friday July 5 2013

Two of the fathers of opposition politics in Kenya, Mr Kenneth Matiba (left) and Mr Charles Rubia. Photo/FILE

Two of the fathers of opposition politics in Kenya, Mr Kenneth Matiba (left) and Mr Charles Rubia. Photo/FILE 

By ROY GACHUHI [email protected]

You can’t ask for a better place to contemplate creation’s beauty than to recline on a garden sofa and gaze at the earth, the sky and the sea at Safari Beach Hotel in Kenya’s South Coast.

It is soothing, and it inspires introspection, just allowing the soft breeze to massage your skin as you listen to the music of the palms in the wind. The waves rise and fall, making music of their own, and they come from the distant horizon where the sky touches the sea.

A few metres away from the soft sands of the beach, fishing boats are anchored in the waters of the shallow sea. They sway rhythmically with the wind. People stroll along the beach and there are a few camel taxis, too. But it is not the voices of people that you hear, only the sounds of the natural world. It is restorative and you cannot have enough of it.

The reason is self-evident, therefore, as to why the business empire builder who owns this place, and who has a multiple choice of homes that he could retire to, chose to spend his sunset years here. It is a corner of paradise on earth.

It is a signature to a man’s glowing entrepreneurial brilliance, but it is also, poignantly, a vivid reminder that capitalism, as the oil tycoon Armand Hammer once described it, is a war, and wars have casualties.

There is physical evidence of that war in the form of delayed maintenance. But it is in his and his descendants’ hands again. That war was won.

The empire builder, who resides here is Kenneth Stanley Njindo Matiba.

When this assignment to write about him on the 23rd anniversary of the Saba Saba uprising came up, I put through a request to his family to give me access. After about a week, Susan Mwamto, his daughter, called me with this answer:

“We have a family consensus. We shall go ahead with the story. But I have to tell you that it will not be possible for you to interview Mzee.”

He couldn’t speak to me but Edith, his wife of 52 years, was going to speak for him.

Later, Susan told me: “After the