Ken Wafula first came to be known to many pro-democracy leaders in 1997 at the NCEC Ufungamano Assembly when he introduced himself as the Executive Director of the Masinde Muliro Foundation. Some, including the Muliro family, accused Ken of milking visibility out of the larger than life name of the then late Masinde Muliro. At that time, most Luhyia politicians from Bungoma, including Dr Mukhisa Kituyi and the Late George Kapten, held Masinde Muliro’s name as a political treasure. Nevertheless, Ken Wafula became a strong voice for democratization and the defense of human rights and NCEC relied on his skills and networks in establishing the citizens’ convention assemblies across the North Rift and Western Kenya from 1999 to 2009.
On 24 December 2017, Njuguna Mutonya breathed his last and with his death the liberal class has lost a man who was a master of rhetoric as he was dialectic. Mutonya’s logical argumentation possessed rhetorical, emotional resonance that shaped and swayed public opinion with unparalleled impetuosity. When I met Mutonya in November 1999, I was awed by his ability to exercise powers of persuasion that appealed to emotions alongside reason and fact. ‘Appeal to emotion was only as good as the man making the appeal’ - Plato in one of his writings has warned; and indeed Mutonya was a great muckraking journalist who used his talent to sway his readers without ever losing the moral compass.
Calestous Juma was born on 9 June 1953, in Bunyala location, Kenya to Clementina Okhubedo Juma and John Kwada Juma. In High School he excelled in science and football and founded the school newspaper. In 1974, he became a science teacher in Mombasa, following his love of exposing young minds to new ideas and encouraging people to exceed their own expectations.
‘Lunch time’ hit song maker Gabriel Omollo died on 4 January 2018 at the age of 79 at the Siaya Referral Hospital, after a long battle with tuberculosis. He was buried in his home at Nyabeda Village, Busia County. Omollo was born in 1939 in Muthurwa in Nairobi and was among the few surviving veteran musicians of the ‘Zilizopendwa’ genre.
In 1904, a Parsi watch repairer known as Jehangirji Rustomji travelled from India to East Africa and arrived in Nairobi. He did not join the Railway as was the usual tradition then but set up a small watch shop in the old Indian Bazaar, beside the then Jeevanjee market, opposite Jeevanjee Gardens. In 1928, Jehangirji moved his business from the Indian Bazaar to the then Government Road.
For the millions of Kenyans who were living under the sweltering yoke of British Colonial rule, Mr. John Cato Nottingham was simply known as ‘Wamwega’, a Gikuyu synonym for ‘the Good Man’. And you see, there were many reasons why Kenyan Africans would call Mr. Nottingham a good man. Mr. Nottingham had come to Kenya as a young colonial officer, eager to carry on with Britain’s great mission of ‘civilizing’ other parts of the world ,which were not occupied by white people, ostensibly because it was the ‘White Man’s Burden’ to ‘develop’ these so-called backward quarters of the globe. But Mr. Nottingham’s believe in the benevolence of the British Colonial rule would soon be thrown into serious doubt after landing in Kenya shortly before the declaration of a State of Emergency by Governor Evlyne Barring in 1953.