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How Matiba almost died in detention: His physician Dr Dan Gikonyo recalls the suffering :: Kenya

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Kenneth Matiba, an avid sportsman, when he climbed Mt Kilimanjaro. [File/Standard]

On July 4, 1990 veteran politicians Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia were arrested and detained. Consequently, they suffered major setbacks, one of which was the deterioration of Matiba’s health which he battled for 28 years until his death on Sunday at Karen Hospital, Nairobi.

Kenneth Stanley Njindo Matiba was a battle-hardened politician, who alongside Charles Rubia, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Masinde Muliro, Martin Shikuku, Ahmed Bamariz and others teamed up with younger comrades dubbed the Young Turks in leading what is popularly known as Kenya’s second liberation struggle in the 90s.

The effort gave birth to the restoration of a multi-party political system in Kenya.

 [Kenya gained independence as a multi-party democracy but the Kenyatta regime made them dormant through a series of political and legal maneuvers. However, in 1982 the Constitution was amended to make Kenya a single party state by law. This would be reversed in 1991 courtesy of reformers like Matiba]  

The Young Turks then were: a perennial detainee called Raila Odinga, James Orengo, lawyer Paul Muite, political science professor Peter Anyang Nyongó, lawyers Kiraitu Murungi, and Gitobu Imanyara and anthropologist Dr Mukhisa Kituyi among others

However, this came at a steep price.  Kenneth Matiba was among those who paid the heaviest price. While many people lost their lives in the struggle, his incarceration affected his life permanently. His health deteriorated while in detention changing his life forever…..physically, politically, socially and even economically.  

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Dr Dan Gikonyo, a cardiologist, was his personal doctor for over 27 years.

He told KTN he never had a chance or privilege of seeing Matiba in detention but one day the family, came to him and told him they had learnt their father was in Nairobi Hospital

Dr Gikonyo, and perhaps other physicians at the hospital, were unaware that Matiba had been clandestinely admitted to the facility.

It was a state top secret and it remained so for several days. However, the Matibas got wind of it.

Recounts Dr Gikonyo: “The family asked me whether I would see their father…we went in with neurologist Dr Sam Mwinzi. We found he was already in the hospital, the North Wing but booked under a fake name. He was admitted under the name of Mr Muchiri After [that] he stopped being Mr Muchiri and now became Ken Matiba.  I was allowed to see him with Dr Mwinzi.

Charles Njuki, a retired prison warden at the Kamiti Maximum Prison, would make it known to the public that Matiba was unwell.

Njuki recalls that this was barely a week after Matiba had been transferred to Kamiti Prison following a week-long appearance before a tribunal at Mombasa’s Shimo la Tewa Maximum Prison.

He says on opening a cell, Matiba told him that he was unwell and could he inform the prison boss that he wanted to see him. Njuki recalls passing the message to his boss but he doesn’t know whether the man saw Matiba but police doctors did show up

According to Njuki it was not until prison authorities discovered that Matiba’s life was in danger that things moved with speed and at 1pm he was taken to Nairobi Hospital where they guarded him for three days after which his family was allowed to fly him to London.

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Dr Gikonyo says: “He (Matiba) had been brought in under a fake name because they had realised he was deteriorating in detention….unlike the case of Charles Rubia where the injury occurred much after he had been released, Ken Matiba’s injury occurred in detention.”

Matiba and Rubia were arrested for planning the first ever Saba rally that would have taken place three days later on July 7th.

The two had cancelled the rally after failing to get a licence, but that still landed them in detention for nine months.

 Rubia, Dr Gikonyo, Dr Mwita (government doctor then) and Dr Mwongera recommended Rubia had a terrible illness which is why he was released.

 Rubia had lost his voice while in detention. It was attributed to the extreme conditions in prison.

Says Rubia: “My thyroid gland went haywire because of my condition in prison, tried to sustain my lifestyle and it failed”.

Back to Matiba, when Dr Gikonyo saw him, he told the family about it which family wanted Matiba released immediately.

“So they said we must go public to have him released… I told them let’s go slow… let me write a medical report… we did it on a Sunday morning ….it was on the basis of that report that he was released,” recalls the doctor

“On Sunday May 26, 1991, Matiba was released from detention, but he was a changed man …. no longer the familiar, revered and firebrand politician. His health had failed. It was discovered that he had suffered a stroke,” says the doctor.

“There was urgency now to get him into proper medical care. It was now a race against time trying to save his life. Ken Matiba was quickly flown to London for specialised treatment,” adds Dr Gikonyo.

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“The surgeons in London said this surgery is high risk, we can’t guarantee so make a choice…as we were debating all this, unfortunately he suffered a second stroke… we had to do emergency surgery …that’s the time we got into this problem,” recounts Dr Gikonyo.

 Doctors in London worked round the clock but for Dr Gikonyo, every minute was a nightmare. Back home in Kenya, all eyes were focused on London.

 





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21 injured as clashes erupt afresh at Olpusimoru in Narok

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By NATION TEAM
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Clashes have erupted afresh at Olpusimoru on the border of Nakuru-Narok counties.

Nakuru County Police Commander Hassan Barua said security officers have been deployed to the area.

“Yes, l am aware that the clashes erupted this [Sunday] evening,” he said.

The latest clashes come in the wake of a similar flare-up in Nakuru between two communities that left at least six people dead and several nursing arrow injuries.

Four victims with arrows lodged on their bodies have been admitted to Tenwek Mission Hospital in Bomet County.

“The patients have been wheeled into the theatre for emergency operations to remove the arrows in their bodies,” said a doctor at the hospital who is not authorised to speak to the press.

Three of the men were referred from Olenguruone Sub County Hospital while the fourth was brought directly from the scene of the clashes by relatives and well wishers according to a source at the facility.

“They came in a succession of ten minutes, and doctors who had day off are on standby in the event the number of victims rises at night,” the doctor said.

The fighting between the two communities is said to have been triggered by a cattle rustling incident.

“Members of one community went after the stolen stock but were repulsed leading to an intense fighting in the evening,” said Mr Alfred Sang, an elder from the affected area.

A source said security teams were taken by surprise by the attack that has seen more than 10 homes set ablaze at Olmariko and Esoit in Narok North.

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The clashes according to former Olpusimoru ward representative Wilson Ole Masikonte were triggered after seven cows were stolen in Olmariko.

Reporting by Eric Matara, John Njoroge, Vitalis Kimutai and George Sayagie.

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Iran’s Rouhani fumes at US after Ahvaz parade attack

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has fiercely criticised the US following a deadly attack on a military parade.

Gunmen opened fire at Revolutionary Guard troops in the south-western city of Ahvaz on Saturday, in an attack claimed by both an anti-government Arab group, and Islamic State militants.

Mr Rouhani said the “bully” US and the Gulf states it backed had enabled the attack.

The US has denied this and says it condemns “any terrorist attack”.

Mr Rouhani will face Donald Trump at the UN General Assembly this week.

Saturday’s attack killed 25 people, including 12 soldiers, civilians watching the parade, and a four-year-old girl.

Ahvaz National Resistance, an umbrella group that claims to defend the rights of the Arab minority in Iran’s Khuzestan Province, said the group was behind the bloodshed, while IS also claimed the attack.

Neither group provided evidence to show it was involved.

Speaking on Sunday, before leaving for the UN in New York, Mr Rouhani vowed that Iran would “not let this crime stand”.

“It is absolutely clear to us who committed this crime… and whom they are linked to,” he said.

He alleged that a Gulf country had supported the “financial, weaponry and political needs” of the attackers.

He added: “The small puppet countries in the region are backed by America, and the US is provoking them and giving them the necessary capabilities.”

“The US showed the world their bullying nature and they keep continuing their unilateral policies.”

However, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley countered: “He [Rouhani] has oppressed his people for a long time and he needs to look at his own base to figure out where that’s coming from.”

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“The United States condemns any terrorist attack anywhere,” she told CNN, but added: “He can blame us all he wants. The thing he’s got to do is look at the mirror.”

Image copyright AFP Image caption The gunmen shot at civilians and soldiers

Mr Rouhani did not specify which “puppet” countries he was referring to – but his comments are widely thought to be directed at Iran’s regional foe Saudi Arabia, and the UAE and Bahrain.

On Sunday, Iran’s foreign ministry summoned a UAE envoy in protest at “biased statements” made in support of the attack.

An adviser to the UAE crown prince had tweeted that “attacking a military target is not a terrorist act” and “moving the battle deeper inside in Iran is a declared option”.

Why does Iran blame its Gulf neighbours for the attack?

Iran has previously alleged that Saudi Arabia supports separatist activity among Iran’s Arab minority.

Both countries have been struggling for regional political and religious dominance for decades, and are engaged in a number of proxy wars around the region, backing rival factions in Yemen and Syria.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

The decades-old feud between them is exacerbated by religious differences – Iran is largely Shia Muslim, while Saudi Arabia sees itself as the leading Sunni Muslim power.

The UAE and Bahrain are closely allied with Saudi Arabia.

Iran has also alleged that the gunmen had links to its bitter foe Israel.

Iran considers Israel an illegitimate occupier of Muslim land – and has accused it of attempting to undermine the government.

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Iran also summoned diplomats from the UK, the Netherlands, and Denmark on Saturday, accusing their countries of harbouring Iranian opposition groups.

And why are US-Iran relations so tense?

The two sides have had thorny relations for decades.

The US has accused Iran of running a clandestine nuclear weapons programme, which Iran denies.

In 2015, under then-president Barack Obama, the US and Iran reached a landmark nuclear deal – also signed by China, Russia, the UK, France and Germany – where Iran limited its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

However, ties deteriorated after Mr Trump took office and then withdrew from the nuclear deal.

Since then, the US has brought sanctions back into place, despite opposition from EU partners, China and Russia, and warned that anyone trading with Iran would also be punished.

The US has also expressed support for anti-government protesters in Iran.

More generally, the US is deeply suspicious of Iranian activity in the Middle East – including its influence in Syria and Yemen – and is an ally of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Mr Trump is chairing a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday – and says the meeting will be focused on Iran.



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Police, Scorpions keep pressure on leaders

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By AYUMBA AYODI
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Champions Kenya Police and Strathmore University Scorpions on Sunday waged a thrilling war aimed at catch up on leaders in their respective hockey Premier Leagues.

After crushing Western Jaguars 4-0 on Saturday, Police would then edge out a stubborn United States International University 1-0 in the men’s Premier League on Sunday at City Park Stadium, Nairobi.

The victories by the men in blue saw them consolidate their second place to 36 points and close in on in on leaders Butali Sugar Warriors at the top with 42 points.

International Gilly Okumu smashed in five goals as Scorpions tore Vikings apart 7-0 to consolidate their second place in women’s league to 21 points, six adrift of leaders Telkom.

Its Samuel Wokila’s field goal on the stroke of half time that made the difference as Police silenced the varsity students to keep their dream of defending the title alive.

Police, who have two matches in hand to catch up on Dennis Owoka’s Butali Sugar, have 12 wins with one loss from their 13 outings, while Butali, the 2015 champions, have 14 wins and one loss.

Parkroad Badgers moved away from the relegation zone just by a point after they forced a 2-2 draw against former champions Nairobi Simba.

Badgers moved one place to ninth with 14 points, swapping places with Parklands, while Nairobi Simba stayed sixth, improving their tally with one point to 20.

After a goalless first half, Edward Otieno put Badgers ahead with a field goal two minutes into the second half before Shabaz Shah levelled for Simba in the 39th minute.

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Andrew Kamau put Badgers ahead again in the 42nd minute only for Simon Olugo to save Simba some blushes with the equaliser in the 50th minute.

On Saturday, Wazalendo’s charge to zero in on Police in the second place was jolted when they battle to a 2-2 draw with Kenya College of Accountancy-University.

Wazalendo squandered their 2-0 lead into the last eight minutes, when Arnold Marango and Rodgers Simiyu equalised for the varsity students in the 52nd and 58th minutes.

Stanley Chege and Eric Ochieng had put Wazalendo ahead from penalty corner and field goals in the 30th and 37th minutes.

Wazalendo stayed third with 26 points while KCA-U climbed place to seventh with 19 points as USIU dropped place to eighth with 18 points.

Besides Okumu, Diana Awino and Denise Bila netted a goal each to spar Strathmore to their seventh victory after eight outings.

Telkom had on Saturday stretched their unbeaten run to nine matches and 27 points, when they crushed Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology 11-0.

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