The Time Kenneth Matiba Burned His Voters Card

  • Pro-democracy icon Kenneth Matiba burned his voters card in 1997 after announcing his decision to boycott the Presidential election that year.

    Matiba refused to run against former President Daniel Moi of the Kenya African National Union (KANU) maintaining that the electoral process would be neither free nor fair.

    It was not until 2006 that Matiba resurfaced and announced that he had registered to vote in the 2007 election.

    He ran in the December 2007 poll but had lost his political mojo by then, garnering just over 8,000 votes in the Presidential race.

    Matiba is remembered for being at the forefront of the sustained push to drop the single-party system in favor of a multi-party democracy.

    [caption caption="Kenneth Matiba"][/caption]

    Former Cabinet ministers Matiba and Charles Rubia, as well as then political activist Raila Odinga, were arrested and detained at the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison on July 4, 1990 at Moi's behest for demanding the introduction of multi-party politics.

    The efforts of Matiba, Rubia, Odinga and various internal and external actors led to the repeal of Section 2A in 1991.

    The arrest of the trio was meant to pre-empt the massive 'Saba Saba' rally that had been planned for July 7, 1990, at the Kamukunji grounds as a show of defiance to the Moi government.

    Matiba suffered a stroke while in detention on May 26, 1991, and was denied access to a doctor for a week.

    Justice Isaac Lenaola ordered the government to pay Matiba Sh945 Million in 2017 for business losses and the torture he suffered at the hands of the State.

    Matiba first sought the Presidency in the 1992 Presidential election which was the first multi-party election since independence.

    Running on a FORD-Asili ticket, he came a close second in the race that was marred by cases of ballot-stuffing and targeted ethnic violence, especially in the Rift Valley.

    Matiba passed away on Sunday evening at the Karen Hospital.

    [caption caption="Kenneth Matiba with legendary boxer Muhammad Ali"][/caption]