Bonny Khalwale's Role in the 1982 Coup Attempt

  • A trip down memory lane landed on an interview conducted by Nation newspaper in February 2009. The person of interest was the then Ikolomani Member of Parliament, Boni Khalwale.

    In the interview, he told the reporter that the most daring thing he had ever done was being part of the movement against retired President Daniel Moi's leadership in 1982.

    At the time, Khalwale was a First Year student at the University of Nairobi, pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Medicine and Surgery (1981-1987).

    1982 coup plotter Hezekiah Ochuka.

    With five of his colleagues, among them, Shem Ochuodho, David Murathe, student leader Titus Adungosi (deceased), the former MP stormed then Voice of Kenya (now KBC) offices, to declare that university students were in full support of the coup.

    Meeting the mastermind of the revolution, Hezekia Ochuka, and other airforce officers in the studio, they were allowed to speak and declare their rebellious stand as university students.

    Hezekiah Ochuka was intrigued by the bravery of the young men. The act, though seeming wise at that moment, earned Khalwale a one and a half year suspension from the university when the dust settled.

    However, it worked in his favour because it signalled the start of his political career.

    "I can’t help but laugh when I think about it today,” disclosed Khalwale. “I never even thought about the danger I was exposing myself to,” he added. 

    When multi-partyism took root in 1992, Ochuodho and Murathe became MPs.

    Former Jubilee Chairman David Murathe

    Boni Khalwale did not receive that immediate recognition, however.

    He was only 22 then. He then became the Western Province coordinator of the National Convention Executive Council, an opposition wing that fought off Moi's unpopular policies.

    “People at home realized that I had leadership qualities. Perhaps they thought I was a little bit weird, but they gave me a hearing nonetheless,” he told Nation in 2009.

    This arrangement gave him the capacity to cut his political teeth and share his ideas and policies with the citizens.

    It was 20 years after the coup, however, that he clinched the Ikolomani seat in 2002, on a Ford Kenya ticket. Kanu had just been kicked out of power and NARC, was the new wave.

    “That victory was the culmination of many years of struggles and hard work. It was indeed a sweet victory for Kenyans who were yearning for radical reforms,” he cited.

    Khalwale went on to serve Ikolomani as an MP for two terms and Kakamega senator for one term.