The tragic death of Dr. Taita Kipyegion Towett brings down the curtain of one of Kenya’s pioneer scholars. Withe a life often shrouded in controversy, the late Dr. Towett surely lived ahead of his time.
Born in 1926, the accomplished linguist disabuses all the old guards who prided themselves with Diploma as the ‘highest’ qualification achievable then. This was one brainy chap who had the foresight to enrol for a degree course in SA by correspondence in the 1940s. His MA and PhD from UoN caps it all.
But the enigma that was Towett had him ride in his car facing the rear. His reasoning then was that most people are so linear in their thinking you waste time looking at them directly in the eye. No wonder all his cars had only the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat facing backwards. Hi justification was that he was not in taxi business.
Dr. Towett never suffered fools lightly. His convictions often earned him the tag of being intellectually arrogant. No wonder he only embraced settlement of immigrants (?) in Rift Valley after support came for Moi to succeed Jomo from the same quotas through Emilio. In essence Dr. Towett was many things to many people. Depending on the political horse you ride, he is a pre-independence tribalist or defender.
When independent Kenya’s history is written, Dr Towett, Jean Marie Seroney and the Nandi declaration must be mentioned on the same chapter. Cruel hands of death has not only denied him full enjoyment of his sunset days, but razed a human library down. Fare thee well Daktari.