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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Shikuku: Peoples’ Watchman, Superlative Debater

The peoples' watchman and veteran politian Martin Shikuku is dead. He was 79 years old. The grim ripper has struck again, this time round claiming the superlative parliamentary debater. Shikuku succumbed to cancer while undergoing treatment in Nairobi.

Martin Shikuku was a unique and talented Kenyan politician. He could as well be used as a poster for dynamic and witty politicking. As a master of parliamentary standing orders, he will be remembered for living way ahead of his time.

He spoke the truth as it was as evident when he reminded MPs that there was no need to substantiate the obvious 'Kanu is dead'. Standing up to Jomo then needed real guts and balls of steel and Shikuku had both in abundance and eloquence.

Speaking of being modern and living ahead of his time what of his ready made-to-measure grave and coffin in Bungoma county. You cannot make that up on Shikuku.

Shikuku's preparations for after life has few equal/s. Not least from an African statesman born in a community where death is only spoken of in hushed low tones.

Evidence of Shikuku's superb brain can be found in numerous research papers by Cambridge professors who used him to recollect and record Kenya's history.

Shikuku needed not be a paper professor. His death is like a library burnt down. Fare well son of Oyondi.

...Adds Kumekucha Chris
A political analyst once said that the best person to be president of Kenya in a transition from the old to the new was one Martin Shikuku simply because all that Kenya needed was a true patriot who would have only one agenda; to put an abrupt stop to corruption. New ideas and initiatives would come later because this single mission executed successfully would transform the country immensely.

That spoke volumes about the manner in which Kenyans viewed this courageous politician. Standing up to the murderous government of Jomo Kenyatta was no mean feat and Shikuku is extremely lucky to have escaped with his life. His woes did not end with the death of Kenyatta and he quickly found himself in trouble with Moi too. In a bizarre and strange twist of fate Shikuku died on the exact same date Jomo Kenyatta died in 1978.

Shikuku was there right from the beginning and was in attendance for the famous Lancaster House talks in London that crafted Kenya's first constitution. Virtually everybody else there went on to use their public positions to amass vast fortunes. In his last days Shikuku had to rely on government handouts to pay for his prostate cancer treatment. That tells you a lot about what this man was about and what he stood for.

I was fortunate enough to meet hero Shikuku a few times in his twilight years. A very easy guy to talk to with a great sense of humour. Great intellect too. But what always shone through was his great love for the motherland. If fate were to be fair this man deserved to be president of Kenya much more than some cowardly fence-seaters I know.

Kwaheri bwana Shikuku Kenya owes you much more than will ever be revealed.

Another Update  from Chris
The late Shikuku prepared dug a grave and bought a coffin in preparation for his death over 20 years ago to ease the burden on his family after he was gone. Amazing guy. Read the story HERE


Anonymous said...

Fare thee well Martin, a great Kenyan and humble politician. You were a rare gem. Till we meet again.

Anonymous said...

Death is but a slow speed bump in the earthly affairs of men and women.

And that is one of the reasons why we, the living, have been generously granted six quarters* of life in which we are required to live and let live from the day we are born (D.O.B) to the day we are ready and able to embrace our mortality (D.O.D).

*Hence, the six quarters of human living (life) are:

a) 1 yr - 15 yrs.
b) 16 yrs - 30 yrs.
c) 31 yrs - 45 yrs.
d) 46 yrs - 60 yrs.
e) 61 yrs - 75 yrs.
f) 76 yrs - 90 yrs.

His death is like a library burnt down.

Well, wazee like the late Njenga Karume among others have taught us or rather set an example for the rest of future wazee who get to reach the fifth quarter of their lives, or sixth quarter for those who are lucky and strong enough to get there in one piece, to leave a documented narrative (book) for their immediate family and for others who may find it worthwhile.

With all due respect to the deceased, let's just hope he had put his library (memoirs) in order and left it intact before his eternal departure. Otherwise, his interesting library of life may end up being razed to the ground of oblivion.

May his soul sail on into enternity.

Anonymous said...

Why are all good politicians dying and leaving rotten ones?

Mwarang'ethe said...

"A political analyst once said that the best person to be president of Kenya in a transition from the old to the new was one Martin Shikuku simply because all that Kenya needed was a true patriot who would have only one agenda; to put an abrupt stop to corruption. New ideas and initiatives would come later because this single mission executed successfully would transform the country immensely."


Another LIE!


Anyway, since kifo hakina huruma, we leave to enjoy:

Anonymous said...

The 'people's watchman' "will not be happy in his coffin if politicians - especially presidential candidates - use his burial podium to sing his praises, which they did not after he left Parliament in 1997.

Similar stern reminder is also extended to some groups of people within the two constituencies of _______ and ________.

Including well known diehard anti-Shikuku political chiefs, their lieutenants and legions of foot-soldiers who were seen over celebrating his election defeat way-back in 1997, under the guise of newly founded spirit of multi-party democracy and funding from the former presidency.

As for the wannabe professional mourners, they are free to shade as many buckets of onion induced crocodilo tears as they want but their actions in 1997 and following are well known and documented.

Anyway, such is life where some of us love to embrace people we once knew or thought we knew, only after they are no longer alive.

Well, some of us should have remembered to give the people's watchman his calabash of uji, bowl of soup, plate of ugali, roses, ovedue praises, and heartiest accolades while he was still in our midst.

However, a very big 'thank you' to people like Jeff Koinange of K24 and few others who bothered to extend a recent digital introduction of the former people's watchman to the younger generations as well as several others who did not know him at all, let alone his unique historical people's watchman status.

May the People's Watchman Rest In Peace!

Anonymous said...

A lot more was expected from the post-colonial political bigwigs like the late Martin Shikuku during their political heydays, but very little was delivered to their constituents in terms of basic infrastructure among his people, dating back to the 1960s at time when the country was just beginning to steadly emerge from its colonial past. Unfortunately, the unchecked leadership of Kenyatta and his henchmen made matters worse to the point of destroying the nation's rebirth after the December 12, 1963.

Anonymous said...


This is not the time to put the shadow of a departed elder to the task, with regard to what he did or did not for himself in terms of procuring a good health insurance?

So, why did Hon. Martin Shikuku turn to government handouts, charity so to speak as the last resort in order to take care of his medical bills that were ballooning given the kind of treatment that he knew he would be needing?

There are some of us who don't understand how a man - a visionary - in his position, could be wise enough as to make his own advanced funeral arrangements, but failed to get adequate health insurance coverage in advance?

What went wrong? What happened? Why did he not think of including the health insurance at the time of the ground breaking for his final resting place?

Further, it has been noted that he was man with a large traditional family, therefore, he must have raised several sons and daughters who later went to develop or earn susbstantial means of money, and who could have come to the immediate rescue of their father in his hour(s) of need or during his final days.

After all, they had benefited beyond measure from being part of the family that belonged to Hon. Martin Shikuku? There is no doubt about it when it comes to children of prominent politicians in Kenya.

And what became of the hundred acre farm that he disclosed he had been granted during the mid-late 1960s?

Present day parliamentarians are making huge salaries, exorbitant allowances and perks, therefore it is expected that they will not go through what the likes of Cheleget (spl) Mutahi, Martin Shikuku et al have gone through in the last three decades.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing a very elegant and disntiguished digital portrait of the late Mh. Shikuku.

Although some of us may not have known the renowned politician nor had the chance to meet him, I among those wwho will preserve in our memories the black bow tie portrait of him for a long time to come.

By the way, long long long time ago, there was a good grandfatherly neighbour of ours, a Manyala, who resided with his son in an urban residential area located some where not far from Mbaraki (MSA), who was fond of referring to the late Mh. Martin Shikuku as Mecha Tai, Pwana Pow Tai.

We never figured out what he meant at the time, until one of his younger grandsons deciphered for us some of the many names of endearment the Manyala elders had for Mh. Shikuku, as Major Tie and Bwana Bow Tie among others, at a time when.

Surprisingly, it was during the same time when the cherished and adopted son of Mwaluvanga and Mwaluphamba, Mh. Boy Juma Boy, was in his last term in parliament.

May Mh. Bow Tie, RIP.

Anonymous said...

While the NHIF continues to bleed billions of shillings as a result of corruption within the Ministry of Medical Services and its affiliates like the NHIF, thousands of Kenyans perish every year due to lack of prevention and treatment of cancers like ovarian, breast, cervical, stomach, pancreatic, colon, prostate, lung, esophagael, and other types of cancers associated with increased age. And simply because they ca not afford to fly out of the country and seek quality medical care like the likes of Anyang'o Nyong'o and a select few.

Anonymous said...

A final salute to a man who once upon a time was very patriotic, courageous, people friendly and honest in all of his daily dealings with the public. 'People's Watchman' you will be dearly missed. RIP.

Anonymous said...

It's very hard to put an abrupt end to corruption and transform a country immensely when eight out of ten people (Kenyans) are deeply engaged in corruption on a daily basis. The ordinary citizens are far worse agents of systemic corruptions than the recipients of corruptions aka money making politicians.

Anonymous said...

I calling upon the people in this country, I have come a long way, painful way, I have seen people die for this change.

I have taken a lot of teargass in these streets, for all these forty-eight years.

I want the people to understand one thing, those who fell for the struggle of independence they did not, they were commoners, not the big, the sons and daughters of the big men, they were commoners who died to bring us where we are.

But what hurts me more, sometimes I cry, is that that commoner is worse off than before independence.

It is that commoner for the so-called elite, who subsidized their education with the hope that they will help them come from the mud (abject poverty) they are in.

Yet those intellectuals are the ones who are looting this country. They are the ones, intellectual who are pushing that woman and that man who subsidized his or her university education, further into the mud.

What is the medicine? The medicine, when we start the new Republic, make sure whoever gives you money to vote for him, take the money because he is the one who impoverished you.

But don't give that money to your children, it is cursed money, go and pay debts or eat it yourself.

Because if you take that money and give to your children, none of your children will ever become a leader.

There is a move where there are people who are supposed to vote, never to be voted for, and you vote for the children of the rich and the children of the famous.

Your own child will never be a leader of this country... ~ Hon. Martin Shikuku.

Anonymous said...

The Kenyan public will get the rare chance to have a first hand experience of seeing a traditional burial rite of a well respected Luhya elder, where several priced bulls and their owners (Luhya elders) will take turns to stomp the grave and the grounds around it during noontide.

The farewell dance ritual commences immediately after the burial has taken place. When the last amount of soil has been sholved over the grave, and people just let it loose, mourning turns into praise and celebration in honour of the departed
- Mukuche, an 83 year old Luhya elder and a former secondary school teacher.

Mwarang'ethe said...

"So, why did Hon. Martin Shikuku turn to government handouts, charity so to speak as the last resort in order to take care of his medical bills that were ballooning given the kind of treatment that he knew he would be needing?"


It is PRECISELY to avoid such robbery (after death of an MP), our Speaker, in his SOLOMON like WISDOM (we doubt Solomon's wisdom), has called for SALARY INCREMENT (robbery when the MP's are alive).

We therefore, urge Kenyans to accept without a murmur the proposed VAT to be charged on their bread, sanitary pads (for now, please, forget Raila once promised women/school girls free pads), irrigation systems etc, so as to fund the increased MP's salaries.

Source: Marende seeks pay rise for MPs:

With that, we leave to enjoy:

Some goin' east
Some goin' west
Some step aside to try their best
Some livin' big
But the most livin' small
They just can't even find
No food at all

Anonymous said...

Everybody here is a FOOL. Until you agree with the oasis of all knowledge Prof Mwarang'ethe.

Let us make Mwara a paramount chief and see what he can do. According to him all an everything is f#%ked.

Anonymous said...

@1:48 AM
"Eshilemba" is the term for the burial rite.

Anonymous said...

Kijana wa Fulani, speak no unwarranted ill of Mzee Martin Shikuku, unless otherwise, for he is already gone across to join his ancestors and also to be with many of his friends dating back to the days of the struggle for independence, and especially The Lancaster House Conference (Kenya)meetings of of 1960, 1962 and 1963.

Lest we forget that he was not able to attend his daughter's funeral due to severe health reasons at the time.

May father and daughter rest in eternal peace.

Anonymous said...

this unfortunate death is obviously a dellussion an illusion, it is a product of ivy league education!

Anonymous said...


Re: His death is like a library burnt down 100%.

Yes indeed, yes indeed, it is rightly so and I stand corrected. There are many in our midst who concur that what veteran politicians like Martin Shikuku have seen, said, heard, and written about in the last five decades or even starting from the days when our homeland was still under the British Protectorate of East Africa, can fill more than 35,000 sq ft of real estate in the form of a national library situated in a what could (be or) have been a Freedom Museum of the History of Kenya's Independence Movement(s) and Post Colonial Kenya, or National Center for the Struggle of Independence (Uhuru).

Anonymous said...

Poleni ndugu zetu tunawasihi roho yake Mheshimiwa Martin Shikuku isipotee bure.

Manake yeye alikuwa mmoja wapo ya wale wanasiasa na wabuge ambao walitutetea kwa njia nyingi sana wakijaribu kuhakikisha kwamba hali ya wanainchi wote iweze kufikia kwenye kiwango cha maisha ya haki, amani, umoja na maedeleo ya kiuchumi bila ubaguzi wa rangi, ukabila, thehebu, au sababu yote ile.

Njia ya watu wema ni kama nuru ya alfajiri ambayo hung'aa zaidi na zaidi hata mchana kamili.

Natoa salaam za rambirambi kwa mjane wa marahemu, familia yake na Wakenya wote.

Naomba Mola amrehemu shujaa huyu na ailaze roho yake mahala pema peponi.

Muru wa Gacii

Mwarang'ethe said...

Everybody here is a FOOL. Until you agree with the oasis of all knowledge Prof Mwarang'ethe.

Let us make Mwara a paramount chief and see what he can do. According to him all an everything is f#%ked.

8/24/12 4:59 AM


African Teachers do SERIOUS RESEARCH.

Did Solomon RAPE Queen Makeda/Sheba?

"Their greatest ruler was the legendary Queen Makeda. ... the attendants left them
alone Solomon tricked the young Queen; raped her in the cave of candlelight."

If so, is that WISDOM?

With that, we leave to enjoy:


Anonymous said...

@Mwara said

..African Teachers do SERIOUS RESEARCH....

Regurgitating old new/history is not research. Yours is the typical problem of loud-mouthed humnaities. So called African teacher is a cheap shot, what new knowledge have you brought forth?

Look research is synonymous with invention, where is yours? Story telling is cheap research. Real research is SCIENCE (no social).

Anonymous said...

Talk of the people who are addicted to eating other people's food, bulls, goats, chickens, ugali and drinking free tea, soda and crates of beer during the funerals.

And what do they do they do? They always rare their ugly greedy cultural heads under the so-called this cultural practise, or that customary tradition and so forth, when the funeral of a prominent politician or wealthy person is involved.

If the so-called wills are a foreign mzungu inheritence etc as alluded to, then why do the very people of Butere, especially the so-called conservative elders of the Abarechea (translation please) clan still worship the mzungu god, use the mzungu bible, named after the mzungu ancestors?

And what about the land title deed? Another foreign mzungu inheritence?

How comes the Abarechea clan has never disowned the titles deeds and reverted to communal lands as was the ancient cultural practice agreed upon by their fore fathers for centuries?

The other funny issue about so-called demands during funerals that are made by the cultural warriors, is that most of them still carry identity cards ("papers") another Mzungu inheretence, which the names such as Peter, Leo, Holiness (now that is a new one when comapred to Purity, Grace, Immaculate, Chastity, Virginia, et al), Willies and company of concerned elders.

Birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates galore.

Are so accustomed to swallowing mzungu presciption medications and off-the-counter medications without a second thought.

Wafirika wenzetu wana mengi ya kustajabisha kupita kiasi.

Anonymous said...

The burial should be in Butere as Shikuku was their member of parliament and not in Bungoma saying that it will disown the community.

Well, well, well! Who disowned the late Hon. Martin Shikuku while he was still alive, kicking and very politically vibrant in 1997?

Why he is his mortal remains (dead body) more valuable and cherished at the moment than when he was still walking in their midst after the 1997 general election?

Who is fooling the who here? Is it all about the fatten bulls that the Hon. Martin Shikuku reserved aside for the exclusive feeding of guests from far away places as the ancestoral traditons of his people dictated?

Where were the so-called Abarechea clan to raise their vehement objections when Hon. Martin Shikuku prepared his grave and made his intentions public? Where were they at the time? So, why now?

Anonymous said...

It is good for the late to be buried in his original home and not in Nadlu (Farm) as that will not please our gods of misango and cause an abomination to our clan.

Why would their "gods of misango" be displeased when in reality the late Hon. Martin Shikuku is said to have been in distance land wheree his late parents worked?

In other words, if it is a question of pleasing the "gods of misango" then baby Marin Shikuku's ambilical cord should have been brought to his ancestral home and buried under a Lusiola tree as one professor stated on a local radio station.

A ceremony which never happened and which is also very oblivious to many of the Abarechea clan elders,most of who have no clue where their own ambilical cords were buried and whether the ceremonial tree (Lusiola) was planted in their homesteads by their parents or grandparents.

Have the Abarechea clan elders ever erected any shrines for their "gods of misango"as is the common cases in places like Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, and elsewhere?

Or are the so-called "gods of misango"so transient that they do not care where they belong or where they are honoured by their mortal subjects?

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to the traditional beliefs of the Abarechea clan as well as the peoplee of Butere among others, how does the main homestead gate have the power or portency to continue causing more deaths in a home or family or life of man like the late Hon. Martin Shikuku, when reality, he has already been preceded in death by so many members of his won household?

Is there any validity to the main homestead gate issue, or is it a myth or pure supersitious belief from the several decades ago, when pastoralists and hunter gatherers would move away from their homestead (in forty days time) after burning them down or abandoning them once the eldest member of the homestead was dead and buried.

Anonymous said...

The late Hon. Martin Shikuku had neglected his (real) home as he had not constructed any house that owuld earn him dignity despite his fame as one of the veteran politicians...

Now, now, I will never understand why people would waste a lot money on constructing huge houses in the rural areas that do not earn them any income, nor will ever earn future generational family members some sort of deserved income once or years after the original owners (builder) has passed away?

How many Kenyans still remember the breathtaking pictures of the magnificent edifice (of a bungalow) that once belonged to Kenya's vice president Hon. Joseph Zuzarte Murumbi?

And what is left of it years after his beloved wife passed away?

Take a second look at the pictures and especially the walkway leading from air-strip to the homestead and the surrounding area.

The well decorated walls and room furnishings, the guest rooms, huge dinning room, conference type of living room space, wide verandas, the well designed adjacent workers' housing and horse stables.

The land dotted with raws of vines and other exotic trees like mizambarau fruit trees, pomegranate trees, apple pear trees, mulberry trees, apple tree, and cherry trees, etc

Sadly, only ruins stand in its place. Gone is the edifice that once attracted world great leaders like Archbishop Makrios of Cyprus, His Higness the Aga Khan, et al, as seen in some of the guest pictures.

So why blame or laugh at the late Hon. Martin Shikuku for not having built a house similar to the other guy who is the boss of COTU, among others in Luhyaland.

Anonymous said...

The funny wwith most of us if that we expect the government, parliament, civil service, the police force, civil society, lawyers and what have yo to change, yet the majority of us continue to operate daily as if we are still stuck in the mid-late 1800s.

So, how can we expect the world around us and beyond to change when we do not want to begin changing from within and the for the better?

There is no way under the Kenyan or East African skies that we are going to be allowed to have our goats and eat them as well.

Anonymous said...

Shikuku may have been ahead of his time given the type of paragmatic man he was and the well spelt out funeral arrangments he put in place for himself and his spouses.

The best most of us can do, if we want to emulate him by being ahead of our time, is to decree or make legal arrangements for our bodies to be cremated once the viewing is done by our concerned families and clan members, then have the ashes set free in the air or skies above far way places like around or over Mt. Longonot, Menengai Crater, Ngong Forest, Karura Forest, Sugar, tea or coffee plantations, etc.

Instead of pulluted the countryside or our homes with concrete slabs that pass for cemented graves that will be forgotten in a matter of time.

So, have we ever thought of what happens to the graves in the event the land exchanges hands or is auctioned off as has been in many of the sad cases in the last three decades?

Why not be earth friendly and bury people in materials that don't consume unnecessary timber (trees) and leave the graves uncemented, so that we honour the environment whenever we end up becoming as "dust to dust"?

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