The Immovable Rock.
There’ll surely be no other quite like ‘Mitch’ as John Njoroge Michuki was nicknamed by his peers. He was admitted to the Aga Khan University Hospital in the Capital were he would later succumb to a heart attack and as foreign dignitaries, peers and members of his family and friends said their last goodbyes and laid him to rest at his burial at Kangema in Murang’a earlier this week we sit back and take stock of a life well lived- he was 80- we will all remember his unshakable belief in doing what was right even though at times it made him unpopular and reviled by some.
Hate him or love him Michuki stood firm for what he believed in, ruthless and no nonsense on corruption and those who practiced it, focussed and driven could all be used to describe the man who began life in Kangema. He both adhered to the rule of law and bent it in equal measure. As the minister for transport he inspired love and adoration from the public and hatred form some in the Matatu sector with his strict and unyielding rules geared towards overhauling and streamlining an errant sector, affectionately named the Michuki rules were the hawk eyed business man politicians forced matatu conductors and drivers to shower and wear uniforms with the view of smartening up the sector. Mataus that are known for over speeding, reckless driving and often perilous over tacking were now slowed down by the dreaded speed governor and seatbelts were without question a fixture in the 18 seat public service vehicle.
Then came March of 2006 when the otherwise law abiding citizen seemed to bend the law with a raid by the police on the Standard group in his tenure as Internal Security Minister a raid which resulted in the confiscation of several computers and temporarily paralysed KTN and The Standard Newspaper. When he later addressed the media he stated that “they were acting on intelligence that showed the company planned to run stories that would have been a threat to national security” Uttering the quote that would be as famous as he was: ‘When you rattle a snake prepare to get bitten’
Even when a parliamentary team and commission of inquiry were formed to investigate the raid and the conduct of two Armenians, Artur Margaryan and Artur Sargasyan, Michuki stood his ground, saying his actions were in the best interests of the country.
The Armenians were thought to have been hired by Government operatives to lead the illegal operation.
Then came the orders to eliminate all members of the outlawed Mungiki sect which caused an outcry amongst the women, and mothers of Central Province.
His saving grace then came again when he was appointed Minister of Environment where his innate passion for the environment and conserving it shone through and vanquished and ill feelings the public had towards him taking the same strict no-nonsense approach he had with the transport industry.
Despite the blemish that the raid on the Standard and the wanton killing of those seen to have been members of the outlawed Mungiki sect Michuki was loved and revered by many and the country will truly miss John Njoroge Michuki