Another Mystery: The Defence Rests.
Saturday 27th of April began just like any other for many an average Kenyan. For me it began with breakfast and the usual nose around social media for the latest in news and whole truths, half truths with a heaped spoon full of gossip added into the mix, oh and a few games thrown in to pass the time. This is exactly what I was doing when I got a piece of news I didn’t believe or refused to if you’d like. The first thing I saw as I returned leisurely back to the top of my Facebook page- formulating my next status update, some remark about the weather- was a large picture of the Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo, I wondered why his picture would be distributed by a local TV network. I focused on its accompanying header and found my answer the senator and lawyer had passed on. Being the sceptic I am I did not believe the news at once. In search of clarification or more concrete proof I switched channels, only to be greeted repeatedly by the same breaking news banner at the bottom of each local station. I sat there trying to absorb the news, but the only thoughts that came to mind were that he’d never looked more healthy at the supreme court where he’d been a member of council for his friend Raila Odinga and the CORD coalition as he took to court as part of a 10 member team disputing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election victory. So how could he be dead? Was a question I and many Kenyans undoubtedly asked ourselves in the hours and indeed days following the former LSK chairman’s sudden demise.
Almost immediately Kenyans took to social media not only to condole and comfort the grieving family- the newly elected senator left behind a widow, seven children and 4 or so grand-kids- but to speculate on just what caused the curtain to fall on the otherwise healthy senator.
The Senator arrived at his Kwa Kyelyu ranch near Maanzoni Lodge on Mombasa Road at 3pm of Friday, having driven himself there.
He then proceeded to inspect the ranch and give instruction on maintenance (4-6pm)
At 7pm he is served a dinner of Githeri and roast meat, after which he retired to bed.
When the senator, a normally early riser had not come downstairs; by 10:30 am (the senator usually had breakfast between 9:30-10:30) and on finding the breakfast still untouched the long time cook being worried went up to his employers room and knocked on getting no response ventured in to find his boss lying motionless in his bed. The elderly cook said his boss “appeared deeply asleep with a lot of foam coming from his mouth.” He then attested to immediately calling the farm manager. The manager then called Mutula’s son Mutula Kilonzo Junior and a brother in-law Chris Musau who were first on the scene.Apart from the government pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor the family decided to call in another set of eyes in from the UK- Calder Ian Maddison- to observe their loved ones autopsy and no one would blame the Kilonzo family for taking such precautionary measures in their quest to find out what happened to their husband, father, brother and In-law. Their main motivation for going for this option may have been that Kenya has had a chequered and unflattering past when it comes to the deaths of its high profile members of society- most of whom were politicians- in all the minds tasked with figuring out what happened to the former Justice & Constitutional Affairs minister totalled 7 and they all had different theories as to what could have caused Muheshimiwa’s demise. Everything from natural causes to poisoning were bandied around, but considering that the examiners found evidence that the senator had been sick twice between when he’d gone to bed on Friday night and the next morning; once not far from his bed and again in the bathroom sink the likely hood of false play was thrown around even more. Add to this the fact that the former Education minister- who once said that ‘girls were not meant to be dressed as nuns’- when referring to the length of their uniform skirts. And who abolished after school and extra holiday tuition- had said that he had something that would shake and change the country. Sadly we may never find out what he meant by that for he took that secret to his grave.
That was some days ago but for the past 2 days- Wednesday and Thursday these theories were shoved into a corner when the country took stock of the intelligent, strong willed and diligent warrior we had all lost just 12 days before. He was by all accounts given both at his funeral service and burial a friend who took pride and pleasure in spending time with his family and friends. He also loved the law which he took up when as a child “He had watched his family lose land, through unfair rulings by a judge.” He was also instrumental in giving Kenya its new constitution in 2010. A constitution he would go on to uphold and defend even if it meant disagreeing or stepping on a few toes. That is exactly what happened when he voiced his opinion against allowing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto being allowed to contest for the presidency due to the criminal charges being brought against them for their roles in the 2007/08 post election violence.
This stand allowed Kenyans to see just how tough he was when it came to the constitution he knew like the back of his hand. Fast forward to his funeral and burial services and we were given more insight into Mutula the loving husband, caring father and grand-father.
First came his children who painted a picture of a man who put stock in the education of all his children, whose favourite colours were red and yellow, a friend and mentor a man who if he didn’t have answers to your problems would say ‘give me a week’. He was neat and a creature of habit; waking up at 3am and going to work by 6am- his own law firm that he’d began straight after attaining his University degree- at the top of his class no less. He was someone who “Never settled for second place.”
In one of his last public appearances the proud father had a front row seat to his daughter Kethi in action- along with the rest of us he marvelled and basked in the pride of seeing his daughter as lead council for AFRICOG in the supreme court hearings against the IEBC’s declaration of Uhuru Kenyatta as the country’s 4th president.
Then came his widow Nduku who fondly remembered her husband’s final meal with her of Ugali, fish and greens. She also recalled his loving gestures, the cards and notes he often gave her. A husband who’d buy her jewellery and all she’d ever wanted. Adding that he’d been saved in February this year. He’d asked God’s forgiveness and repenting before Christ.
She then read from what would be his last birthday card to her. Wherein he wrote in part: You are the one I one day hoped would be my wife... he signed the card-Kitutu-his nickname or pet name.
Given the revelation of the previous day and the many rumours about the female company the senator was keeping- Caroline Mutoko being one being loudly bandied around on social media sights, their relationship being said to last 10 years. The previous day- Wednesday- a young woman- Eunice Nthenya came forward to declare that on the 6th May 2006 she gave birth to a baby boy, a son she claimed was the late Senator’s. To which end she filed a paternity suit in Nairobi. The 22 year old told a court that Mutula had fathered a son with her and that he was therefore entitled to claim a share of his estate. High court judge Luka Kimaru allowed her application for a DNA test that will put to rest her claim that Mutula is the father of her 7 year-old son. Her father Robert Kavita had worked as a herdsman for 12 years. Nthenya claims she’d had the relationship with the Senator between 2005 and 2008. This would mean then that the young woman was a mere teenager when their relationship began- Nduku’s loving memories and statements could be read into by the sceptics and conspiracy theorists as a firm declaration and statement or warning of ‘he was my husband, love; he loved me.’
Throughout the last two days Kenyan viewers heard almost the same thing from everyone who came forth to eulogize the Makueni senator first at the funeral service at the Nairobi Baptist church then at a second service at Kima Secondary school. Kilonzo was born and laid to rest in Mbooni, his ancestral home yesterday afternoon. The senator was repeatedly eulogized as ‘more than just a brother, father, cousin and grand-father, he was a friend.’ Said his cousin. We learnt that he was a ‘stickler for time’ and that he ‘abhorred disorganization’ and that he ‘never used an alarm clock’ But of all those who eulogized Mutula no one did a better job or stole the show more his grand-son- Kethi’s son. Smartly dressed in a grey suit he remembered his grand dad an’ honest, sincere and loving’ man who had ‘lots of mugs all of which I now own’ and he promised to ‘lift him and his name higher and higher.’ He then got to shake hands with some of the many ‘excellencies’ he’d earlier made mention of on the way back to his seat.
We also learned that Mutula loved the environment- as is evidenced by his sprawling 1,500 acre ranch two or so hours outside the city where he kept among other animals’ cheetahs and lions. He had a green thumb designing a rose garden for his wife in the form of/spelling out her name.
He usually escaped-each Friday- to his ’paradise’ as he referred to the property where he would often host guests some of whom would stay the night. Within days of his death reports surfaced that there may have been a mystery 5th person at the senators ranch on the day before he was found dead. The senator drove himself up to the ranch then spent an hour giving instructions to * those who tended to the animals. Then he went in and at around 8pm he ordered a meal of Githeri and then adding an order of Nyama Choma-roast meat, sometime after which he retired to bed and never be heard from again.
Now the country’s attention shifts to awaiting the late Senator’s autopsy results and the hope that this mystery will finally be solved and that the many questions surrounding his death shall find conclusive answers and not be relegated to one of the many puzzling deaths that was never figured out. Among these age old questions are the deaths of Ouko , Saitoti, Lina Kilimo and Julie Ward just to name a few.
We can only hope that there are more men and women with as much passion and love for this country and that they will bravely step up to lead and defend it.