Veteran Kajiado politician Daniel Kibwezi ole Muyaa, a firebrand who cultivated personal connections with presidents Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Moi and Uhuru Kenyatta, has died.
Ole Muyaa, a long-serving chairman of Olkejuado County Council, died yesterday at a hospital in Isinya sub-county, Kajiado, where his family had taken him after he complained of heartburn.
He was 76
A week ago, The Standard visited Muyaa at his home in Kisaju, in what has now turned out to be his last media interview. There he took a trip down memory lane, recalling the highlights of a political career that spanned more than two decades.
Muyaa, who had a long-running political feud with the late Vice President George Saitoti, recalled a recent meeting with former President Daniel Arap Moi after a long time. It was an emotional reunion.
“Moi was moved when he saw me in a wheelchair. He could not imagine someone younger than him could be wheelchair-bound when he was still walking upright. I told him that apart from my legs, I was totally healthy,” he said.
Muyaa had been in a wheelchair for more than three years after he got spinal complications. Besides this, his face still retained the vibrancy of his youth. He did not spot a speck of white hair on his head either.
Surprisingly, in spite of his 76 years, he had a razor-sharp memory and recalled incidents that happened years ago.
In 1962, just before Kenya got independence, Ole Muyaa and a few other young men were posted to Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s home in Gatundu as guards.
“We had been promised jobs in the National Youth Service when it was eventually rolled out,” he recounted. He was 19 then.
Muyaa recalled that the man who later became Kenya’s first president was a generous but very strict boss.
“Mzee always had his bakora (staff) by his side and would not hesitate to use it on you if you were on the wrong…but only when you were on the wrong,” he recalled.
Ole Muyaa’s date with Mzee’s dreaded bakora was still vivid in his mind.
“One day we were roasting meat for Mzee and his guests and it got burnt. He ordered us to lie down and gave us a few hot ones on our backsides,” he recounted.
Still, Muyaa had a lot of respect for his then boss.
“Mzee was a good man and he took good care of us. For example, whenever a cow or goat was slaughtered at Gatundu, he would ask us which parts, according to our culture, young men ate, and tell us to take them,” Ole Muyaa reminisced.
He came close to another spanking from Kenyatta, this time triggered by his young son, Uhuru, now the country’s fourth president.
Again, it happened at Gatundu, when Uhuru, then a small boy, wandered to the place where Muyaa and his fellow guards were feasting on meat.
“He was a very social boy, just like he is today. We offered him some meat. Mzee saw this and got very annoyed with us; we never repeated it,” he recounted.
Ole Muyaa’s interactions with the Kenyattas led to a lifelong bond with the family. Before he died, he had planned to invite Uhuru for his 76 birthday celebrations.
“He (Uhuru) calls me father. I have hosted him here for goat-eating,” he said during the interview.
The birthday party was never to be.
When he was alive, Muyaa would speak for hours about Mzee Kenyatta’s eccentricity, including occasionally holding cabinet meetings under a tree in Gatundu. These meetings so impressed young Ole Muyaa that they inspired his love for politics.
“I resolved that I would become a politician,” he recounted.
He went on to become a very influential chairman of the Olkejuado County Council and a trusted lieutenant of the then President Moi.
“I had a direct link to State House,” he said.
As a councillor for Kaputiei North, Muyaa represented a geographical area as big as Saitoti’s Kajiado North Constituency. He soon wormed his way into the hearts of residents from all tribes.
“When I became councillor for Kaputiei North in 1983, I found that non-Maasais were not allowed to own property here. I allocated them plots without discrimination and they loved me so much,” he recounted.
According to the former councillor, the people of Kajiado North urged him to contest the parliamentary seat then held by Saitoti. He challenged the VP in the 2002 elections and lost.
He then decided to call it a day in active politics after 25 years: 10 as a councillor and 15 as chairman of Olkejuado County Council.
We are undertaking a survey to help us improve our content for you. This will only take 1 minute of your time, please give us your feedback by clicking HERE. All responses will be confidential.