Michael Kijana Wamalwa

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The Honourable
Michael Wamalwa
E.G.H.
Wamalwapotr.jpg
8th Vice President of Kenya
In office
3 January 2003 – 23 August 2003
President Mwai Kibaki
Preceded by Musalia Mudavadi
Succeeded by Moody Awori
Personal details
Born Michael Kijana Wamalwa
(1944-11-25)25 November 1944
Sosio, Kenya
Died 23 August 2003(2003-08-23) (aged 58)
Hampstead, London, England
Nationality Kenyan
Political party National Rainbow Coalition
Alma mater Strathmore School
King's College London
London School of Economics
Lincoln's Inn
Occupation Politician
Profession Lawyer
Teacher
Cabinet Minister of Home Affairs

Michael Kijana Wamalwa (25 November 1944 – 23 August 2003) was a Kenyan politician and, at the time of his death, served as the eighth Vice-President of Kenya.

Early life[edit]

Michael Christopher Wamalwa Kijana was born in Sosio, a village near Kimilili in Kenya's Bungoma district. Wamalwa was the son of an influential MP, William Wamalwa. He went on to become head boy and the best debater at his secondary school, Strathmore School,[2] won a national essay competition and represented Kenya at a UN student forum. In 1965, he was awarded a commonwealth scholarship to study law at King's College London, graduating with a third-class honours degree in Law in 1968 before going on to the London School of Economics. He was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1970. He returned to Kenya that same year, and taught law at the University of Nairobi. Some of the students he taught there were to become his political allies and opponents later on. During this period, he also ran the family farms in the Kitale area, as well as holding several prominent government positions, including general manager of the Kenya Stone Mining Company and director of the Kenya-Japan Association.

Politics[edit]

Wamalwa's first foray into politics came in Kenya's 1974 parliamentary election. Just 30, his opponents painted him as too young and from too wealthy a background to effectively represent his constituency. His campaign was flashy: it included the use of an aircraft and extravagant public rallies. He finally won a seat in 1979, as a protégé of Masinde Muliro. In the run-up to the first multy-party elections in post-independence Kenya, in 1992, Wamalwa identified with the Ford Kenya faction of the FORD opposition movement. He was elected MP for Saboti Constituency, as well as First Vice Chairman of his party. In January 1994, he became chairman of Ford Kenya following the death of Oginga Odinga. Wamalwa went on to contest the 1997 Kenyan elections as a leader of the opposition, but he fared badly and came only fourth in the nationwide tally of votes.Though he may of lost he never gave up and continued to try using his amazing can do attitude.

Political life[edit]

Alongside Tom Mboya, Ronald Ngala and PLO Lumumba, he was a gifted Kenyan orator. He sacrificed his riches to assist the poor and needy by paying school fees and assisting in raising standards of living for the poor. He started the Touch Africa foundation with a view toward empowering youths, the poor, and the needy to realize their dreams. He was a member of Parliament (MP) for Saboti Constituency, in Trans-Nzoia District, Rift Valley Province. His home town was Kitale. Perhaps uniquely in Kenyan history, he managed to secure votes without tribal/ethnic chauvinism. He was thought of as an automatic successor of President Mwai Kibaki.

2002 Elections[edit]

In the run up to the 2002 general elections, Mr Wamalwa kijana closed ranks with fellow opposition stalwarts in a bid to wrestle KANU out of power. KANU had been the ruling party since independence. He joined fellow 1997 presidential candidates Charity Kaluki Ngilu and Mwai kibaki and formed an alliance. They were later on joined by Raila Odinga who had also contested in the 1997 presidential elections and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka who jumped ship KANU after all indications proved that president Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi had settled on his predecessor's son Uhuru kenyatta as his heir to the presidency. This was seen in bad light by many KANU starlwarts who joined Kalonzo MUsyoka and Raila Odinga into the broad opposition alliance that formed the National Rainbow coalition (NARC) that swept away KANU from power. Mwai Kibaki was elected president and in turn rewarded Mr Wamalwa Kijana as his vice president in line with his contribution to his presidential win.

Failing health[edit]

In late 2002, during the election campaign, Mwai Kibaki was seriously injured in a car accident and was flown to London for treatment. There he was visited by Wamalwa, who also fell ill and had to be treated, supposedly for kidney problems. This was apparently the forerunner of further illness because he was taken ill again in mid-2003 and was once again treated in London. He briefly recovered, and returned to Kenya to marry Yvonne Nambia, in a sumptuous ceremony; it was said that he proposed in Shakespearean English, and arrived at church in a vintage Ford, wearing a morning coat.

Wamalwa with Yvonne Nambia at their wedding

Just two months after the wedding, Wamalwa returned to the Royal Free Hospital for another check-up - leading to widespread speculation that his health was worse than doctors had been letting on. He was never to recover. He died on the morning of 23 August 2003,[3] and was later given a state burial at his farm in Kitale. The cause of Wamalwa's illness and death has been disputed and official statements from the government did not specify a particular cause though some claim that he died of HIV/AIDS. Various Kenyan newspapers listed gout, a chest infection, or pancreatitis as the reasons for his illness while the British magazine The Economist reported his death had been caused by complications relating to AIDS.[4][5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kenya buries vice-president". BBC News. 6 September 2003. 
  2. ^ "Unique learning that nurtures discipline and talent". Standardmedia.co.ke. 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2011-08-04. 
  3. ^ Kenya's vice-president dies in London Archived April 26, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Michael K. Wamalwa, 58; Vice President of Kenya". The Los Angeles Times. 24 August 2003. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Going wrong?". The Economist. 9 October 2003. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  • Simiyu Wandiiba. Masinde Muliro: A Biography (Nairobi: EAEP, 1996)
  • Wekesa, Bob. The Road Not Taken: A Biography of Michael Wamalwa Kijana. (Nairobi: Oakland, 2004).

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Musalia Mudavadi
Vice-President of Kenya
2003
Succeeded by
Moody Awori