Veteran politician and multiparty democracy hero Kenneth Matiba is dead

Kenneth Matiba

Kenneth Matiba

The leaders remembered the fallen liberation fighter for his remarkable contribution in the history of Kenya.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and Deputy President William Ruto lead Kenyans in mourning Kenneth Matiba who died on Sunday, April 15.

It is not clear why the family had not sent their condolences more than 12 hours after the death.

He condoled with the widow, Mrs Edith Matiba and her family regretting that "the cruel hand of death has robbed us of a devoted leader and mentor who was a role model to many".

"Mama Ida and I have learnt with deep shock of the passing of second liberation hero Hon Kenneth Matiba. As a family, we have a very special bond with Matiba and his family; one sealed by a shared vision and the scars of our shared struggles", he said.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga said the country has lost one of the last living symbols of the pains Kenyans have had to bear in order to get where they are.

"The country grieves a great man".

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is said to have been receiving regular updates on Mzee Matiba's health condition, was among the first leaders to arrive at the Karen Hospital after the multi-party democracy hero was pronounced dead.

Matiba's role in the fight for multi-party democracy during the KANU era was acknowledged by the President as a significant determinant of the political fashion of the country soon after 1992.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said: "I received with sadness the demise of former Minister and Kiharu MP, Hon. The veteran politician will be remembered for his fight for multi-party democracy that we are all enjoying now", his said on his Twitter page.

In a televised address from State House Nairobi, President Kenyatta eulogised Mzee Matiba as a "true patriot who loved Kenya and a nationalist who believed in hard work and building strong bonds of friendship for the betterment of all".

Matiba died at a Karen hospital while undergoing treatment at the age of 85.

The veteran was detained without trial in the 1990s during which he suffered a stroke.