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Famous Kenyans who died in 2018



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As we approach the end of the year, here is a list of some of the notable people who have passed away in 2018.

Veteran politician, April 2018

The crusader for Kenya’s multi-party democracy, hailed as second liberation hero, passed on at Karen Hospital aged 85 years.

Mr Matiba had been unwell since suffering a stroke in 1991 while at Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, where he was held without trial during the reign of former president Daniel arap Moi.

In the 1992 presidential election, Mr Matiba had emerged second, losing to Mr Moi, as the wave of multiparty system gripped the country.

In May 1963, he became the first indigenous African permanent secretary for Education and was then appointed permanent secretary in the Ministry of Commerce the following year.

He founded The People newspaper as a weekly in 1992 and re-launched it as a daily in 1998.

His death came hardly eight months after a court awarded him Sh15 million as damages for violations suffered, Sh18.14 million for medical expenses and Sh471.66 million for the financial losses incurred during detention.

Kenneth Matiba

The late veteran politician Kenneth Matiba. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The 2015 World 400m hurdles champion, August 2018

Mr Bett perished in a road accident along the Eldoret-Kapsabet road just a day after returning from the Continental Championships in Nigeria.

He made history in China after becoming the first Kenyan to win a gold medal in a short distance race on the world stage. He broke the then Erick Keter’s 22-year national record.

He won gold medal at the 2015 World Championships at the famous Bird’s Nest stadium. The 28-year old was also two-time African Championship medallist.

Nicholas Bett


Ex-Nairobi Town Clerk, October 2018

Former Nairobi Town Clerk John Gakuo in Nairobi Hospital, a day before hearing for his application for release from jail on bail was set to happen.

Mr Gakuo, 68, had cited his age and ill health as the main reasons in the application to be released from jail. He was fined Sh1 million and sentenced for three years for abuse of office and failure to comply with procurement rules.

He was jailed together with former local government permanent secretary Sammy Kirui in connection with the purchase of cemetery land valued at Sh283 million.

Gakuo was first elected the Nairobi Town Clerk in 2004 under the defunct Nairobi City Council. He is largely credited with refurbishing Central Park and Uhuru Park.

He also brightened up the face of the city, making it mandatory for building owners to fix and repaint them before getting their licenses renewed.

John Gakuo

Former Nairobi Town Clerk John Gakuo. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Veteran Kikuyu musician, October 2018

Popular Kikuyu musician Joseph Kamaru died at MP Shah Hospital in Nairobi, bringing an end to his long career spanning several decades.

Mr Kamaru, 79, launched his music career in 1957 while still in his teens when he moved from his native Kangema, Murang’a, to the capital, Nairobi.

One of his biggest contributions to the music industry was his re-workings of Kikuyu folk songs, some of which had been used to mobilise the community against colonial rule during the Mau Mau war.

Joseph Kamaru

Musician Joseph Kamaru entertains guests during Madaraka celebrations in Nyeri on June 1, 2017. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Co-founder and board director at Sarova Hotels & Resorts, October 2018
Mohinder Singh Vohra died along with his wife Swarna Vohra, their daughter Reena Vohra and daughter-in-law Atu Vohra in a car crash along the Mombasa-Nairobi highway.
It was a tragedy for the family, which in 2017 also lost Jaideep Singh Vohra, Mr Vohra’s son, who was also a director at Sarova.
The family co-owns the Sarova hotels and resorts along with John Kariuki, the brother to former chief spy, James Kanyotu.
Sarova Hotels and Resorts include Sarova Mara Camp, Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa, Sarova Woodlands, Sarova Stanley, Sarova Panafric, Ambassadeur Hotel, , as well as three hotels in London, UK.

Widow of former Vice President

Mrs Wamalwa, the widow of former vice president Michael Wamalwa Kijana died at her sister’s home in Nanyuki.

Until her death, Mrs Wamalwa was the Deputy Director in the Asia and Australasia Directorate in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She married Mr Wamalwa in 2003. But barely six months after their grand union, Mr Wamalwa died in London, where he had gone for treatment.

She had put behind the devastation of losing her husband and went back to school to study for a Master’s in Policing, Terrorism, Counter Terrorism and International Security in Australia.