Kenya

Tom Mboya still draws as much attention in death as he did in life

Tom Mboya still draws as much attention in death as he did in life
  • Nick Ndiege, a stepbrother of Mboya, has stuffed it with his own versions of memorabilia that he claimed represented and depicted the true story of the flamboyant politician assassinated on July 5, 1969.
  • Mr Ndiege put up a grass-thatched structure, which he says is a true replica of the house Mboya grew up in somewhere in Kilimambogo Sisal Estate, near Thika.
By ISAAC OMULO

Everybody wanted a piece of the man when he was alive, and even in death, Thomas Joseph Mboya still attracts attention.

As the country marks 50 years since his death, an ambitious relative has put up a structure near the Tom Mboya Mausoleum in Rusinga Island.

Nick Ndiege, a stepbrother of Mboya, has stuffed it with his own versions of memorabilia that he claimed represented and depicted the true story of the flamboyant politician assassinated on July 5, 1969.

Armed with wide knowledge of global affairs, Mr Ndiege put up a grass-thatched structure, which he says is a true replica of the house Mboya grew up in somewhere in Kilimambogo Sisal Estate, near Thika.

TAIL SUIT

He has placed inside the house a battered sofa set, which he claims was owned by Mboya and a tail suit he also says was retrieved from Mboya’s sartorial collection, and another one he sensationally adds Mboya had on when he was gunned down. It has red stains, which he says are blood splattered by the gunshots.

Mr Ndiege positions himself near the gate of the Ndiege family homestead and lures visitors to his side of the Mboya Mausoleum.

He then tries to talk visitors against returning to the real mausoleum. But in case a visitor insists on visiting the mausoleum, Mr Ndiege avoids that part of the itinerary but asks for financial support for the maintenance of his site.

That is where the problem starts, sometimes degenerating to a physical altercation with visitors. Relatives have, however, downplayed Mr Ndiege’s activities.

BRIGHT FUTURE

Mr Paul Ndiege, who is in-charge of the Tom Mboya Mausoleum, reassures the public that order has been restored at the Tom Mboya Mausoleum.

“We are now working with the national government, through the National Museums of Kenya (NMK). The project is three weeks old and we are looking forward to a bright future,” said Paul.

He reluctantly said that anything to do with the other so-called mausoleum is being handled by authorities.

Mr Mboya, independent Kenya’s finest politician, is remembered for various reasons, notably the student airlift programme to the United States.

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Photos of the airlift are among the things inside the mausoleum that stands tall within the expansive family home in Rusinga Island.

ABROAD

Many things depicting old memories about the politician abound in this mausoleum in Kamasengre village. Inside the bullet-shaped building are tens of items Mboya owned, things he dealt with locally and internationally, fly whisk, books, brief cases — anything he owned.

Also included are pictures he took during his many trips abroad during conferences and family portraits.

The Homa Bay county government promised to boost the mausoleum, but according to Paul, who is also Tom Mboya’s younger stepbrother, the effort by the county government ended with the fencing of the place to keep away vandals.

That was in 2015 when the family was organising the 46th anniversary.