Politics

Former political detainee dies in Nairobi

Former political detainee dies in Nairobi
  • In February 1987, Rubia was arrested and accused of financing the Mwakenya Movement and working in cahoots with church leaders to import guns for purposes of overthrowing the government.

Veteran multi-party crusader Charles Rubia is dead.

Rubia, 96, died in his Karen home in Nairobi on Monday, his family confirmed.

His son Maurice Rubia said the veteran politician died of old age. He said his father had breathing problems before his demise.

The politician’s lawyer Irungu Kang'ata said the family is in a meeting and will give a detailed statement later in the day.

Rubia, the first African mayor of Nairobi and long-serving MP and minister who agitated for a return to multiparty democracy, was among the few Kenyans to be detained twice during the Moi era.

In February 1987, Rubia was arrested and accused of financing the Mwakenya Movement and working in cahoots with church leaders to import guns for purposes of overthrowing the government.

Subsequently, he was detained at Nyayo House in Nairobi for about five days, and was thereafter released without being arraigned or charges being preferred against him.

In the upcoming election of 1988, the State machinery worked hard to ensure that he was rigged out in an election in which the returning officer announced two different sets of results.

On March 3, 1990, Mr Rubia and former Cabinet minister Stanley Matiba called a historic press conference at Chester House, Nairobi, and urged the government to embrace multiparty politics and consequently called for a peaceful rally in Kamukunji on July 7, 1990.

Just before the rally, he was arrested on July 4 in the company of Matiba and detained for nine months.

During his detention, he was blindfolded and driven in circles, denied the services of a lawyer and kept for long in dark underground cells in solitary confinement.

He was also stripped half-naked and made to lie on a cold floor, kept in dark and very cold cells, denied good nutrition and food and water for many days, denied good medical treatment and subjected to poor and unhygienic sanitary conditions.

Rubia was released from detention two weeks after doctors from Nairobi Hospital informed Kenya Prisons authorities that he required urgent medical attention.