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20 years later, the life and times of Mulu Mutisya

Ahead of the 20th Memorial of Mulu Mutisya, we reflect on the life and times of the Moi right-hand man and Ukambani kingpin then.

Mulu Mutisya was born in Wamunyu, Mwala Constituency, Machakos County in 1924 and died in 2004 aged 80. There is not much on record about his education and schooling.

In 1942 he went to Nairobi and was employed in a clinic by Demelo a Goan doctor where he worked as a dresser for 14 years. He was arrested alongside other freedom fighters accused of dressing and treating them when they got injured and giving them drugs.

in 1956 Mulu Mutisya formed the New Akamba Union (NAU) as an instrument for political mobilisation. They moved to Ziwani and formed the Kamba social hall. Kambas joined the union and made Mulu its chairman. He was popularly known as Nau. He set out to popularise the Union between 1957 to 1960 on foot in then Machakos and Kitui districts.

He is said to employed some youths who would assist Kambas coming to Nairobi by taking them to Akamba social hall where they were accommodated and helped get jobs. From 1965, he vied for a political seat in the Jericho ward civic seat and won in the 1970 general elections.

He came to the limelight when Paul Ngei at that time Ukambani kingpin and Kenyatta’s close ally crossed the first president’s path by associating with Change the Constitution group that was pushing for reforms. In 1974 Mulu took over as KANU branch Chairman and was nominated by Kenyatta to Parliament. He served as nominated MP for 18 years.

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Moi appointed him chairman of the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Company. He was described as a witty, distinguished, and comical person and a great grassroots mobilizer. These values earned him a favor and unlimited access to both Kenyatta and Moi. He was a political Godfather to Kalonzo Musyoka and other leaders.

Those who fell out with Mulu Mutisya found themselves in serious trouble with State House. When Musila was working in Central Kenya as a PC he initiated development projects in Ukambani especially in Mwingi using his position. This made Mutisya think that Musila was up to topple him as the Ukambani Kingpin. Musila was summoned to statehouse and forced to apologize for initiating projects without Mulu’s permission and later transferred to North Eastern.

He is said to have introduced ‘Makofi ya Kilo’ phrase that remains popular to this day. Mulu loved Kamba traditional music and dance as witnessed in almost all functions he attended.

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