Kenya’s first African mayor and second liberation hero Charles Wanyoike Rubia passed on Monday without knowing whether he would be compensated for torture during the agitation for multiparty politics.
The 95-year-old who was seeking the highest ever compensation of Sh40 billion, died in his Karen home according to his lawyer Irungu Kang’ata.
He sued the government saying his business, health and family were devastated when he was arrested and detained by President Moi’s regime.
His comrade and multiparty hero Kenneth Matiba was awarded close to Sh1 billion for torture, although the amount has since risen to over Sh1.5 billion.
Mr Rubia’s case was to come up early next year for submissions and Mr Kang’ata, also Murang’a Senator, said he was disappointed that the matter could not be concluded faster.
Mr Rubia was arrested twice and illegally confined during the Nyayo era. And during the detention, he suffered poor health and his family was devastated because no one wanted to be associated with them.
The former MP was first arrested in February 1987 on allegations that he was the financier of Mwakenya and was working in cohorts with church leaders to topple President Moi’s government.
He was detained at Nyayo House for five days before he was released.
He was arrested for the second time on July 4, 1990 when together with Mr Matiba and Martin Shikuku, they called for a rally at the famous Kamukunji Grounds. He was arrested three days before the planned rally.
He served as Starehe MP between 1969 and 1988. On his second arrest, he was detained for about nine months and was only released when his doctor- Dr Dan Gikonyo and government physician recommended that he be released or be taken to hospital because he was seriously ill.
Among the investments he had to relinquish after detention were Peponi School, Rweru General Stores and had to relinquish his directorship at Co-operative Bank #ticker:COOP and ICDC as well as Provincial Insurance now known as UAP Insurance.
During his detention, Mr Rubia was forced to sleep on cold, dusty floor with inadequate blanket. Because of the cold, he got a chest infection and according to Dr Gikonyo, Mr Rubia had lost several kilogrammes when he examined him in detention.
A scan on his head and chest later revealed a tumour in the chest that was pressing the wind pipe towards the left and he recommended its immediate removal because it was life-threatening.
Mr Rubia initially sued the government demanding Sh325 million for illegal detention but later enhanced the amount to Sh40 billion.