TRIBUTE TO COMRADE Mutiga Gitobu .
By Bernad Adhiambo Adhiambo
Yesterday we woke up to the shocking news of death of comrade Mutiga. Tigz, and myself served in the SONU of 2006/2007 as Chairman and Secretary General respectively. He was ably deputised by Ben-Ben Karuga – Deputy Chairman for Administration and Martha Wangari – Deputy Chairman for Academic Affairs. Tigz and myself together with other firebrand student leaders like Powerful SG David Okindo , Mutumishi John Ngaruiya , the late Oulu GPO and Ken Adede were suspended (Adede and Oulu were actually expelled) from The University of Nairobi in 2004 for opposing the unilateral increase of school fees for regular students. Mutiga and myself successfully appealed the 3 academic years suspension verdict at The Senate Disciplinary Committee Chaired by the then DVC Academic Affairs, Prof. Kaimenyi (Current CS for Land and Housing Ministry.) We resumed campus from suspension at the peak of SONU 2006/2007 elections and immediately plugged into students politics. Sam Kamau was poised to takeover the converted Chairmanship position from Machuki Nemwel . The GEMA students community had perfected their elections schemes in the famous Fig Tree hotel meetings every campaign period, in 2006 Sam was endorsed for Chairmanship by the community. Sam was a strong candidate; he was a well polished tall light-skinned gentleman while Mutiga was a short eloquent mirra-chewing aggressive Meru Rastafarian – this implied that Sam could easily solidify women votes, Sam was from Kikuyu campus – a campus known for being politically overzealous, he was a member of University Christian Union – this was a solid voting block with networks across all the eight campuses of UoN and above all, Sam was from Kikuyu Community – the tyranny of numbers favoured him. We mounted a serious “well-oiled” joint campaigns with Comrade Mutiga spearheaded by our joint campaign manager, Milton Obote (Milton was thereafter elected the speaker of the students parliament.) that spoilt the party for comrade Sam Kamau. It was a landslide win for us, most of the contestants in our camp were elected. We had control of the Executive and Parliamentary arms of the students leadership. We served the students to the best of our abilities while championing transformative initiatives including changing of the SONU constitution to a more robust one.
Tigz was witty, eloquent, fearless (close to being termed reckless), humble, dedicated, non-tribal, selfless and highly generous student leader.
In one of his wits, during a public lecture at Taifa Hall in 2006 when Barack Obama was Senator for Illinois, Mutiga challenged and encouraged Obama to run for the United States of America President telling him that he was willing to travel with team of students all the way to be a volunteer in Obama’s Presidential Campaigns.
Mutiga perfectly articulated students issues in the university of Nairobi Council where him and myself where members. He was a member of the University Council subcommittee on procurement oversight chaired by Mr. Macharia of Royal Media Services.
Tigz, was unanimously elected the founding president of Panafrica Student Movement in early 2007 during a conference he attended in Durban South Africa.
He spent most of his evenings unwinding around tea room area with a large group of students that were obviously beneficiaries of his unrivalled generosity. Most if his earnings as a student leader were spent on poor and needy students. His large single room at Tom Mboya Hall 9 was always full with needy students of all tribes. He shunned material wealth and lavish lifestyle (unlike most student leaders.) His mantra was that being in possession of material wealth and lavish lifestyle would make him out of touch with students needs.
His close confidant in Executive was Harambe Elias while his man in Students Parliament was the Clerk of the parliament Minenge of Parklands campus. He had some “soft-spot” for Grace Louise Bomu – the Secretary for Legal affairs.
Mutiga could have easily been re-elected, in fact many students pressured him to seek re-election but he insisted that he had fulfilled his mandate, he peacefully handed over the mantle to his successor Adinda J.
Tigz was destined for big things but the cruel hands of death robbed us of him early in life. Let us celebrate him and give a deserving send-off. He was a friend and a brother to many.
May the soul of Comrade Mutiga Gitobu rest in peace.