By Mtumishi Cyprian Nyamwamu.
Mwea City in Kirinyaga these days is a town bustling with life, jobs, businesses and infrastructure. 23 years ago it was a dead, dark, sad, sick, poor and haunted Market center and district.
The peasant rice farmers were really serfs for the government National Irrigation Board. They were not allowed to build a permanent structure, could not have more than one cow, two sheep or goats, not more than three children in the scheme. In 1998 we caused a revolution in this constituency.
Musalia Mudavadi was Minister for agriculture. His PS was Philemon Mwahisaka. They came to Mwea Ngurubani to forcefully stop the revolution but they were repulsed.
The APs and GSU officers killed eight people on that day. Hundreds were injured some with bullets in their bodies were taken home to be hidden away from police arrests. It was too late for the Moi regime.
The farmers we had organized, educated and radicalized for three years were now ready to liberate themselves from the National Irrigation Board exploitation and dehumanizing system. They had delivered their rice paddy to the MWEA FARMERS COOPERATIVE stores and Mill Instead of delivering the harvest to the NIB stores.
NIB used to give the kshs 7 per kilo but their Cooperative was paying Kshs 29 per kilo. From 7 to 29!
Hon Engineer Alfred Nderitu, the Mwea Catholic Parish, the Kimbimbi, Wamumu, Ngurubani youth cells, the women organizers, the urban mobilizers were all ready for the revolution.
They were serfs living lives that were worse than slaves. Ravaged by bilharzia, malaria, typhoid and other diseases. Girls were falling into prostitution to stay alive. It was a deplorable state of affairs.
When I am headed to Embu or Meru these days, I have to stop at Mwea for ten to fifteen minutes and look at what that revolution has created. But the owners of the rice Mills and hotel &Supermarket owners do not know the story.
I have interviewed six of them. Only the proprietor of NICE RICE MILLS , SUPERMARKET AND HOTEL knows a bit. The children know nothing about that struggle.
KHRC under Maina Kiai and Dr Willy Willy M Mutunga , Mutuma Ruteere , Nduko o’Matigere , and then the RPP’s soldiers Wambua Kituku , Judy muthoni Kamau, Gitau Wanguthi, Tirop Kitur, Steve Musau and many others , you guys are gallant.