Political Icon Joins Angels for Eternal Rest
By Mwakwaya Raymond and Mwakera Mwajefa
Nyonga wa Makemba, the signature of the late Mgogo Emmanuel Karisa Maitha in the 1990s and 2000s, is no more.
Nyonga, who has been ailing for a while, departed on Saturday, November 12, 2022 still active in matters politics of the Coast region.
Family sources indicate that the deceased was undergoing treatment at the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital after being transferred there from Premier Hospital Nyali.
He had been hospitalised there for suffering a stroke. A close relative who sought anonymity said the deceased suffered from heart problems and has been in and out of hospital.
His last heart attack, according to the relative, left him numb and dumb.
In a social media post, his elder brother, Prof Hanjari, confirms that his younger brother has been ailing for a while.
“I have received the sad news of the passing on of my brother Nyonga wa Makemba with a heavy heart. I knew he had been unwell recently,” he wrote.
As the personal assistant to the then very powerful local government cabinet minister Maitha, ‘the Hurricane’ in the Kibaki regime, Makemba was the voice of not only Midzichenda youths but the face of boldness to the entire Coast region.
From the rise and fall of Sheikh Khalid Balala’s Islamic Party of Kenya (IPK) to the death of Mgogo in Germany on an official trip (2004) aged only 50, Makemba was there to witness it all.
After the demise of his mentor, the deceased engaged in politics of Kilifi, Mombasa and Coast at large through his Mijikenda Youth Forum (MYF) that took any social, political or economical issue that affect the region head on.
In May 31, 2013, Makemba ruffled feathers when he alleged the nomination of Samuel Kazungu Kambi in the Kenyatta’s administration labour & social security docket as ‘an attempt to appoint an academically weak Mijikenda point man’ in the government.
His outburst triggered a public outcry with some MYF officials distancing and differing with him with South Coast coordinator Mgandi Kalinga faulting him saying it was uncalled for.
That’s Makemba who in the first term of Jubilee government (2013-2016) also took a swipe at the Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Maritime Authority and Kenya Ferry Services whenever they did something he never liked!
His passing on has left a number of political bigwigs dumbfounded as he played a pivotal role both for Rabai community and Coast at large.
Phillip Mbaji a political contender said Nyonga was an iconic political figure in Rabai who was allied to the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in the just concluded August 9 general elections.
Mbaji who is also a Media personality adds that Nyonga rose to fame when he served as Personal Assistant to Hurricane Emanuel Karisa Maitha.
He also says Nyonga who supported his political bid for the Rabai seat was well known for his boldness including telling off security agencies who came into his way blocking him to accomplish a mission.
To him the entire country has lost an icon too soon.
The Methodist Church of Kenya where the late activist Nyonga used to attend registered their disappointment towards the Demise of one of their own.
Nyonga who hails from Rabai Sub County in Kilifi was the Personal Assistant to the Late Emmanuel Karisa Maitha (Mgogo) whom they stayed together till his death sometime in 2005.
The Media fraternity which Nyonga interacted mostly with during the times he served as PA termed him as a true friend who stuck with his mentor Karisa Maitha, through thick and thin until they realised their dream of emancipating the Mijikenda.
Former Nation Mombasa Bureau Chief Patrick Mayoyo wrote in the COAST Veterans wall that Nyonga learned life lessons from Mgogo and emancipated himself from poverty.
A section of Coast Members of Parliament expressed their disbelief on the passing on of a person they knew so well with a single political stand come rain come sunshine.
Tana River Senator Danson Buya Mungatana says he’s yet to come to terms with the untimely death of Nyonga Wa Makemba Mugogo’s right hand man.
He describes the late Nyonga as a hardworking young man whom he knew during the days of Karisa Maitha who believed in empowerment of the Coastal People.
His body has since been transferred to Milele mortuary awaiting to be laid to rest at Kambe in Rabai within Kilifi County.