Mark Mwithaga

Hon. Mark Mwithaga was the MP for Nakuru town at different times from 1966 to 1979.

Born in 1937, Mwithaga first came to Nakuru in 1952 as a barefooted young boy. The bus he rode in dropped him in Subukia with former President Mwai Kibaki as the conductor.

He got a job in a union that represented labourers working in British owned farms and because he could write and speak English, they gave him the post of the union secretary.

The young Mark would spend his days visiting white-owned farms all over Rift Valley and writing letters to the then leader of trade union in Kenya, Tom Mboya. They had a relationship that lasted way after Kenya became independent.

On 26th October 1969, Mark Mwithaga was awarded the “Black Power Law Award” for his push to “grant African Citizenship to her dispossessed sons and daughters in the United States and the Caribbean”

The late MP was also instrumental in brokering a truce between the founding president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and the Maumau remnants who had felt betrayed by Kenyatta.

Away from politics, Mwithaga founded the Nakuru Transport Cooperative Society (NATCO). Founded in 1983, this was the first transport Sacco in Nakuru. The initial capital of Kshs. 5 million was Mwithaga’s own money.

Mark Mwithaga was a staunch Catholic and passionate pianist who never missed mass at Christ the King Catholic Church. He wedded his wife at Holy Cross Catholic Church in the 1970s with former President Mwai Kibaki as the best man.

Mark Mwithaga was to face jail twice in his lifetime. For his agitation for the rights of black workers, he was detained in Marsabit by the colonialists. It was here that his second-born son was born and he named him Marsabit Mwithaga. At independence, Mwithaga had grown close to the residents and they were ready to have him represent them in parliament. He, however, refused and opted to return home and represent in Nakuru.

The second time he was jailed was in 1975 on trumped-up charges of assaulting his wife. He was convicted just a day to a by-election occasioned by a successful petition by Amos Kimemia who had lost in the 1974 elections. Mwithaga still won the election but since he could not take up post another by-election was held.

Rather than elect Kimemia whom they blamed for the woes facing Mwithaga, the electorate elected Willy Komen as their MP.

The former MP made history when he was elected as MP while serving a jail term. During President Jomo Kenyatta’s time, he also briefly served as an Assistant Minister between 1979 and 1983.

He died on 1st August 2016.

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