Martin Shikuku Biography
Martin Shikuku was born in 1933 and died on 22nd August 2012. He was a Kenyan politician and a former Member of Parliament for Butere constituency.
Martin Shikuku, the self-declared “People’s Watchman” of Kenyan politics has had a long, interesting and often tumultuous political career. One of Kenya’s champions in the struggle for independence, Shikuku became quite popular among ordinary Kenyans, especially the poor who embraced his populist ideas that attacked Kenya’s wealthy elites; elites Shikuku claimed were being insensitive to ordinary Kenyans’ demands.
Martin Shikuku Education Background
- Secondary School Student of Mumias Secondary School
- Student of St. Peters Seminary, Mukumu
Martin Shikuku Political Position
1992 – 1997 : Member of Parliament for Butere constituency.
1990 – 1997 : Founder Member of Ford Asili
1964 – 1990 ; Member of Kenya African National Union
1963 – 1988 : Member of Parliament for Butere constituency.
1978 – 1983 : Assistant Minister of Livestock Development of Cabinet
1969 – 1974 : Assistant minister office of the vice president & ministry of home affairs of Cabinet
1961 – 1963 :Member of Legislative Council
1959 – 1961 : Secretary General of Nairobi People’s Convention Party
Martin Shikuku Job History
- Deputy Secretary General of Kenya Petroleum Oil and Allied Workers Union
- Founder Member of Kenya Petroleum Oil and Allied Workers Union
- 1961 – 1964 : Youth leader of Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU)
Martin Shikuku Political Career
On several occasions for example, he stunned his often wealthy colleagues in Parliament by appealing to the government to lower the prices of Maize Meal(Unga) and other items that comprise Kenya’s staple diet. Ever since his debut in Kenya’s Parliament in 1963, Shikuku has been a star figure at the Parliamentary floor for his amazing grasp of Parliamentary rules and procedures.
In 1963 Martin Shikuku was elected Member of Parliament for Butere Constituency in Western Province. Shortly after however, Martin Shikuku together with his colleagues disbanded KADU to join KANU in a merger of the two parties. This was in the spirit of unity that descended upon Kenya after Independence in 1963. Martin Shikuku was victorious again in 1969 at the General Elections and President Jomo Kenyatta rewarded him with the post of Assistant Minister in the Office of the Vice-President and Home Affairs.
But not long after this, in a vintage Martin Shikuku Parliamentary theatric, he sarcastically referred to the Kenyatta’s KANU government as “dead”. When other KANU Parliamentarians demanded that he substantiate his allegations, then Deputy Speaker of the House and Member of Parliament for Tinderet, the late Jean Marie Seroney defended Shikuku by saying his remarks were self-explanatory and needed no further substantiation.
As expected, this incident got both Martin Shikuku and Seroney in serious political trouble with Kenyatta’s administration. Needless to say, Martin Shikuku lost his job as Assistant Minister as a result of this. In fact, Both Shikuku and Seroney were arrested within the precincts of Parliament and placed on detention without trial, both of which are flagrant violations of Kenyan laws. Just as is the case in most democratic countries, the law prohibits Parliamentarians from being arrested for utterances they make in Parliament during the course of a Parliamentary session. Detention without trial is also against the law in Kenya. It was a scare tactic used by the colonial government in Kenya to silence Kenyan dissidents, but has unfortunately continued to be used by post-independence Kenyan regimes.
When President Moi, Shikuku’s former KADU colleague came to power in 1978 after the death of President Jomo Kenyatta, he released the ailing Shikuku from detention and allowed him to proceed to Sweden for specialized treatment. On his return to Kenya, Shikuku bounced back into politics and recaptured the Butere Parliamentary seat. President Moi appointed him Assistant Minister for Livestock Development. Shikuku would re-emerge again in Kenya’s political limelight in the 1990’s with the clamour for Multi-Party Democracy in Kenya.
Teaming up with the late Jaramogi Odinga, the late Masinde Muliro, and Messrs Ahmed Baharmariz, Philip Gachoka and George Nthenge, they formed the original Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD). However, it later disintegrated into Ford-Kenya, led by Odinga and Ford-Asili, chaired by Kenneth Matiba assisted by Shikuku.
In the 1992 General Elections, Shikuku and Matiba’s FORD-Asili put up a remarkable performance against KANU, coming very close to dislodging KANU from power. This was thanks in a large part to Shikuku, who helped FORD-Asili carry most of the votes from the populous Western Province. But all was not well in the FORD-Asili camp, and after constant allegations that Shikuku was secretly working with KANU to destroy the opposition, Matiba and Shikuku broke ranks. This put a nail in the coffin of this once fledging political party. Both Shikuku and Matiba have since been relegated to the political backseat and one can only guess whether they will bounce back in the years to come.
Martin Shikuku Family
Martin Shikuku was married to four wives of which one was alive during his death, Fridah N Shikuku.
Martin Shikuku Death
Martin Shikuku passed on 22nd August 2012,while undergoing treatment for prostrate cancer at the Texas Cancer Centre in Hurlingham, Nairobi.