15 September 2012

Kenya: Former Cabinet Minister Magugu Dies

Former Cabinet Minister and Githunguri MP Arthur Magugu died at his Ridgeways home in Nairobi on Saturday morning after succumbing to an illness that had forced him to remain confined to his home or in the hospital.

The son of a former colonial chief, Arthur Kinyanjui Magugu, grew into an astute politician serving in different ministries including Finance, Health, Transport and Communication and Commerce during the KANU regime.

He had been sick for almost five years and died at about 11:30am on Saturday, according to reports.

It's understood that his family converted a room at his home into a ward where he was being attended to by a nurse on a daily basis.

He served as Githunguri MP from 1969 to 1988.

According to information available on the Internet, Magugu developed a reputation for being an astute politician with a knack for pulling off surprises and getting out of tight situations.

At the of age 35, he sent political shock waves throughout the country when he ousted the late veteran politician, Waira Kamau from Githunguri in his 1969 debut into parliamentary politics, as he garnered 5,136 votes against Kamau's 4,380.

In his first role as Minister for Health, Magugu ordered the destruction of expired drugs, promised sweeping changes and better services to patients.

Ironically, it was during his tenure at the Ministry of Health in 1980 that Kenya experienced its first nation-wide strike of doctors.

In 1983 as Minister for Finance, Magugu failed to deliver the budget on schedule and his budget speech was late by one week causing uproar in Parliament as furious MPs called for his resignation.

He gained the dubious distinction as being the first Finance Minister to delay the reading of the Budget speech - reading it in July instead of June.

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