End of an era
Just slightly after 12.41 pm today the life of one of the greatest sons of the nation and Kirinyaga County came to an abrupt end after taking his last breath in this turbulent world.
Mzee Bernard Kathanga fordly known by his friends kin and kith as Njamba passed on peacefully at the Nairobi Hospital where he has been routinely admitted for checkups and treatment.
According to one of his sons Peter Kathanga , Mzee went to live with His Maker shortly after midday aged 92.
He said his doctors recorded his lowest blood pressure early today after which the situation deteriorated from worse to worst.
"Mzee passed on very peacefully and we thank God for having enabled us to live with him through out our childhood all through to our adulthood and for having given him a bonus of 22 years after the expirely of the normal 70 years lifespan," the young Kathanga told the Mountain Times soon after the demise of his father on phone.
" Added the son " my father has been battling with cancer since the disease was diagnosed in 2009 but the doctors did all they could within their ability ,"
Kathanga who was a former Gichugu MP was credited for having led a group of visionary men who included veteran multiparty crusader Charles Rubia in the formation of the Cooperative Bank of Kenya .
These men will for ever be remembered for coming up with the bell bottomed cooperative bank headquarters at the Central Business District of Nairobi .
The marvelous and magnificent building withstood the intensity of a terror boming of the then US embassy which was the bank's immediate neighbour in 1998.
Save for some if it's glass windows,which were completely shattered,the entire building was left intact.
Just before Independence, Kathanga who spent the best part of his life serving in the cooperative movement worked at the then Embu Coffee Farmers District Cooperative Union as it's Deputy General Manager .
After Kirinyaga got hived from Embu as an autonomous district ,Kathanga and other leaders quickly came together and established thier own Union.
Consequently due to his immense experience in the running of the sector ,he was appointed the first general manager for Kirinyaga .
While serving in the cooperative movement Kathanga travelled far and wide as well as attending courses about the sector in Israel where his skills were sharpened hence the nich he had in the movement.
It was while serving in the sector in 1966 there arose a by -election for Gichugu constituency after the then area MP Njiru Gicoya defected and joined the moribund Kenya People's Union former Vice president Jaramogi Oginga Odinga on differing with Jomo Kenyatta.
The KANU regime threw all it's weight behind Kathanga winning with a landslide.
His win brought unseen development in the district with the government putting up new and modern buildings at Kianyaga boys high school and Kabare girls high school never seen in the area before.
It should also be noted that Kathanga just before Independence was instrumental in the formation of the Embu African Democratic Party and one of his associates in the move was the former long serving Kirinyaga County Council (now defunct ) the late Jeremiah Gateri.
It should also be noted that whatever Kathanga did ,he did it with thoroughness and due diligence leaving no room for any visible human error
His coffee estate attests to this as no farmer in the county who living or dead could have rivalled his farming skills and expertise of the cash crop .
Due to his early exposure to both national and international environment,Kathanga spoke the queen's english with such eloquence while he was always abreast with the national politics.
Even when at his hospital bed and at his lowest moment,he would've always call this reporter through his cell phone to get an update of the Azimio and UDA politics .
Above all Kathanga despite his busy schedule below the sun loved his family dearly.
He is survived by his wife Joyce Wanjiru and 12 children .
According to the youthful Kathanga , burial arrangements start tomorrow while several leaders have mourned the passing of the doyen of the cooperative movement .
Among them is the area Governor Anne Waiguru, Gichugu Parliamentary aspirant Dr Njagi Makanga ,Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua ,former area Governor Joseph Ndathi , woman Representative Wangui Ngirici among the political elitists .
Fare thee well Dr Bernard Kathanga and may God rest your soul in eternal peace _ Amen