Day Rev Timothy Njoya was beaten like a snake

Rev Timothy Njoya is known to be an activist that fights for people rights

I have been called crazy many times. Some people even suspect I smoke prohibited substances. Maybe they are right; about the crazy bit I mean.

How else would you explain the fact that while everyone else is fussing about US president Barack Obama and gay rights, my mind is idiotically fixated on a man, a kinsman really, that no one remembers?

My sons, who are in the process of germinating a hair or two on their chins, think they are men. But I can bet they have never heard of Patrick Shikanda Likhotio.

Boys, long time ago, before the son of Jomo started wearing suits, shortly after William Ruto stopped selling chicken and James Orengo used to wear sneakers 24/7 because cops had orders to unleash mongrels on him on sight, there lived a man called Rev Timothy Njoya.

As preachers go, he was colourless. He drove an old Peugeot, property of the church. His shoes and suits were not shiny. He didn’t preside over a huge church where tithe was escorted to the bank by armed cops because it came by the sack load. And he didn’t pay millions to get his ‘show’ on television.

How, when he didn’t have the ability to make the blind see; those deaf of hearing hear and the poor to get rich by planting seed? You know, the sort of thing Kanyari and his ilk do.

On the contrary, the press fought to get into his church because this nondescript man of God was an enemy of the people, a man who needlessly fought the government at the behest of his foreign masters.

Eventually, when the misguided elements became too much and push came to shove, Kanu unleashed the dogs of war. And that, boys, is where your kinsman, Patrick Shikanda Likhotio, comes into the picture.

We never knew who sent him. Or who paid him. But Kenyans of a certain age will never forget the image of the Rev Njoya lying on the side of the road helplessly as Mr Likhotio beat him senseless; like a snake. Now because I am a crazy man, I didn’t focus on Rev Njoya or Likhotio. Instead, my one good eye shifted to the two men standing next in the combat fatigues of the elite General Service Unit.

For one moment, I thought they would fling themselves upon Likhotio and inflict severe bodily harm upon his person. Then I discovered that they were keeping guard, to prevent a misguided fool like Raila Odinga from interfering so that Mr Likhotio could break the Reverend’s old bones without ‘tafash’.

I hear Njoya later invited Likhotio for a cup of tea where they kissed and made up. That, instead of leashing his own militia on him in line what Israelis, the Lord’s anointed, would do. But each to his own.

I know Njoya’s wounds have long healed. He has probably forgotten that episode. But I know those two cops who stood by impotently watching a law breaker break a reverend’s bones have not. They never will.

I suspect some overzealous junior politician with bad breath issued that order to a spineless senior cop. The same spineless cop probably also directed his juniors to hurl teargas canisters into a church where multi-party demonstrators had sought refuge.

A similar character, I suspect, also ordered policemen, backed by goons, to attack the late Prof Wangari Maathai, an ageing woman, and clobber her like a stray mongrel. We will never know who paid Likhotio to beat Njoya, or the senior cop who ordered the two GSU officers to do nothing.

We will never know the man who told cops, “Go and beat that trouble causing woman, that useless Prof Wangari, and pull her hair. Teach her a lesson kabisa.” But I know when they remember what made them get so upset about Njoya 20 years ago and watch Kidero’s supporters force Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale into a toilet today, they sigh and say, “Yes, we were just as idiotic as you.”


I have not stepped at my local for a while. I bet the barman is wondering what happened to me. Sorry, I shall not return, and not because I have seen the light.

I am simply unable to face the counter I shared on many an evening with departed Nation editor, Isaiah Oduor Ouma.

That Ja-Luo was a hilarious man who loved a good laugh, a sleek suit, a dark, choice whisky and an elegant car as much as he loved a beautiful English sentence and his lovely wife, Catherine.

This column, for which he was a great fan, is dedicated to him.