Hezron Manduku: Dead ex-minister wore mtumba shirt for over 10 years

Dr Hezron Manduku with the shirt in 2015.

Former foreign affairs minister, Dr Hezron Manduku wore his mtumba shirt for over 10 years and was not embarrassed about it. 

Dr Manduku, who passed away on Saturday night at a Nairobi hospital, told The Nairobian he bought the shirt in Mombasa in 2003 for less than Sh1,000 while on an official visit.

He says that his colleagues who accompanied him also bought mtumba shirts and trousers, though they don’t wear them any longer.

“This shirt is still in good condition and I wear it regularly, at times on a weekly basis. In fact, it is one of my favourite shirts. I have worn it for close to 15 years now and I am not about to let go of it,” he said.

“I might keep it for the next couple of years. I bought new shirts years later, but most are worn out. But this one is still intact. I have not even changed the collar,” said the former Nyaribari Masaba MP.

On February 26, 2003, the two-time MP told legislators that MPs had resorted to mtumba clothes, then known as Kafa Ulaya (dead in Europe) because they could not afford new clothes.

“Members of Parliament are wearing mtumba shirts. They are not buying shirts from the shops, not because they are better, but because they cannot afford to buy new shirts. Imagine what could be the plight of poor mothers in the villages if even MPs cannot afford new clothes,” Manduku said.

Dr Hezron Manduku with the same shirt in 2005.

“The mtumba clothes are of high quality. Nowadays, I don’t walk into a shop to buy new clothes and shoes when I can get very durable ones in the streets. I don’t feel embarrassed at all to wear used, quality clothes. I like them.”

Dr Manduku, who passed way aged 78 owned Hema Hospital in Kisii, which is a maternity and nursing home.

The health facility he said, was the first private hospital in the western Kenya region having been established in 1975.

Following the death, President Uhuru Kenyatta sent his condolences to the family.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have this morning received the sad news of the passing away of former Nyaribari Masaba MP Dr Hezron Manduku. May God the Almighty give his family and friends the fortitude to bear with the loss,” said President Kenyatta.

Kisii Governor James Ongwae also mourned Manduku saying he had served the community with dedication.

“We will all remember him as an honest and humble leader.”