Colleagues recall working with Kenneth Matiba
8 months ago, 17 Apr 00:12
Senior Counsel Paul Muite recalled the ominous warning Jim Nesbitt, then Kenneth Matiba’s personal physician, gave him about the former Cabinet minister's deteriorating health. Mr Muite, who was Mr Matiba’s lawyer at the time, recalled Dr Nesbitt confessing how he had to breach doctor-client confidentiality to discuss his client’s poor health with his wife because he was getting concerned about how Matiba was being treated in detention. The doctor told Muite that security officers had on numerous occasions blocked him from giving Matiba drugs for hypertension and it had reached a point where he feared for his patient's life. “I remember as clearly as if it happened yesterday the conversation I had with Dr Nesbitt one early morning in my office, around October 1990, after he had been to see Matiba the previous evening,” Muite recounted yesterday. That morning, he said, he found Nesbitt waiting for him in his secretary’s office. “Dr Nesbitt’s offices were on the third floor of Electricity House while mine was on the sixth floor of the same building. Dr Nesbitt looked worried, concerned. He said to me, “Paul, I never discuss my patients with my wife, Mary, but last night, I couldn’t help but discuss your client’s condition with my wife,” Muite said, quoting Nesbitt. Worrying condition The doctor then told Muite about Matiba’s worrying condition. “He told me that before detention, Matiba had a mild case of hypertension, which was completely under control because he exercised regularly and took prescription drugs from time to time,” Muite said. Nesbitt also told him that from the first time he had been allowed to see Matiba in detention – the end of July or early August 1990 – he had tried to give him drugs to control the hypertension. However, he had been refused permission to do so by security agents and the Government doctor. “Dr Nesbitt was on each occasion informed that the Government was responsible for providing any necessary drugs to Matiba. He told me how on several occasions he had tried to reason with the Government doctor to see the packet of drugs was unopened, if the fear was about any untoward drugs being handed over to no avail,” Muite said, adding that the Government never made the drugs available to Matiba and his condition continued to deteriorate. “Dr Nesbitt had come to my office to ask me to do whatever I could to save the situation. His last words stuck in my brain; if nothing is done, at best, Matiba is going to suffer a stroke, at worst, he is going to die,” Muite said. He then sent a fax to Amnesty International pleading for their intervention. “Less than two months after my conversation with Dr Nesbitt, Matiba suffered a stroke in the middle of the night in solitary confinement at Kamiti Maximum Prison. When he was eventually admitted to Nairobi Hospital, I was able to get from him the relevant details,” Muite said. He observed that Matiba realised he had suffered a ...
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