April 10, 2018

For those who have been lucky to sit through a lecture by Rev. Dr. Timothy Njoya, you quickly realize you are listening to a man who is not only brilliant but also one who does not deal in moral ambiguities. A favorite lecture would be when he talks about justice and righteousness and how  the two (to paraphrase) are intertwined and not easily disentangled.

Throughout his life, it seems that Rev. Njoya has set himself apart from many Kenyans of his generation who attended prestigious universities all over the world only to come back to home and conform to the politics of the time, many at times giving in to corruption, sycophancy and lack of intellectual rigor.

He not only knows how to effectively drive his point across but also push his audience to think outside the norm even if he has to ruffle a few feathers in the process.

Rev. Njoya’s credibility as a crusader for justice is truly indisputable. When the likes of PLO leader Yasser Arafat consider you a brother-at-arms and seeks your audience then you know you are truly in a league of your own.

Pictures of the Reverend with hands on his head protecting himself from the blows of police batons abound the internet. For sure, when one speaks about the search for justice in Kenya, Rev. Njoya bears a lot of scars all inflicted at the hands of the Kenya Police and the government-of-the-day. He was even defrocked three times by the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) for his fiery preaching.

He is probably most remembered as one of the leaders and organizers of the Saba Saba movement that mid-wifed Kenya’s “second liberation” ushering in multiparty democracy.

What is amazing is that despite the battle scars and immense suffering he has endured, Rev Njoya is not a bitter man. Far from it, as we have witnessed on TV interviews or other appearances, Rev. Njoya is as jovial and lively as they come.

Something is to be said of the true mettle shown by the Reverend throughout his fight for justice. Principled and unbreakable.

How seamlessly Rev. Njoya has eased into retirement also tells you that this is a man who enjoys life in its totality. He is just as happy in the limelight as he when he is going on about his private life. He is quite at home hobnobbing with the high and mighty just as he is with the common mwananchi. A self-described “house-husband,” nowadays you can find him happily paintingmowing his lawn, trimming the hedge and harvesting honey among other pursuits.

Rev. Njoya’s Twitter account is a testament of his great sense of humor and a personal journal that points to the richness of the latest chapter of his life. It also documents his vigor and health even at the age of 77 that should serve as an example to many of our leaders of how retirement should not be shunned but embraced.

True to himself, he has not ceased to draw a controversy or two. He caused a big stir recently with his aptly named book on gender equality.

As a matter of fact, for all of us history fans, his Twitter account is filled with historical material that not only takes you back in time through his profound journey but also through Kenya’s recent political history.

Knowing that the apple does not fall far from the tree, his daughter, Dr. Wandia Njoya has also followed in her father’s footstep as an advocate for justice.

Njoya’s Memoir:

We the People: Thinking Heavenly, Acting Kenyanly,  by Timothy Njoya with Foreword written by retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga. See an analysis of the book by Tom Odhiambo in an article appearing on the Daily Nation.