By Maria Nene
Your health is your wealth so the saying goes. Then I again you have to be wealthy to afford decent healthcare in a country such as ours. No class of people goes to extreme measures to keep sickness at bay like our politicians. A good number of our political elites will be flown to London, South Africa and other first world countries perceived to have superior functioning healthcare systems to receive treatment for the slightest of ailments. We take a look at the political elite and their private trusted doctors who earn top dollar.
Jomo Kenyatta-First Kenyan President
Jomo Kenyatta’s private doctor was Magana Njoroge Mungai. His personal physician was also his cousin. He passed away in 2014 aged 88. Apart from being the founding father’s doctor, he was also a cabinet minister, seasoned politician, freedom fighter and businessman. Dr. Mungai quick thinking and bravado saved Jomo Kenyatta’s life during the Kisumu Massacre in October 25th, 1969 by firing into an agitated crowd that was baying for the President blood following the assassination of Tom Mboya. 11 people were killed and several left with injuries. The late first president had traveled to the region to open the Kisumu General Hospital sponsored by the Russians. The visit had come only four months after Tom Mboya’s assassination in Nairobi. After the altercation, Mzee never visited Kisumu again and this officially begun the Kikuyu-Luo rivalry.
Lucy Kibaki-Former First Lady
The late Lucy Kibaki’s private doctor was Dr. Sam Gituku. Lucy Kibaki sadly passed away on 26th April 2016 at Bupa Cromwell Hospital in London while undergoing treatment. Rumors of her death had started circulating years before she passed on. Dr. Gituku confirmed that she suffered from Atrophy which resulted to her death.
Raila Odinga-NASA Leader
Dr.Oluoch Olunya is the personal physician of the former Prime Minister. Dr. Olunya is an expert Neurosurgeon who is based at The Nairobi Neurological Clinic at The Nairobi Hospital. He accompanied the NASA leader daughter Rosemary Odinga for further treatment in a South African specialized hospital after spending 11 days at Nairobi Hospital. The doctor is an alumnus of University of Nairobi’s Medical School.
Mwai Kibaki-Former President
Former president Mwai Kibaki’s private doctor is Dr. Dan Gikonyo. Dr. Gikonyo is the Director and chief physician of The Karen Hospital. The cardiologist started the hospital with his wife Dr. Betty Gikonyo. They are also the founders of The Heart to Heart Foundation. The foundation holds The Dettol Heart Run every year to sponsor the heart surgeries of under privileged children. The heart surgeon is also a former lecturer at University of Nairobi Medical School.
Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi-Retired President
The personal doctor of the second president of Kenya, Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, is Dr. David Silverstein. Dr. Silverstein has been the long serving personal physician of the longest serving president of Kenya. Dr. Silverstein first came to Kenya when he was 30 years old to work for the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in the 1970’s. The cardiologist came to the country after graduating with a medical degree in America. He was only supposed to stay in the country for two years but he ended up making Kenya is home. Prior to becoming the second president’s personal doctor, he had been a lecturer at University of Nairobi’s medical school and he even headed Kenyatta National Hospital heart unit. The doctor has four children.
Njenga Karume-Late Cabinet Secretary
The late Njenga Karume’s personal physician is also Dr. Dan Gikonyo of Karen Hospital. The late cabinet minister passed away on February 24th, 2012 at The Karen Hospital after a long battle with Cancer. He was 82 years old.