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Mother of man who set himself ablaze in Mombasa speaks! He wanted to be an MP

In a heart-wrenching revelation, the story of the late Robert Gituhu, a 28-year-old who tragically set himself ablaze in Mombasa County, has unveiled the layers of potential that his life held.

Known as a brilliant scholar who achieved an A- in his 2012 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams, Gituhu’s aspirations and accomplishments paint a poignant picture of what might have been.

Gituhu, alias Kirobotoo, on Thursday, August 17, 2023, set himself ablaze within Mombasa’s Central Business District (CBD). His act was a harrowing protest against the escalating cost of living, rallying scores of concerned residents to his side. Tragically, he succumbed to his injuries at the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital later that same day.

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His mother, Ms Rose Mineh, recounted her efforts to understand the circumstances that led her son to Mombasa County.

Gituhu had left home on Sunday, August 12, 2023, without forewarning, leaving behind unanswered phone calls and a mother’s hopes for his safe return.

As the days passed, the family’s concern grew, eventually prompting them to initiate a social media campaign to locate their missing loved one.

Robert Gituhu, alias Kirobotoo’s missing person poster. PHOTO| COURTESY

Jackson Nkoidila, the family’s spokesperson, expressed a profound sense of loss, describing Gituhu as a bright individual with a promising future.

“When he never came back home, that is when we decided to put up the poster, thinking something bad had happened to him,” Nkoidila told Nairobi News. The family’s shock intensified when they discovered that the tragic incident in Mombasa was indeed Gituhu’s doing.

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Despite his academic excellence, Gituhu grappled with job prospects. The former Kijabe High School student had been a standout, serving as a prefect before ascending to deputy captain and later school captain. Even in his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, he achieved an impressive 400 marks.

In an exclusive interview with Nairobi News, Ms Rose Mineh Gituhu recounted the heartwarming details of her firstborn son’s character and aspirations.

Rose Mineh Gituhu mother of the late, Robert Gituhu, alias Kirobotoo. PHOTO| COURTESY

His dedication shone through as he completed a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Production Engineering at the University of Eldoret.

“He was a very reserved person, responsible, obedient, hardworking, humble, and he always respected everyone as he grew up,” Ms Mineh fondly remembered.

Among his dreams, Gituhu harbored political ambitions. He envisioned a journey that involved working, gathering experience, and eventually entering politics.

“My son believed that he was a leader,” Ms Mineh shared. “He hoped that once he graduated, he could have secured a job, worked for some years before joining politics,” she said.

“Sadly, this did not happen. At times he could even ask me, ‘How will you feel when you wake up one day and realise I am a Member of Parliament? Or a Governor?’ To me, I knew that since he was a student leader, he felt like he could still walk on the same path.”

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Tragically, those dreams were never realized. In a poignant reflection of his aspirations, Gituhu’s Facebook account, there was a post on Tuesday, August 14, 2023, that displayed an image of President William Ruto in a Kaunda suit.

He admired the politician’s appearance, branding it “sharp”, perhaps harboring his own vision of a future in leadership.

Recently President Ruto affirmed his support for the youth workforce, “We are providing incentives, we want those companies that are willing to take on board graduates for one year or six months or two years we are going to make sure that we give them incentives. If they are willing to pay Sh25,000 then the government of Kenya is willing to refund them Sh12,000.”

Against the backdrop of rising youth unemployment, Ms Mineh directed a plea to the government.

She emphasized the importance of early student scouting, even during tertiary education, to connect students with potential employers.

“If scouting of students was being done by people employed by the government who check on students then later connect them to different companies even during attachment, things could work differently,” she advocated, ” It is too bad that the government spends a lot on HELB and lose bright students like in the case of my son.”

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