Tuju – ‘God must love me’

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Tuju, the Jubilee Party secretary general, suffered 12 broken ribs and three crushed vertebrae.

He is lucky — some would say someone was watching over him — to have survived the horror head-on collision.

The CS also suffered head and neck injuries as well as a dislocated knee that has caused what he described as “excruciating pain” for weeks.

“I lost a lot of blood bleeding internally,”

He went on, “This [accident] you only survive by the grace of God. There is no other way…I have realised God loves me.”

Tuju, a close ally of President Uhuru Kenyatta, was involved in a road accident at Kijabe while en route to Kabarak for Moi’s burial.

He was rushed to the Kijabe Mission Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.

Tuju was later flown to Karen Hospital, where he stayed for eight days before being flown to London for treatment.

He jetted back to the country on Saturday, after two weeks stay in a UK hospital.

“I am on the mend. At least every day I have made progress. I was in a wheelchair, then on two crutches, now I am able to manage with one crutch and this has progressively happened every day,” he said.

The CS  has predictably lost weight, remains weak and walks slowly with the help of a cane on his right side.

He was wearing a hat to cover the dressing at the back of his head.

But he’s ever eloquent and his charming smile remains as guests stream in.

His family members and friends are holding prayers on his expansive balcony as we conduct the interview.

Flanked by Jubilee regional director Steve Mwanga, Tuju for the first time opened up about his health, which has been a subject of speculations for weeks.

 “The main challenge I have now is a lot of pain. It’s a lot of pain,” he said emphatically. That is something you don’t want to wish even on your worst enemy.”

But he says he has improved tremendously, although he is still under round the clock medical supervision.

“Ideally, I should be in hospital still because I need a lot of care. I actually have two nurses here,” he said.

He regrets that he has lost a few weeks of his life but is happy to be alive.

“You thank God to be alive. No plans are more important than your life,” he says.

Tuju is twice lucky. Seventeen years ago he survived a plane crash that killed one minister and two pilots.

“I survived a plane crash before but this was more difficult. I had more injuries than in the plane crash,” he said.

Tuju, then Tourism minister, was in the company of Narc politicians who had gone to Busia for a homecoming party to celebrate their three-week-old election win.

After the party, they boarded a 24-seater Gulf stream at Busia Airstrip for Kisumu. The plane hit a power line on take-off and crashed.

Labour Minister Mohammed Khalif together with two pilots died; the others sustained injures.

Among those injured included Linah Kilimo and Martha Karua.

Medical journals warn that a fractured rib could injure the spleen, blood vessels, and even puncture a lung.

But Tuju says this was not the worst in his case.

“That is very painful but not very dangerous. It’s the vertebrae that were dangerous. I broke three vertebrae. That was the most difficult one. That is what was operated on abroad to protect my spine,” he said.

Tuju has very little recollection of the morning of February 12 when the accident happened.

He was seated on the back seat of his Toyota Prado quietly reading news on his phone when the crash that involved two other cars happened.

He remembers that Sports CS Amina Mohammed, who was in a vehicle behind him, helped get him to Kijabe hospital before his world went dark.

“I don’t remember anything after that. I only found myself in bed in the UK, that’s when I recognised exactly where I was,” he said, noting that he was put under sedation.

Tuju profusely thanked President Kenyatta for “ensuring that I got the best possible medical care”.

“It’s been a tough war but the first thing I would like to do is to thank his Excellency the President. Under those circumstances, he never abandoned me. He made sure that I got the best care possible,” Tuju said.

Tuju — a close friend to the Kenyatta family — has been an asset to Uhuru and was at the helm of the Jubilee political machine ahead of the 2017 polls.

For the first time, Tuju disclosed that he was accompanied to the UK by veteran cardiologist Dr Dan Gikonyo, one of the founding directors of Karen Hospital.

“I thank the doctor a lot because for him to take two weeks of his time to accompany me and to stay with me every day, almost on a 24-hour basis was beyond the call of duty,” he told the Star.

Gikonyo is also former President Mwai Kibaki’s personal doctor and was on the flight in 2002 when he was flown to London after a road accident that fractured his right arm and dislocated an ankle.

The SG also thanked Kenyans, saying even strangers turned up at the Karen Hospital to pray for him

“Many people came to see me but I was in the ICU under sedation…There are many strangers who came to pray. I didn’t even know,” he recalls.

“I am thankful.”