Coast mourns ‘man of the people’ Mzee Mwalimu Mwahima
From Likoni Ferry, all the way to Shika Adabu, Mtongwe and his home area in Vyemani and Bububu, if you ask around, everyone will tell you that former Likoni MP Mzee Mwalimu Masoud Mwahima was a man of the people.
“Babu” as he was famously known is among the crop of former Coast politicians who sprouted from civic leadership rising to regional kingpins in spite of their limited education.
Mwahima started off his political career as a councillor of Shika Adabu ward in Likoni.
He then proceeded to become deputy mayor of the defunct Mombasa municipal council and later mayor between 1999 to 2002.
He was first elected to parliament in 2007 on an ODM ticket and re-elected in 2013 where he served until 2017 when he dramatically lost to Ms Mishi Mboko despite threatening to put on a dera, a Somali cultural dress, if he lost his seat to a woman.
A week before he officially announced that he would decamp to Jubilee in the ru- up to the last General Election, Mr Mwahima caused a stir after he was photographed leaving State House Mombasa.
For many Likoni constituents, Mwahima is a living proof that education is not all that makes a good leader.
In 2001, Mwahima hit headlines when he sat for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination and scored a straight E.
The then mayor, who sat the examinations as a private candidate at Kwale High School, scored an E in all his eight subjects, including Kiswahili.
But it is his development track record as Likoni MP that made him a revered leader.
When the news of his passing filtered in shortly before midnight on Monday, the entire Likoni Constituency was thrown into mourning.
Those who have interacted with the former legislator including President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogised him as a big-hearted man.
They spoke fondly of the late Mwahima’s life and times, describing him as an epitome of humility whose passing had left the country poorer.
In his message, the President remembered Mwahima as an elder statesman, witty leader and astute grassroots mobiliser who leaves behind a huge legacy of development.
“Mzee Mwahima was an approachable, witty and visionary elder and leader who offered wise counsel and outstanding service to the people of Mombasa especially his Likoni constituency for decades.
“As a politician, Mzee Mwahima was a strong champion for community development projects, a trait that enabled him to rise through Mombasa politics having served as a Councilor, Mayor of Mombasa and MP for Likoni Constituency for two terms,” the President eulogised.
Even in leadership, Mwahima never shunned voters. He would spend most of his time with his constituents outside his Swahili home under the shade of a Mango tree adjacent to a cowshed.
“If not at the CDF office, you will find him at his home. Most of the time he donned a white vest and strapped a Swahili kikoi around his waist, he was a simple man.
Under the mango tree he would chat, laugh, and drink with his constituents… unlike other leaders, he never had a tight security around him,” said Mohammed Mwinihaji Shafi, a Likoni resident and grandson to Mwahima.
Mrima Maternity Hospital stands out as one of his key projects locals remember him for.
“He saved us the pain and agony of crossing the ferry in labour. I have personally delivered my child in that hospital and for sure because of the hospital may God rest his soul in eternal peace,” says Bahati Ngazi, a Likoni resident.
Mwahima died on Monday night at his Vyemani home in Likoni Sub-County, Mombasa after suffering an asthma attack.
His death comes just three weeks after that of former Changamwe MP Suleiman Kajembe who succumbed to Covid-19.
His family said the veteran politician suffered the attack on Sunday; he was treated at St Thomas Hospital.
“He was treated and when we brought him back, he was okay. Today night when we were seated outside our home, we heard a long silence and when we went to check on him, he was dead,” said his son Juma Mwahima.
Yesterday, Coast MPs and residents shared their condolences and took to social media to mourn the former legislator.
“This is the year of tragedy. Praise be to God. May Allah grant his excellency Mwahima a good place in the grave and the hereafter,” posted Kwale Woman Representative Zulekha Hassan.
Jomvu MP Badi Twalib said: “On behalf of Jomvu Constituency, I wish to express our condolences and prayers to the great people of Likoni for the loss of their Former MP Mzee Masoud Mwahima. May Allah grant them patience and comfort to his immediate family at this trying time.”