By Collins Matubwi
……The Making of a Leader Series….
Shibuli in Butsotso central, not far away from Kakamega town, is the most recognized sports and cultural center in Western Kenya especially in the festive seasons.
Though small, the market is famed for the extreme festive excitements and the revolutions in both spiritual and social aspects
Cornerstone Ministries headquarters is another significant feature in Shibuli, which also acts as a geographic lead to the residence of Hon Bishop Titus Mukhwana Khamala, head of the Cornerstone church in Kenya and a Member of Parliament for Lurambi Constituency, a home which nestles at the foot of the Butsotso community whose inhabitants are well known for their decency, gentility, linguistic prowess, extreme confidence and a little clamor for perfection.
Contrary to those in power, the humble legislator wakes up at dawn to help his workers milk his cows, gives the animals food alongside other domestic duties. He would at times help his wife prepare food for the family something Khamala says, he has been doing since time immemorial. Agriculture is his main inclination.
He would then attend to his visitors before moving around the constituency to check on the NG-CDF projects he initiated as well as interacting with the constituents.
An equal number of guests would be seen at his father’s homestead (Timothy Mukhwana); a sign of a responsible and accommodative leader.
Born and raised in Emusanda village in Eshisiru, Butsotso Central of Kakamega County, The 51 years old law maker says that his parents struggled to raise them due to hard economic times. They lacked a formal employment.
He navigated through the murky waters of poverty to realise his dream in life.
He went to the then Ebuchinga primary school (now Mwangaza) and later on Eshikokho and Ndivisi secondary schools respectively.
After his secondary school, he could not get fees to proceed with his tertiary education. He then opted to travel to Nairobi where he worked as a cleaner in the House of Munch at least to raise income.
“While at the house of munch, I would collect spoilt biscuits to the dumping site and I would even eat some of them. Life was difficult and the rules of work and engagement couldn’t allow us to carry the biscuits home,” Bishop Khamala told the County Splash.
He would then join the late Bishop Ben Bahati on evangelical engagements. They both lived in a tiny room in Mathare slums and later Huruma corner. Later on, Khamala worked for Riata printers in industrial area.
“Bishop Ben Bahati and I are relatives and we were bonded together both spiritually and by blood. Despite all these difficulties, what kept me moving was the strong faith that was rooted deeply within me, a faith that was introduced to me by Rev Brian Peter Hackjingson who was an American missionary,” said Khamala with slight tremors in his voice. He was beaming with blessedness.
In the early 1990’s, Bishop Titus Khamala joined the Forum for Reforms and Democracy (FORD) as a youth winger with the passion of removing the then vibrant KANU government from power.
He was a very confidential part of the security detail of the renown icons of the multiparty struggle Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenneth Matiba, Pius Henry Masinde Muliro and Martin Shikuku amongst others.
He would then follow keenly the footsteps of the young tacks like the late vice president Kijana Wamalwa, former premier Raila Odinga, Gregory Nzenze amongst others.
In 1992, he campaigned for Bishop Javan Ommani who was elected Lurambi Member of Parliament.
He then quitted politics for religious engagements where he then married in 1994 and in 1995, he received a scholarship through the church to join a Bible College in Texas, Litchfield, Illinois in the United States.
“It was challenging for a villager of my caliber by then to cope up with life in the USA. However, during my stay in the USA, God connected me to Rev Larry Cook and his wife Judy Cook: founders of the Cornerstone Ministries who supported me, traveled along with me back to Kenya and helped me establish the Cornerstone Ministries which is strong here in Kenya. They are my spiritual parents,” he said
In 1997, through the influence of Councilor Amisi Mukanda, Bishop Khamala formed part of the campaign team of the late Dr Newton Wanjala Kulundu who was elected as Member of Parliament for Lurambi Constituency and became part of his inner political cycle.
In 2002, he transitioned with him to the National Alliance Rainbow Coalition (NARC), which was led by Mwai Kibaki and the late Kijana Wamalwa who formed the government with Dr Kulundu being re-elected as member of parliment and minister in the NARC regime. Khamala was then nominated as councilor at the Kakamega Municipal Council by the coalition..
In 2007, he declared his parliamentary bid for Lurambi constituency and lost to Manyala Keya of the Orange Democratic Movement ODM and later lost progressively to Raphael Milikau Otaalo of ODM in 2013.
All this time he remained connected to the electorates through the charity and evangelical works of the Cornerstone Ministries.
“I remained vibrant on ground, I helped the less fortunate especially the children who until now have achieved their dreams in life. There’s this stubborn thing inside me that kept on insisting despite all evidences to the contrary that I have to keep trying, I have to keep moving and indeed I didn’t give up.” said Khamala.
When he tried his third stab at the MP seat on ANC ticket, he captured the seat with a landslide in 2017.
This was the sunrise in his political life. Through his charisma and steadfast support for ANC, Khamala has come out as the voice of reason in the party and now, he is the current chairman of ANC Kakamega County. He is an embodiment of focus in the struggle for Luhya political unity.
As a dedicated legislator, he has earned the name “Magorofa” after he embarked onestablishing and improving the infrastructure of primary and secondary schools within the constituency that were dilapidated.
He has constructed storey classrooms in over 20 schools equitably distributed across all the six wards. His focus on charity engagement has seen him offer full academic sponsorship to the bright but vulnerable (over 40) students from the constituency in national schools.
Lurambi Constituency is one of the few constituencies where all day secondary school students have an automatic lunch bursary courtesy of his initiative.
Recently, he was named as the best MP in the county in proper utilization of the NG_CDF kitty and 35 nationally and best amongst the first term members of the national assembly.
According to Khamala, politics has been perceived as a dirty game, the reason for political intrigue, debauchery and ineptitude being exercised by those in power.
He calls upon those in power to shun impunity and use their positions to touch the lives especially of the vulnerable.
”Theres need for persons of high integrity , to occupy political offices because these are the iffices that control resource allocation.” said Khamala.
He is however confident of being re-elected in 2022 general elections as the Lurambi Member of parliament.