Ex-minister who lectured US, UK over human rights

– Kulundu attended Kakamega School (1965–1968) and later joined Kenyatta University College between 1969 and 1971.

– He joined Loma Linda University in Southern California where he specialised in public health and later graduated with a master degree

– The medic joined politics in 1997 and served as MP for Lurambi constituency up to 2007

– Kulundu also served as minister for environment, natural resources and wildlife before taking over the labour docket

– He is remembered for lecturing US and UK diplomats over violation of human rights

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He was one of the boldest Kenyan politicians who never shied away from speaking his mind whenever he felt pissed off.

Newton Kulundu served as a member of parliament for Lurambi constituency and minister for environment, natural resources and wildlife before taking over the labour docket.

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Former Labour minister and Lurambi MP Newton Kulundu. Photo: Citizen TV.
Source: UGC

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One of his memorable moments of courage and boldness was demonstrated during a verbal exchange with the then US ambassador to Kenya Michael Ranneberger whom he accused of representing and championing for the interests of nations that violate human rights.

Joined ministry of health as a senior medical officer of health

Kulundu attended Kakamega School (1965–1968) and later joined Kenyatta University College between 1969 and 1971.

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He joined Loma Linda University in Southern California where he specialised in public health and later graduated with a master degree.

The medic would later join the ministry of health as a senior medical officer of health and served in several districts among them Kisumu, Lamu, Kwale and Kisii.

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Newton Kulundu: Former minister who boldly lectured US, UK for doublespeak on human rights violations
Newton Kulundu giving a public address in a past function. Photo: Daily Nation.
Source: UGC

He was involved in the training of technical staff in the ministry’s expanded immunisation program activities across the country.

Kulundu was appointed by Brooke Bond Company in 1984 to head medical services and held the position up to 1997.

He is credited for designing and implementing an award-winning reproduction health program.

Chaired the parliamentary Committee on Health

Kulundu joined politics in 1997 where he was elected MP for Lurambi constituency.

As a lawmaker, he chaired the parliamentary Committee on Health, Housing, Labour and Social Welfare.

He played a key role in sensitising the public on health issues particularly after the late former president Daniel Moi declared HIV/Aids a national disaster.

In 2002, he was re-elected to parliament and was appointed the minister for environment, natural resources and wildlife, before being transferred to the ministry of labour where he stayed until December 2007.

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Confrontation with Renneberger

On October, 24, 207, during the launch of a report entitled ‘’Trafficking in Persons from a Labour Perspective, the Kenyan experience,”Kulundu confronted the US ambassador for representing the interests of a country that was leading in violating of human rights.

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In a stinging speech delivered in front of visibly disturbed US diplomat, Kulundu tore into America and the UK for being “the greatest violators of human rights hence have no moral authority to lecture us on human rights”.

“The greatest violators of human rights are not found in Africa, we don’t have them here. The greatest violators are the UK and the US and other European countries, this must be said loud and clearly.

“These two governments (the US and theUK) have perfected the art of doublespeak by asking Kenya and other countries to uphold these tenets… to me, they are preaching water but drinking wine,” he said.

The verbal rants saw Renneberger downplay Kulundu’s handshake after delivering his speech.

The fiery minister lost his seat in the 2007 General Election and embarked on running private businesses and practising farming.

Died of colon cancer

Kulundu died at a Nairobi on March 7, 2010, after ailing for about two months.

The former MP’s son, Edgar Kulundu, said his father died of colon cancer.

In his condolence message, President Mwai Kibaki described Kulundu as “a man of courage and patriotic, development-conscious leader who served the country with dedication in various capacities,”.

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