I once hosted Dr. Willy Mutunga in Mathare and whenever I introduced him to the youth and women groups people never believed that he was the mdosi (boss) of Ford Foundation in Eastern African due to how he was able to mingle with the local people.
When he got interviewed for the job of Chief Justice people called me to confirm whether he was the same guy they had met. It is this simplicity that the women and youth remember of Dr. Willy Mutunga. He was able to talk and listen to their challenge which is very rare with potential donors who come to Mathare with an attitude.
When the new President of Ford Foundation Luis A. Ubiñas visited Mathare, I showed him round Mathare in the company of Dr. Willy Mutunga. I remember the Ford Foundation President meeting small children playing with ‘fire’ as part of their toys and he got shocked. Along the way, we met a jua kali artisan making home bank and the president was amazed by creaticity found in slum despite deep poverty. I remember Dr. Willy returning back to us and asking how best can we partner to improve our situation. It is this act that we will always remember him as he assume his new role.
As he prepare to assume his new position as the Chief Justice, I wish him all the best. – simon