Prominent Coast Personalities; Major (Rtd) Marsden Madoka.

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Major (Rtd) Marsden Madoka, who later became 2-term Mwatate MP, served as Jomo Kenyatta’s Aide-de-Camp (ADC). He was the first ADC to serve past the then 6-month rotational basis for an ADC, after Jomo’s insistence to keep him. He also found love on the State House grounds. Son to Anglican Canon Allan Madoka of Wusi, Taita, who was Pastor in charge of African Affairs at All Saints Cathedral in the 50s. He had his secondary school education at Shimo La Tewa, where his reading proficiency was nurtured. It would come in handy just a few years later. He was only a 22 year old officer in the Army when he was sent to State House and sat across Jomo Kenyatta to read aloud a passage from a newspaper, as a test. Jomo was conducting interviews for a new ADC himself, after being unimpressed by the previous choices sent to him. Out of 12 candidates, Marsden was the man for Jomo. He was immediately required to relocate to a house on State House grounds but not before his senior’s stern caution. His predecessor had ‘misbehaved’ on State House grounds, he was told to keep his bachelor eyes to himself.

As disciplined an officer as he was, he would fail this eye test spectacularly when he met Elizabeth Mumbi, Jomo’s Social Secretary. Encountering her daily, her duties included dropping Uhuru Kenyatta to school. Elizabeth won the inaugural Miss Uhuru beauty pageant in 1963. Elizabeth lived in State House itself while Marsden was housed somewhere in the compound. With Jomo sleeping mostly in Gatundu, Marsden made the most of his free time in the evenings to make moves, discreetly, by using teaching her how to play billiards as cover. The love blossomed under wraps but came out when Marsden was posted to Gilgil to take over parachute company which was growing into a battalion. A move Marsden was happy with as it represented career growth. Elizabeth was however worried about their prospects and informed Jomo.

Stating she had to resign to accompany Marsden to Gilgil, Jomo picked up the phone and called General Mulinge. “Who is the Commander-In-Chief?” To which Mulinge replied it was Jomo. “Then you can not allow a Major to take my secretary to Gilgil! Move Madoka to Headquarters!”. Jomo put the phone down after speaking to Mulinge and asked Elizabeth, “Are you in love with him or his uniform?” She said it was Madoka the man, not the officer. He was happy with the answer and so it was that the couple received Jomo’s blessing and were married.

The Madokas were respected figures in successive governments. Marsden served all but the current one. Their house in Dagoretti was used by government intelligence apparatus as an operations hub in the 1982 attempted coup aftermath to monitor dissidents. Marsden Madoka held a multitude of roles, including the Chairmanship of KPA, but perhaps the most fondly remembered was his time as Chairman of the Amateur Boxing Association. A tenure that heralded the golden age of boxing in Kenya and gave rise to the ‘Hit Squad’ moniker.

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