By Prudence Minayo
The name Gibson Gathu Mbugua is not as big as the characters he plays. He is the actor who played the court prosecutor in the hugely popular Vioja Mahakamani TV comedy series aired on KBC. When news broke out that he needed kidney transplant, Kenyans of all walks of life wanted to know the kind of assistance they could offer to a man who is fondly referred to as Kiongozi wa Mashtaka (prosecutor).
Here is his story as told by WoK and his death that has shocked a nation.
The actor is a father of four, three girls and a boy. In a previous interview, he said his favorite moment was seeing all his children graduating. He shared before that all his daughters have MBAs. He has been married for over thirty years to Margaret Njeri.
Gibson Gathu’s acting career began in primary school. He drew his acting inspiration from the Tausi Drama club. It comprised the late Mzee Ojwang, the late Anne Wanjogi, and two South African nationals named Kavundla and George Manoe.
He became a household name in Kenya for his role in Vioja Mahakamani, where he was a mainstay actor for decades. The veteran actors called it quits- together with his fellow colleagues- as a show of solidarity with Vitimbi actors including Mzee Ojwang and Mama Kayai who had been shown the door due to their old age.
Apart from Vioja, he has also has had prominent roles in: Varshita, Vitimbi, Jungu Kuu, Kivunja Mbavu, Mchezo wa Hadithi and a film named The Air Up There.
He has also been featured in several TV commercials. Had he not been an actor, he would have become a social worker. According to the actor, the problem with many actors today is that they want to gain celebrity status after taking part in just one program.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he has also worked in the arts department under the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture.
On 24th July 2020, a section of social media users shared his photos claiming the thespian had passed away. Two days later, he reached out to Tuko saying he was alive and healthy. It was his friend Mzee Kihara who had passed away.
“People are saying prosecutor of Vioja Mahakamani is dead, I’m alive it’s my friend Mzee Kihara who died, I’m shocked to see my photos on Facebook saying prosecutor has died,” he told Tuko.
Recently, the veteran actor revealed he has been in and out of hospital. The prosecutor fell ill last year and was diagnosed with kidney failure. Later, it got worse and he was advised to have a transplant with the procedure expected to take place in July. The actor pleaded with Kenyans to assist him financially.
“The procedure will take place towards the end of July and I need around Sh6 Million. There are some drugs I will take for the rest of my life after the transplant and they are quite costly,” he said.
Retired Head of State sent a donation of Ksh2 million to cater for the thespian’s kidney transplant.
The actor had been managing diabetes for over 20 years and in November 2020 suffered kidney failure. He died on 22 December.