Mrs. Pamela Mboya, who served as Kenya’s Permanent Representative to Representative to UN-HABITAT in the late 1980s, died on Monday night while undergoing treatment at a South African hospital.
On receiving the news of the death of the 70 year old former diplomat, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka expressed her shock and praised Mrs. Mboya for her commitment to the agency.
“Mrs. Mboya was not only committed to the success of UN-HABITAT, she was determined to help the agency find solutions to the problem of providing housing for the urban poor everywhere. In everything she did, Mrs. Mboya was always dedicated to the larger cause of African development,” said Mrs. Tibaijuka.
Mrs. Mboya, widow of one of Kenya’s celebrated politicians Tom Mboya, was a respected figure in the country and was a freedom fighter in her own right. Mboya, who was killed in 1969 was the Minister for Economic Planning at the time and was one of the rising stars in the newly independent Kenya.
The searing image Kenyans have of her was as a grieving young widow mourning the death of her young husband who was gunned down on a Nairobi street. ‘Kind, intelligent, lively, tough, no nonsense and highly personable,” is how a leading Kenyan journalist described Mrs. Mboya.
She was a student at Makerere University in Uganda when she quit and went to pursue her studies in the United States as one of the beneficiaries of the Students Airlifts programme started by Mr. Mboya. Among other notable beneficiaries was Barrack Obama Senior, father to the current US President Barrack Obama.
Mrs. Mboya lived a quiet life after her husband’s death and after her stint at UN-HABITAT she devoted her time to the activities of the NGO working for the elderly, HelpAge Kenya.