Who was Mzee Jomo Kenyatta?



  • That is a good Historical memory to young people who did not see Jomo Kenyatta and his leadership of tribalism and nepotism which took Kenya to square one than what it was in Colonial times.That is uncurerable diseas to Kenyan people. Iwas there and I saw it all, and I am still seeing it growing higher. Thanks for that reminder.

  • Osewe, this is a masterpiece video that supports a lot of what Mr. Martin Ngatia has been saying about Jomo Kenyatta, and eventually his equally evil son, Uhuru Kenyatta. Jomo’s greed destroyed the country and when we thought Kibaki could clean up the mess continued by the corrupt and evil Moi, he has only continued using his Kikuyu henchmen to loot Kenya and commit henious crimes.

    Mr. Akhonya who is a great contributor at KSB, has also mentioned a lot that is revealed in this video. Goodness, the colonialists were right that Jomo Kenyatta was the Prince of Darkness. At least Uhuru is getting closer to serving a long prison term in The Hague, now that Ocampo has revealed the right reasons to charge him.

    I like Koigi wa Wamwere’s frank comment on Kenyatta’s evil deeds. Coming from a Kikuyu who suffered under his rule and that of Moi, it is clear that not all Kikuyus are blind to the evil of their greedy leaders. It is Koigi who also wrote sometime this year that Uhuru is not his King, when Michuki and other stooges crowned him the Kikuyu King, sans a circumcision knife. Gosh, so primitive!

    According to Ocampo on Uhuru: “Since 2000, KENYATTA has been closely associated with the Mungiki. In 2002, in preparation for the general election of that year, KENYATTA’s candidacy for the Office of the President was publicly endorsed by the Mungiki.72 At all times relevant to the crimes charged, KENYATTA had the capacity to mobilize and influence Mungiki members who in turn received protection and patronage from him. KENYATTA had control over the Mungiki, in part due to his wealth and privileged background.”

  • Peter Karuma Mbau

    Mzee Johnstone Kamau Ngrngi Muigai(Jomo Kenyatta)Taught Kikuyus and gave them Oath than means>Never ever at any time Kikuyus will ever be ruled by the Uncircumced Luos(Jaluos) This was after Gema Kikuyu Ruling-class assasinated Hon Tom Mboya.

  • Kioko son of Wambua

    Kenyatta was evil a devil re-incanation> Watch the Video >

  • Yawa yawa yawa! Jaramogi Odinga, why did you give DEVIL Jomo Kenyatta the right to rule Kenya? You had all the powers to take over as authorized by the then British Governor. Things are still wrong because Kikuyu leadership from Independence is the cause of many of the current problems!!

  • Charles Otiende

    An Oppen LeterSent to Uhuru Kenyatta read>Open Letter To Deputy Pm Uhuru Kenyatta (hit Dem Up Style)
    Listing #59022 by ›› samsam on 07-Apr-2011 . Viewed 641 times . Printed 17 times
    Uhuru Has Turned Into a Political Rabid Dog With Infected Fangs Biting Everything……Miguna Miguna.

    Desperation and fear are dangerous things. They have turned Uhuru Kenyatta into a political rabid dog with infected fangs biting everything, particularly his short curled tail. I don’t blame Uhuru. For a man who was born at and grew up in State House, one can understand how it feels when faced with the most serious criminal charges in the entire world. To be accused by the ICC, following credible investigations, of having committed mass murder, mass rape, mass displacement and some of the worst inhumane and degrading acts against innocent civilians isn’t a laughing matter. If convicted, even only of one charge, Uhuru faces life in jail. So, it is understandable that he is scared, confused and desperate.

    However, Uhuru isn’t Jomo Kenyatta. Those comparing his current tribulations with those of the Kapenguria Six aren’t just being unfair to history and Kenyans; they aren’t being fair to Uhuru and his late father. Uhuru grew up in extreme privilege and opulence. He has never lacked anything in life. I have done some research on this son of Jomo and discovered nothing compelling. There isn’t anything remarkable about Uhuru; no achievement worth mentioning. From nursery school to college, the son of Jomo performed below average. As far as I can gather, he was neither good in sports or academics. He wasn’t a gifted speaker or debater either. Nor is he now. In other words, it is fully understandable that faced with the most serious criminal charges in the world, Uhuru is fumbling, flailing and crumbling.

    But to try and cast Uhuru as some kind of liberator or freedom fighter who is being persecuted by his political enemies is taking jokes too far. Kenyans aren’t complete idiots. The other day, Uhuru’s cousin Beth Mugo and other PNU/KKK acolytes compared him to the Kapenguria six. Let’s get one thing right: Jomo Kenyatta, Achieng’ Oneko, Kungu Karumba, Bildad Kaggia, Paul Ngei and Fred Kubia were not sent to Kapenguria because they had butchered innocent Kenyan civilians; they were jailed by the British colonialists because they allegedly belonged to the Mau Mau movement, which was fighting for the liberation of Kenya. But Uhuru and his friend William Ruto aren’t in that league. Uhuru and Ruto belong to the league of alleged robber barons and murderers. At least that’s what Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s evidence shows.

    Credit is due to Uhuru, however, for excelling in other extra-curriculum activities like smoking and drinking. At Njiiri’s High School in Murang’a where I did my Advanced Levels, I used to punish those who belonged to Uhuru’s league. But Njiiri’s was a public boarding boys’ school, which also happened to have earned the national trophy for discipline throughout the period that I was there. I suspect that the situation was very different at the expensive St. Mary’s private school in Nairobi where Uhuru and other privileged kids were sequestered.
    Make no mistake: there was no freedom or liberation Uhuru was fighting for in 2007/8. The Mungiki vigilante group that the ICC Prosecutor has accused him of having used to brutalize and butcher innocent civilians isn’t a liberation movement. Uhuru and his gang of supporters know that the 2007 presidential election was massively rigged. He also knows that there was a dispute over who won the presidential elections. Unless he wants to rewrite history – and we will not allow him – there is no reasonable Kenyan who believes that Mwai Kibaki won and Raila Odinga lost.

    But more fundamentally, Uhuru knows that Raila Odinga and the ODM do not work for the ICC in any capacity. Raila Odinga isn’t responsible for investigating any crimes committed in Kenya. Raila isn’t in charge of the Kenya Police, the CID, the ministry of internal security or the State Law Office. Everyone knows that it was PNU and the state security agencies it controls like the NSIS that submitted evidence implicating Ruto and Henry Kosgey to the post-election violence. Moreover, Uhuru must be aware that he is facing charges of crimes against humanity as an individual. The Kikuyu community hasn’t been charged. Nor has the PNU or the KKK.

    Beth Mugo claims that as a mother, she holds the view that no Kenyan child should be tried on foreign soil. This is interesting. The last time I checked, Beth Mugo hadn’t stated the same thing with respect to the Kenyans who were abducted and smuggled to Uganda and the United States of America by their own government without due process. There were no charges; no bail hearings; and no extradition proceedings; no habeas corpus. Why hasn’t Beth Mugo demanded the release and return of Al Amin Kimathi who is facing trumped-up charges in Uganda?

    On December 16th, 2008, both the President and the PM signed an agreement for the implementation on the recommendations of the Waki Commission. The Government committed itself to the establishment of the Special Tribunal by February 1st, 2009 to try the PEV perpetrators. The Waki Commission report was unanimously adopted by Parliament on January 29th, 2009. However, on 29th February 2009, Uhuru and Ruto ganged up and had the Special Tribunal Bill rejected by Parliament. They demanded the ICC. They got the ICC.
    Why are they crying wolf now? If they are brave as they claim, why are they panicking? If Uhuru and Ruto have credible evidence concerning the crimes against humanity committed in Kenya; why can’t they just submit it to the ICC?
    To Uhuru and Ruto: go ahead and implicate anybody you want. But please, save us the childish rants and threats.

    Miguna is the PM’s advisor on Coalition Affairs. The views expressed here are his own

  • kenyatta was a ruthless tribalist who also said that the presidency should not go beyond the Chania river.

  • President Kenyatta had the chance of a lifetime – to create a strong, peaceful Kenya, not divided along tribal lines. With deep regret, I have to say that he used his position to enrich himself and to better the prospects of the Kikuyu people (his tribe) to the detriment of the general populous.

    Had he done what Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (his peer Tanzanian president) did and aimed to destroy tribal lines, Kenya would be a much more cohesive country.

    He also gave himself sweeping powers that President Moi made even stronger and hence our predicament today. He made a strong contribution in the struggle for our independence, but what happened to him after we got that independence?

    Very few have the capability not to get drunk with power and sadly President Jomo Kenyatta was not one of them.

    J. Kaguru, Kenya

  • Jomo Kenyatta grabbed the 1,171 acres at Gicheha farm in Rongai Division and did not pay a penny to anybody! Why did Uhuru later sell the grabbed land back to the government to settle the IDPs in 2009? It’s was a grand theft to the tax-payers. Mama Ngina never owned a handfull of soil before 1963, then we wonder where did she get the thousands of acres in fifteen years that her husband was in power? Come on Kenyans, some things need some explanation!!!

  • The problems that Kenyans are facing today are as a result of the injustices committed by Kenyatta and his then henchmen.

    It’s a pity to hear some IDPs say they don’t know their original homes. This is a lie. In general, an African will still know his home even if he lives (or is born) in a foreign country for 50 years. How on earth can somebody lose memory as to forget his or her original home? I have a nephew who was born in US, after his father’s death he decided to stay there but when he was 30, he traced and reached home very easily.

    The truth is that their homes were grabbed by Kenyatta and his powerful cronies of that time. The truth must be said because this is the only time to correct the injustices otherwise we will live with them until Jesus comes back.

    It is a fact that Kenyatta family owns land equal to the size of Rwanda, mostly prime and productive land. A fact nobody from Central Province even those who are now suffering in IDP camps are talking about.

    It is also a naked fact that Kenyatta and his men grabbed chunks of land in Central province and “forcefully” settled the victims in Rift Valley without consulting the natives. Unlike Jaramogi, who said NO GRABBING in Nyanza, Moi, in his desire to get favours from Kenyatta, never questioned or resisted the move. This is the genesis of the problems.

    It is time Kenyans start asking the Kenyatta family how they acquired such huge land while other Kenyans have nowhere to put their head. This is the greatest injustice Kenyatta should be remembered with. Kenyans must be united to fight this injustice and monster called landlessness and “over-landfulness”.


  • If you go to Njiru to buy building stones, there lies a large chunk of land belonging to the Kenyatta’s where quarying is done. For evey lorry load of anything from that land, you part with 1000 shillings. Who gave them that land? The entire Embakasi area is being sold on their behalf. How can one family collect over 300,000 shillings per day out of no sweat whereas their clansmen are dying in the Rift Valley diaspora?

  • http://www.scribd.com/doc/53368900/Kenya-Who-Owns-the-Land

    Many settlers were returning to Britain. Kenyatta and his cronies quickly formed the Settlement Transfer Fund Schemes (STFS) and asked the British for a loan to the Kenyan government, to buy off land from colonial settlers returning to Britain. Good idea up to this point. Britain, having been reassured by Kenyatta that those settlers still wishing tostay on in Kenya would not have their land repossessed, advanced the money. This money was used to buy settler land which was officially sold into the Kenyatta initiated Settlement Transfer Fund Schemes (STFS).

    Next, Kenyatta began to give away and sell for peanuts, these government (STFS)-acquired, former colonial land parcels, to himself, his family and cronies around 1964 and 1965. This is the point when the rain started beating Kenya.

    Kenyatta’s then Vice President, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, cried foul and rejected these acts of wanton land grabbing. The opportunity to choose nationalism and selflessness over greed and ethnic tendencies was lost. Rather than address this land issue once and for all, Kenyatta opted to REPLACE the settler colonialist in land they had initially grabbed from natives.We have began harvesting the seeds of the mustard sown by Kenyatta in the1960s. It will not be sweet at all. The Seroneys and other Nandi and Kipsigis leaders immediately cried foul when Kenyatta ensued in his land grabbing tendencies. So were many Maasai and Miji-Kenda leaders like Ronald Ngala. Their cries were feeble and overrun. Today and tomorrow, their descendants will demand justice and restitution in an exercise that threatens to tear apart Kenya’s social fabric.

    Who will shoulder the burden of the fruits enjoyed by Kenyatta and his cronies, Moi and his cronies, and Kibaki and his latter day cronies? Will it be the poor Kenyan taxpayer taking the bill in form of blood, and more taxes?

    Going back….down memory lane….. in the immediate post-independence era, the moment the Seroneys and the Ogingas started crying foul and nothing was done, we entered a dangerous phase of our nation’s socio-political path.The political leadership of Kenya began carving out into two distinct groups.The pro-Kenyatta land beneficiaries, sycophants and apologists were Tom Mboya, Daniel Moi, Paul Ngei and others. Another force resisting the greedy post-Independence governance by Kenyatta was led by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and included several former KADU operatives like Ronald Ngala, Jean Marie Seroney, Masinde Muliro, Martin Shikuku and others.

    Kenyatta soldiered on with his grabbing. He concurrently went ahead with the help of Tom Mboya to change the constitution to give immense imperial powers to the Presidency. He further began using such powers to allocate more land to his cronies and sycophants. His salivating appetite for Rift Valley land largely motivated his choice of Rift Valley natives as Vice President after Oginga Odinga. First he chose a
    Maasai, Joseph Murumbi, who read the scheme of land-betrayal on his people and resigned in a huff. Then Kenyatta selected Daniel Arap Moi, a Tugen not drawn in the Nandi and Kipsigis land battles, as his next loyal VP. He then descended upon grabbing Rift Valley and Coastal land in a business as usual and “mtafanya nini”attitude that Kibaki is trying to emulate today. Kenyatta cronies including Mbiyu Koinange, Njoroge Mungai and others devised a clever scheme to further benefit themselves from the land transferred from the colonialists. They formed land-buying companies through loans which were actually funded with tax-payer money. At the height of land buying companies, most of the power brokers acquired huge chunks of land at the expense of the landless, who were meant to be the initial beneficiaries of the scheme. According to Widner (in her book), by 1971, more than 60% large-scale farms around Nakuru and 40% of small scale settler farms, were held by Kikuyu,who fared very well from this arrangement, at the expense of other Kenyan communities.

    Another scholar noted that “Using the political and economic leverage available to them during the Kenyatta regime, the Kikuyu took advantage of the situation and formed many land-buying companies. These companieswould, throughout the 1960s and 1970s, facilitate the settlement of hundredsof thousands of Kikuyu in the Rift Valley,” wrote Walter Oyugi in Politicised Ethnic Conflict in Kenya: A Periodic Phenomenon.

    In 1969, Jean Marie Seroney, a leading Nandi politician and MP, issued the Nandi Hills Declaration, laying claim to all settlement land in the district for theNandi. His demands went unheeded. Aping the British, the Kenyatta government used a policy of divide-and-rule to neutralise such opposition by parcelling out land to other ethnic groups and thus winning their allegiance. Daniel arap Moi, the then Tugen vice-president was allocated the settler farms of the Lembus Forest and the Essageri Salient to divide the Tugen from the Nandi like Seroney.

    The Grabbers of the Rift Valley

    Most of the power brokers in the Kenyatta regime who formed land-buying companies established huge farms in the Rift Valley either jointly or on their own. They included Njenga Karume, the then Chairman of Gema Holdings, who acquired 20,000 acres in Molo where he is growing tea, coffee, pyrethrum and potatoes and 16,000 acres in Naivasha. GG Kariuki acquired his 5,000 acres at Rumuruti, Laikipia Division, while former Attoney-General Charles Njonjo bought into the 100,000 acre Solio Ranch. Don’t forget, grabbing of settler land in Central by many colonial collaborators, at the expense of the Mau Mau fighters, was part of the scheme. Senior Chief Munyinge from Muiga took 400 acres. Initially, senior chief Munyinge was allocated only 70 acres but with time he managed to acquire 330 more acres .Mwai Kibaki acquired 20,000 acres in Nanyuki. Former MP the late Munene Kairu has 32,000 acres at Rumuruti. Mr Isaiah Mathenge, the former powerful Provincial Commissioner under Kenyatta and an MP under Moi, is arguably the largest land owner in Nyeri municipality. He owns Seremwai Estate, which is 10,000 acres. Kibaki’s friend, Kim Ngatende, a former government engineer, has 500 acres too. Mathenge also owns—jointly with former Provincial Commissioner LukasDaudi Galgalo—the 10, 000-acre Manyagalo Ranch in Meru. Back in Rift Valley, as Jaramogi and the rest of Kenyans were saying, Not Yet Uhuru, it was land grabbing business as usual. Land-buying companies were heisting big. The result was big acquisitions, for instance, Munyeki Farm—which stands for Murang’a, Nyeri, Kiambu – (4,000 acres), Wamuini Farm (6,000 acres), Amuka Farm (2,000 acres), Gituaraba Farm and Githatha Farm (1,000 acres each) and GEMA Holdings 12,000 acres. A few of them are being utilized today, with the owners growing various crops ranging from coffee, tea, maize and dairy keeping.The other big farms include Chepchomo Farm (18, 000 acres), owned by the former Provincial Commissioner Ishmael Chelang’a. The family of the late Peter Kinyanjui, who was a close friend of President Mwai Kibaki and a former DP Chairman in Trans Nzoia between 1998 and 1999 owns 1,800 acres.

    In Nakuru, several politically connected individuals have acquired many acres of prime land within the town—they include lawyer Mutula Kilonzo, who owns an 800-acre farm for dairy farming. The immediate former Auditor General, D. G. Njoroge, owns 500 acres, while Biwott’s Canadian son-in-law & co-owner of Safaricom (Mobitelea) a Mr. Charles Field-Marsham, boasts a 100-acre piece where he is growing roses. D. G. Njoroge also owns the extensive Kelelwa Ranch in Koibatek, which is less than 10km from Kabarak, where he rears cattle and goats. The 10,000 acre Gitomwa Farm—acronym for Gichuru, Tony and Mwaura—is owned by the family of the former Kenya Power and Lighting Company Limited (KPLC) managing director, Samuel Gichuru. Tony and Mwaura are his sons. Another 10,000 acre farm in Mau Narok belongs to the family of the late Mbiyu Koinange, Kenyatta’s side-kick and powerful minister of state in the Office of the President. His Muthera Farm (4,000ha) is leased to different people to grow wheat, while a group of squatters is demanding a piece of it. The owners are yet to clear the Sh7 million Settlement Transfer Fund loan. Ford-People leader Simeon Nyachae’s Kabansora Holdings owns 4,000ha in the area. Former Rongai MP Willy Komen’s family owns 10,000 acres —5,000ha adjacent to Moi’s Kabarak Farm and another 4,800ha near Ngata inNjoro.Coast Province was not spared. Kenyatta family owns almost 15% the prime resort land in the province, besides a huge sisal plantation spanning both Taita and Taveta districts, safely watched by his son-in-law and former MP Marsden Madoka, and another close friend to Uhuru Kenyatta, and current Minister in Kibaki’s Coalition Government, Naomi Shaban.

    Kenyatta’s Land holdings

    Kenya’s two former First Families and the family of President Mwai Kibaki are among the biggest landowners in the country. The extended Kenyatta family alone owns an estimated 500,000 acres — approximately the size of Nyanza Province — according to estimates by independent surveyors and Ministry of Lands officials. (This report first appeared in the Standard Newspaper reportby Mr. Otsieno Namwaya).

    The Kibaki and Moi families also own large tracts, most held in the names of sons and daughters and other close family members, all concentrated within the 17.2 % of Kenya that is arable or valued. Remember that 80 per cent of all land in Kenya is mostly arid and semi arid land. According to the Kenya Land Alliance, more than a 65% of all arable land in Kenya is in the hands of only 20 per cent of the 35 million Kenyans. That has left millions absolutely landless while another 67 per cent on average own less than an acre per person.The building land crises in the country, experts say, will be difficult to solve because the most powerful people in the country are also among its biggest landowners. The tracts of land under the Kenyatta family are so widely distributed within the numerous members in various parts of the country that it is an almost impossible task to locate all of them and establish their exact sizes. During Kenyatta’s 15-year tenure in State House, he used the elaborate STFS scheme funded by the World Bank and the British Government, to acquire large pieces of land all over the country. Other tracts, he easily allocated to his family.

    Among the best-known parcels owned by Kenyatta’s family, for instance, are the 24, 000 acres in Taveta sub-district adjacent to the 74, 000 acres owned by former MP Basil Criticos. Others are 50, 000 acres in Taita that is currently under Mrs Beth Mugo, an Assistant minister of Education and a niece of Kenyatta. 29, 000 acres in Kahawa Sukari along the Nairobi—Thika highway, the 10, 000 acre Gichea Farm in Gatundu, 5, 000 acres in Thika, 9,000 acres in Kasarani and the 5,000-acre Muthaita Farm. These are beside others such as Brookside Farm, Green Lee Estate, Njagu Farm in Juja, a quarry in Dandora in Nairobi and a 10, 000-acre ranch in Naivasha. There is another 200 acres in Mombasa, and 250 acres in Malindi. Other pieces of land owned by the Kenyatta family include the 52,000-acre farm in Nakuru and a 20,000-acre one, also known as Gichea Farm, in Bahati under Kenyatta’s daughter, Margaret. Besides, Mama Ngina Kenyatta, widow of the former President, owns another 10, 000 acres in Rumuruti while a close relative of the Kenyatta family, a Mrs Kamau, has 40,000 acres in Endebes in the Rift Valley Province. Uhuru owns 5,000 acres in Eldoret, 3,000 acres in Rongai (sold to the government to settle IDPs) and 12,000 acres in Naivasha, 100 acres in Karen, and 200 acres in Dagoretti. A 1,000-acre farm in Dagoretti was owned by Kenyatta’s first wife, the late Wahu.

    It is also understood that part of the land on which Kenyatta and Jomo Kenyatta Universities are constructed initially belonged the Criticos family.The government bought the land from him in 1972 under the Settlement Transfer Fund Scheme and transferred it to the Kenyatta family the same day Criticos sold it to the government. Land for the two universities was subsequently sold partly and a portion donated by the family.

    Kibaki’s and Moi’s Land Grabbing

    One of President Kibaki’s earliest grabs is the 1,200-acre Gingalily Farm along the Nakuru-Solai road. And in the 1970s, Kibaki, who was then the minister for Finance under Kenyatta, via STFS transferred to himself, 10,000 acres in Bahati from the then Agriculture minister Bruce Mckenzie. Kibaki also owns another 10,000 acres at Igwamiti in Laikipia and 10,000 acres in Rumuruti in Naivasha. These are in addition to the 1,600 acre Ruare Ranch. Just next to Kibaki’s Bahati land are Moi’s 20,000 acres although his best known piece of land is the 1,600 Kabarak Farm on which he has retired. It isone of the most well utilised farms in the area, with wheat, maize and dairy cattle.

    The former President owns another 20,000 acres in Olenguruoni in RiftValley, on which he is growing tea and has also built the Kiptakich Tea Factory (torched early in the 2008 Post election violence). He also has some 20, 000 acres in Molo. He also has another 3, 000-acre farm in Bahati on both sides of the Nakuru/Nyahururu road where he grows coffee and some 400 acres in Nakuru on which he was initially growing coffee.The former President also owns the controversy ridden 50, 000 acre Ol Pajeta Farm—part of which has Ol Pajeta ranch in Rumuruti, Laikipia. Some time in 2004, Moi put out an advert in the press warning the public that some unknown people were sub-dividing and selling it.

    Can solutions be found to address these land problems?

    This is clearly a socio-political problem that requires a political solution.cIt involves digging up the archives, consulting experts, policy makers, localcpoliticians and community elders to find a comprehensive solution. Such formulated blueprints can then be sold to Kenyans of all creed, race, religion and ethnicity in a publicity campaign that seeks to draw in as many supporters as possible. A responsive political party genuinely keen to tackle this tough problem can actually sell a comprehensive and just land reform policy as part of its manifesto. These must be cognizant of the constitutional implications concerned in addressing past and present land issues.

  • During Mzee Kamaliza Jomo Kenyatta reign of bad leadership no body or a group would be granted a meeting with Kenyatta without bribing him with Sh:10.000 just to talk to mr Kamaliza. His Ministers were populary known as Mr 10%hence all were rapacious corrupt.

  • KENYA: The Ruby Rip-Off
    Monday, Oct. 14, 1974

    Kenya is a land of fabulously unspoiled game preserves, stable government and excellent trade opportunities. Taking advantage of those opportunities, as foreign businessmen have rue fully discovered, sometimes involves entering a twilight world of official corruption. Corporation executives doing business in Kenya are often asked by high government officials for “contributions” to various charities, though some doubt that the money ends up in the coffers of such worthy recipients as hospitals or orphanages. Early this year, James Skane, the American managing director of Esso Standard in Kenya, was declared a “prohibited immigrant” and summarily expelled from the country after he aggressively tried to collect some $70,000 in unpaid fuel bills. Unfortunately for Skane, it turned out that the money was owed by a series of farms reportedly owned under different names by Kenya’s lionized President Jomo Kenyatta.

    The latest story about scandal in Nairobi involves two American geologists, who claim that they have been euchred out of their ownership of what may be the world’s richest ruby mine by some well-connected Kenyans. It all started about a year ago, when John M. Saul, 37, and his partner Elliot (“Tim”) Miller discovered in Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park a deposit of rubies that was later estimated to be worth at least $5 million. Saul and Miller got a fully legal permit to develop their find. Figuring local participation would ease their way, they shrewdly offered 51% of the deal to a group of high-ranking Kenyans, including Vice President Daniel Arap Moi.

    Unfortunately for the two Americans, others got wind of the rich discovery. One of them was Beth Mugo, Kenyatta’s niece and unofficial lady in waiting to his vivacious wife, Mama Ngina; another was a wealthy Greek resident of Kenya, George Criticos, a friend of the President’s and Mama Ngi-na’s partner in running the Kenya Trade Development Corp. Saul and Miller charge that Beth Mugo and Criticos encouraged other leading Kenyans, including Mama Ngina, to demand a bigger share of the take. The two Americans agreed to let the Kenyans’ share go up to 72%. Still not satisfied, the Kenyans evidently decided to push the ruby discoverers out of the deal altogether.

    Private Pockets. Last June Saul was abruptly declared a “prohibited immigrant” and given 2½ hours to leave the country. At first Miller went into hiding to keep the same thing from happening to him; after a month underground he left the country for London. After Saul’s expulsion, Kenyatta, in an apparent reference to the ruby mine, publicly declared that no foreigner should be allowed to exploit Kenya’s resources for his own private benefit. That is, no doubt, a valid general principle. But in this case it seems that the wealth of the mine is intended for private pockets, not the public welfare. With the Americans out of the way, the mysterious Criticos began mining rubies at Tsavo, continuing even after a Kenyan court had temporarily enjoined him from doing so. There have been allegations that the claims book at the Kenyan Ministry of Natural Resources, in which the two Americans had originally registered their find, has disappeared. In its place, supposedly, is a new claims book listing Criticos’ claim to the Tsavo mine.

    U.S. Ambassador Anthony D. Marshall has protested the highhanded treatment of the two Americans. Meanwhile, Saul and Miller are suing in Kenyan courts for recovery of their ruby mine. Few, however, believe that the case will be decided in the Americans’ favor. Kenya is sticking to its claim that Saul was expelled because of gemstone and ivory smuggling.

    So far, no stories about the big ruby rip-off have appeared in Kenya’s press, and the government apparently wants to keep it that way. Without directly mentioning the ruby affair, the Foreign Ministry warned at week’s end that it “will not tolerate any section of the press, whether local or overseas, which tends to discredit the image of Kenya abroad.” Kenya is a one-party state, and President Kenyatta has already been declared re-elected to another five-year term for lack of opposition. Still, in the parliamentary elections next week, publicity about high-level hanky-panky over the ruby mine could tarnish the government’s reputation in the eyes of Kenya’s 12 million people.


  • By the time Kenyatta was released in 1961, Kenya was only two years away from independence, and Mzee was clearly the man to lead it. “I know why I was imprisoned and I have no bitterness,” he declared in 1963, and he proceeded to turn Kenya into the kind of multiracial state he had long envisioned. He encouraged foreign investment, promoted land development, education and public health.

    But he often turned a blind eye to corruption, particularly among the Kikuyu new elite. His own holdings, and those of his fourth wife, Mama Ngina, 48, multiplied enormously. Together they controlled Nairobi’s lucrative gambling casino, plus coffee and sisal plantations, manufacturing concerns, downtown office buildings and coastal resorts. His government’s reputation was further damaged by the political murders of Planning Minister Tom Mboya, once regarded as a possible successor to Kenyatta, and Kikuyu dissident Politician Josiah M. Kariuki. Both men died under circumstances that have never been fully explained.

    Kenyatta could also be brutal in dealing with official misbehavior—even other people’s corruption, if he thought it excessive. Two years ago, he summoned an assistant minister to his office. “Come sit by me, close,” said Kenyatta. “Now what is your name?”

    The startled minister stated his name. Kenyatta rapped the minister across the ears with his heavy walking stick. “Now,” said Kenyatta smiling, “what is your name again?” The minister repeated it. Again the old President struck him hard across the head. “And what do they call you in the street?” the President asked.

    “Mr. Ten Percent,” muttered the hapless minister; it was a nickname he had earned for his habit of taking kickbacks on government projects. Kenyatta raised his cane and whacked the man twice again. “No more,” demanded Mzee. And there was no more.


  • It’s high time Kenyans grew up and use their knowledge instead of discussing useless polotics. Afterall what have you with big mouths done for your country? Kenya needs to evelope and go ahead the Luos(Uncircumsiced) or Kikuyus are not the only ones that can produce leaders.We have the maasai, luhya, meru(most) co-rdinated tribe,kamba,embu,taita..they all have a voice.Think of developments instead of empty political talks…We r in 21 century chaps.. how long will u wait for the west to dictate over u? From high tech, education o politics.Keep quite all of u n instead talk better politics…..DEVELOPMENT!!!

  • Kenya has seen more than its fair share of bad governance by autocrats. Jomo Kenyatta, who ruled as a virtual dictator until he died in office, initially seemed promising. He had the good sense to avoid the fashionable socialist development theories that brought ruin to neighbouring Tanzania, and in the early years after independence his policies generated a great deal of growth and prosperity. Yet instead of evolving into a genuine free-market economy, Kenya became a corrupt oligarchy. A small Kikuyu elite, including Kenyatta’s wife and daughter, used their proximity to political power to monopolise the country’s resources and become incredibly wealthy. The majority of Kenyans did not benefit from the economic growth, the natural environment was steadily destroyed, and inequality soared.

  • Kenyatta was in fact an out and out farce. No wonder he has no place in the pantheon of post-independence African heroes. This man was a rascal and a scoundrel who was even dismissed by the Indian National Congress in Strand, London, as a thorough nonsense.

  • The lies about Jomo and Kenya
    Published on 13/12/2008

    By Edward Kisiang’ani

    Jamhuri Day celebrations have just been concluded with pomp and pageantry. What, however, is critical to me is not the annual celebrations we have witnessed. Not even the honours some people might have received.

    My concern is about the blatant lies associated with the occasion that we have been living with for a long time. Old wisdom informs us that when a lie is told several times, it actually turns into truth. At the risk of displeasing some people, let me highlight some political lies about Kenya and the late President Kenyatta.
    We have been told several times that Kenya gained independence in 1963. We have also been informed that Kenyatta was not only the country’s founding father but also a quintessential freedom fighter. I have spent a lot of time perusing relevant documents to establish the veracity of these claims but I have not been able to find any truth in them.

    Divide and rule

    Colonial rule had certain fundamental pillars. Through a carefully conceived ‘divide and rule policy’, colonialism was implanted to secure the exploitation of Kenya’s human and material resources. In addition to promoting ethnic hostilities among the African communities, colonial rule was both dictatorial and intolerant.

    Those who challenged colonial authorities were killed by the police, jailed or summarily detained without trial. Under the system, the imperial Governor presided over a prefectural network that ensured that British government policies were fully implemented.

    On their part, the Africans paid taxes without representation and provided the cheap labour, which facilitated production of wealth. Influential public service jobs went to whites and very few African collaborators. Furthermore, most of Kenya’s productive land was alienated and given to Europeans. Education opportunities for the African people were scarce. Kenya belonged to the white people.

    In the past 45 years of African leadership, Kenya has been unable to deal with the problems the country experienced under formal colonialism. That is why I am proposing that since colonialism did not end in 1963, our celebration of the occasion is rather misguided. Biting poverty, police brutality, political intolerance, unfair distribution of resources and jobs, unemployment and ethnic parochialism continue to haunt every aspect of life in Kenya. Our past history shows that, in fact, 1963 was not the year of independence. Rather, it was the time when European colonialism was Africanised, making Kenyatta the first black governor.

    Our struggle for the second liberation was hijacked in 1992 when Moi — the second black governor — took charge of the proceedings by pretending to be a democrat. He rigged the first serious multi-party polls since 1963 and retained the status quo.
    In 2002, the peoples’ second attempt to overthrow Kenya’s black colonial rule seemed to succeed when Narc swept its way to power and promised real change. What followed, however, was an anticlimax of our dreams. In a recent interview with media officials, former Lurambi Member of Parliament Masinde Werangai captured the hopelessness of our political situation when he conceded that the promises of uhuru had not been fulfilled by successive Kenyan governments.

    Genuine heroes

    The lie that Jomo Kenyatta was the founding father of the country should not be allowed to continue. As truly conceived by genuine founding mothers and fathers, the Kenyan nation is yet to be born. What helped Kenyatta to rise to the top was his mastery of pretense and deceit. Kenyatta knew how to mimic what he was not. This is demonstrated by the way he easily changed names to hide his true self. Although he was born Kamau wa Ngengi, he changed to John Peter and by 1922, he had become Johnstone Kamau. While in Europe in the 1930s, he became Jomo Kenyatta. In 1963, Kamau wa Ngegi was simply known as Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. So what is the difference-in character and deed between President Kenyatta, Mzee, John Peter, Johnstone or Kamau? Was it safe for Kenyans to have entrusted the institution of the presidency in a person whose names kept changing?

    After spending along time in Europe, Kenyatta returned home in 1946 and shortly seized the leadership the Kenya African Union party. Although he was mistakenly arrested and jailed for being a member of the Mau Mau, Kenyatta denounced the nationalist movement several times and eventually set the record straight during the Kapenguria trial of 1953.

    His nationalist credentials were further undermined by the fact that during his presidency, he became the biggest land owner in Kenya when he acquired over 500,000 acres of land. Besides, he made it his top priority to punish and neutralize freedom fighters who questioned his political practices.

    Crushed dissent

    Throughout his rule, Kenyatta did not hold any presidential elections to test his popularity. It is tragic that such a person has been branded founding father and freedom fighter.

    Like the colonial governor before him, Kenyatta crushed dissent without mercy, terrorised political opponents using the police and detained without trial those with divergent opinions.

    Contrary to the dreams and aspirations of the freedom fighters, Kenyatta failed to unite Kenya when he embarked on the programme of Kikuyunizing the public service, by replacing the outgoing Europeans with his own kinsmen. At the height of his presidency, he failed to appreciate Kenya’s diversity when he receded to his own ethnic cocoon.

    This was not surprising because, from the very beginning, Kenyatta’s political operations revolved around Kikuyu nationalism. It is noted that as early as 1929, he had been sent to London by the Kikuyu Central Association to lobby for Kikuyu tribal land rights. He even edited a tribal newspaper, Muigwithania.

    We have to recognise that the struggle for independence which began in the early 1890s when British rule was imposed on our people was never concluded in 1963, 1992, 2002 or 2007. It continues to date. In addition, the true heroes of Kenya’s liberation combat include the brave fighters of the Chetambe War of 1890s, the champions of the Mau Mau era as well as the stalwarts of the Giriama and the Nandi resistance. These people deserve respect and recognition.

    Individuals who should make the list of founding fathers and mothers of Kenya should not be Jomo Kenyatta and his fellow traitors of the freedom struggle.
    Genuine freedom fighters include, Mekatili wa Menza, Koitalel arap Samoei, Harry Thuku, Fred Kubai, Bildad Kaggia, Masinde Muliro, Elijah Masinde, and Jaramogi Odinga Oginga, among others. Contemporary scholars have an obligation to the people of Kenya to rewrite our history by correcting the lies we have lived with for a long time.

    Dr Kisiang’ani teaches History and Political Studies at Kenyatta University.

  • When it was obvious that Jomo Kenyatta was becoming an uncontrollable dictator the Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga resigned from Government on April 14, 1966. He also resigned from Kanu with a strong team of 28 Members of Parliament after forming what was threatening to be a very popular party known as the Kenya People’s Union (KPU). To fight Jaramogi, Kibaki and Moi joined Tom Mboya and Kenyatta in yet another constitutional conspiracy through the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act Number 17 of 1966 which required MPs to seek new mandate from the people through by election when they resign from the political party that got them elected to Parliament.

    This is what led Jaramogi and his team seek new mandate through what was then called the Little General Election. When President Kibaki and Daniel arap Moi engage in public war of words on constitutional issues they both know that in 1966 they betrayed the people of Kenya when they joined hands with other Kenyatta sycophants to pass yet another Constitutional (Amendment) Act Number 18 of 1966 which made the President have powers to detain anyone without any trial. These are the skeletons the two leaders are careful not to expose in their cupboards as they publicly exchange bitter words.

    Kibaki and Moi joined hands yet again in another constitutional conspiracy in 1966 when they passed the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Number 40 of 1966 which abolished the Senate which the Proposed Constitution is rightfully trying to reestablish. The two leaders betrayed Kenyans yet again in another Constitutional Amendment Number 2 of 1968 which prohibited politicians from seeking election as independent candidates. Today Kibaki is repentant and wants the people of Kenya to enjoy the freedom to seek election without any political party as it is in the Proposed Constitution, but Moi is not and wants the despotic tendencies of denying wananchi that right to continue.

    Kibaki and Moi joined hands in yet another constitutional conspiracy when they passed the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act Number 45 of 1968 which demanded presidential candidates to be nominated by a political party. In yet another constitutional conspiracy Kibaki and Moi joined hands and passed the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act Number 5 of 1969 which required all members of the Electoral Commission of Kenya to be appointed by the President. This amendment is what gave Kibaki powers to appoint Samuel Kivuitu whose terrible mess in mishandling the 2007 election is still fresh in people’s minds.

    In constitutional matters Kibaki and Moi have been very close friends. When it was clear that Mzee Kenyatta was getting too old a team of Gema leaders tried to change the constitution to make sure Moi, who was then the Vice President, did not take over. That political plot was called Change-the-Constitution-scheme. Mwai Kibaki was one of the most outspoken politicians against the scheme. When Daniel arap Moi took over the leadership of Kenya he rewarded Kibaki’s loyalty by appointing him the country’s Vice President.

    When Moi became the country’s number one boss his joint constitutional conspiracy with Kibaki against the people of Kenya did not stop. Mwai Kibaki joined him in changing the Constitution yet again to make Moi even more despotic than Kenyatta. That was through the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act Number 7 of 1982 which made Kanu the only legal political party in the country. At that time Kibaki and Moi made the entire country sing songs in praise of the so-called ruling party as mama na baba of all Kenyans.

    To be fair to President Kibaki he has done quite an about turn act since he took over the leadership of the country and tried to give Kenyans a truly democratic Constitution. But that was not before he tried to copy the dictatorship exemplified by Daniel arap Moi. In the 2007 elections Kibaki did what Moi had done many times in stealing the election. Moi’s worst record was in 1988 when he deprived the people of Kenya the right to elect their parliamentarians democratically. That is when he introduced the notorious mlolongo electoral system .

    By giving the people of Kenya the opportunity to approve the Proposed Constitution, Kibaki knows Kenyans will forgive him for the constitutional sins he committed with Daniel arap Moi against the people of this country. When Daniel Toroitich arap Moi goes round the country condemning the Proposed Constitution he must be seriously irritating Mwai Kibaki and reminding him of things he would rather were swept under the carpet. He therefore has very good reasons to criticize Moi.

  • Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya’s murder & the return of one-party State
    By: Hillary Ngweno

    Hillary Ng’weno recounts the murder of Cabinet ministers Tom Mboya and its aftermath On the morning of July 5th, 1969 Tom Mboya, President Jomo Kenyatta’s Minister for Economic Planning and Kanu’s secretary general, arrived at Nairobi’s Embakasi Airport from Addis Ababa where he had been attending a meeting of the Economic Commission for Africa.

    He was accompanied by his permanent secretary, Philip Ndegwa, and his brother, Alphonse Okuku Ndiege. He had dropped them off at his office, and then before 1pm went to Channi’s Pharmacy on Government, today Moi Avenue, to buy some lotion for dry skin. After chatting with Mrs Mohini Sehmi Channi for a while, Mboya stepped out of the shop.

    Outside, only two or so metres from the door, was a young man in a dark suite, holding a briefcase in his left hand. His right hand was in his pocket. In a few seconds two shots rang out. Mboya slumped over. Despite efforts at mouth-to-mouth resuscitation Mboya was dead on arrival at Nairobi Hospital.

    Political leadership

    Within hours, there were riots and demonstrations in Nairobi and in towns and villages in Luoland. The experience of the KPU had given most Luo the feeling that the Kikuyu were out to deny them any position of political leadership. They had pushed Oginga Odinga out of the ruling party Kanu. Now they had killed Mboya, and Luo suspicions appeared to be confirmed when on July 10th, five days after the murder, a young Kikuyu named Nahashon Isaac Njenga Njoroge was arrested and charged with the murder.

    Njenga’s trial began with a preliminary hearing on August 11th. On September 10th he was found guilty and sentenced to death. His appeal against the verdict and sentence was rejected by the East African Court of Appeal, and on November 8th, it is reported, he was hanged in secret at Kamiti Maximum Prison.

    There have since been reports that Njenga was in fact never hanged, that he was spirited off secretly to Ethiopia, where he lived out the rest of his life under an assumed identity. What is not in doubt, however, is that during the preliminary hearing after his arrest, Njenga had asked a senior police superintendent who testified at the trial: “Why do you pick on me? Why not the big man?” When asked who the big man was, Njenga refused to say. Who was the big man, if ever there was a big man, would remain the subject of rumour and conjecture for years. And for good reason; the trial never established a motive for Njenga killing Mboya. Someone must have had a motive. Who that someone was has remained a subject of conjecture ever since.

    Mboya’s murder shook Kenya’s politics as nothing had ever done before since Independence. The entire Luo community now closed ranks around Odinga, taking on a markedly anti-Kikuyu stance in all their utterances.

    Other Kenyans were taken aback too. Doubts about Kenyatta’s government began to emerge, especially in the Coast Province and to a lesser extent in Western Province, and doubts turned into worries when reports started circulating that the Kikuyu community had taken up widespread oathing primarily aimed at ensuring their unity in the face of growing opposition to Kenyatta’s rule, particularly from the Luo.

    There was enormous pressure within the Kikuyu community to close ranks around Kenyatta, just like the Luo had done around Odinga. By August, the pressure was so great that Bildad Kaggia, vice president of the KPU, and almost the entire Central Province membership of the party, were forced to rejoin the ruling party Kanu. The split between the two former senior members in the Kanu tribal coalition – the Kikuyu and the Luo – was now as complete as it could possibly be.

    The situation called for some action on the part of Kenyatta who had gone uncharacteristically silent since Mboya’s death. In September, he began to summon elders from various communities to discuss the situation with him at his home in Gatundu.

    Little General Election

    The next General Election would be coming soon, and he was anxious that Kanu perform in Luoland better than it did during the Little General Election against Odinga’s Kenya Peoples Union (KPU). So, in October Kenyatta set off on an electoral tour of Rift Valley and Nyanza intending to demonstrate that he was back in control of things.

    On October 25th he was in Kisumu to open the Russian built hospital, which was the only Soviet, project in Kenya. Luo crowds greeted him with jeers and shouted KPU slogans at him. There were placards in the crowd asking, “Where is Tom?” Kenyatta reacted with anger. In his speech, he attacked the KPU and threatened Odinga, who was with him on the platform, with detention, calling him a “noise maker who is good for nothing”. Oppositionists, he said, would be “crushed like locusts”.
    It was the crowd’s turn to be enraged. As Kenyatta’s motorcade was leaving the hospital grounds, the crowd surged towards it menacingly. The police opened fire. Seven people were killed and scores injured as Kenyatta left Kisumu hurriedly.
    Two days later, on October 27th, Odinga and all other KPU leaders and MPs were arrested in a pre-dawn swoop and put into detention. Among Odinga’s associates to be placed in detention was Achieng Oneko who had been jailed and detained with Kenyatta by the British for nine years before Independence. On October 30th, the KPU was banned. Once again, Kenya had become a de-facto one-party state.

    The new one party state was different from the one that came into existence in December 1964 when the Kenya African Democratic Union (Kadu), dissolved itself and its members joined Kanu. Then there had been some effort at building national unity that if it did not quite negate ethnic boundaries at least operated on the basis of a coalition of all tribes.

    Pretense of a coalition

    Now, there was one major community outside the one ruling party, and in that party, there was no pretense of a coalition any more. After his ugly experience in Kisumu, Kenyatta was in no mood for sharing any power; the inner circle around him encouraged him into believing that no coalitions of any kind were needed any more.
    On the 6th December 1969, Kanu held its primary elections. In the absence of any other party, these primary elections amounted to the final general elections. The results surprised many. Even in a one party state, it seemed, those in control of Kanu were powerless against a public who had become disgruntled by the goings on of the previous two or three years. Seventy-seven sitting MPs out of a total of 158 – almost fully one half – lost to newcomers.

    Serious implications

    Of interest and serious implications to Nyanza and Western Province, was the fact among them were four of the five defeated ministers, and nine of the fourteen defeated assistant ministers. Most of them were Mboya’s political allies: Odero-Jowi and Samuel Ayodo in Luoland; Lawrence Sagini in Kisii and Joseph Otiende in Western Province.

    But among the losers too was Bildad Kaggia. Just as the voters in Luoland had not forgiven anyone who had sided with the Kikuyu’s, and Mboya’s allies in Luoland were so perceived, similarly kikuyu voters were in no mood for forgiveness towards anyone who had sided with forces they perceived to be under the control of the Luo. Kaggia, though he had recanted and rejoined Kanu, was not about to receive forgiveness from Murang’a voters. He was handsomely defeated by Thaddeus Mwaura who had defeated him at the Little General Election.

    Kaggia would thereafter retire from politics to live a simple and frugal life, almost forgotten by generations of Kenyan leaders who were born long after Kaggia’s battles with the British and Kenyatta governments were over.

    He died in 2006 and was buried in his beloved Murang’a where the government later built a mausoleum in his memory and that of hundreds and thousands of freedom fighters like him who had given their all in the cause of Kenya’s Independence.

  • The Construction and Destruction of the Kenyatta State By DAVID W. THROUP Kenya has been regarded as a successful African state by both academics and journalists. Although it came under attack in the 1970s for its neocolonialist policies and has encountered acute economic difficulties with the end of the coffee boom and the second dramatic increase in oil prices in 1979, it seems to have weathered the storm. Kenyatta’s death in 1978, the maize shortages of 1980, the attempted coup of August 1982, the Njonjo affair, and the 1984 drought have all been negotiated. Its critics are less sure of themselves than in the early 1970s because leftist inclined regimes have also lurched from economic crisis to crisis. Leys (1974, 1978) and Swainson (1976, 1978, 1980) have pointed to the development of indigenous capitalism while Cowen (1972, 1974b, 1976, 1980), Kitching (1980), and the Cambridge historians have provided a more complex portrait of capitalist articulation, putting Africans back into Kenya’s political economy as participants not simply victims of history. Most recent research has focused upon the processes underlying the development of Kenya’s political economy and particularly peasantization (Leys 1971; Anderson and Throup 1985; Lonsdale 1986c). This chapter relates this development to the nation’s “high politics” and seeks to examine the operations of the political process at two levels: The high politics of elite competition for control over policy and patronage at the center, and the “deep politics” of social and economic relations, which legitimize the regime through the incorporation of local clients. We shall see that the study of high politics provides insights into what has happened since independence and more particularly since Kenyatta’s death in August 1978 Many observers have bemoaned that we have little understanding of how the Kenyan state functions, of its composition, its relations with international capital, or about the development of indigenous capitalism and the function of the African intermediaries within a neocolonial relationship. Despite these gaps in our knowledge, we can discern from the shifting factional alignments of politics in Kenya certain insights into the underlying social processes, if only because it is through the patron-client linkages of high politics that Kenya’s ethnic sub-nationalisms demonstrate their indispensability and emphasize that their interests have to be accommodated. The distribution of scarce resources lies at the heart of politics and it is through the rhetoric of political competition that one can dimly perceive the state’s reactions to shifts in the influence of different constituencies and observe the struggle for control between rival economic and ethnic interests. While we may not know what the regime says to its multinational patrons, we can see how the Kikuyu and Kalenjin elites have sought to divide the “pork barrel” and to secure their own dominance (Lamb 1974, pp. 17-26, 132152; Swainson 1980, pp. 182-284; Mohiddin 198~, pp. 97-128). The Kenyatta state was a shifting series of coalitions both within and without Kikuyuland. Kenyatta at times had to play certain Kikuyu factions off against each other and to incorporate non-Kikuyu into his coalition to maintain his dominance of the state. Moi has done the same but by diverting resources into the northern Rift Valley to benefit his own people–the Tugen–and their Kalenjin associates, he has clashed with Kikuyu capitalist interests that dominated the state under Kenyatta. Kenyatta and Moi had similar ambitions in that both attempted to promote the economic interests of their subnationalist followers and have also used similar political methods of factional manipulation to achieve these ends. Moi’s Nyayo rhetoric, therefore, has deliberately sought to conceal important shifts within the balance of power. The Kikuyu hegemony of the Kenyatta era has ended as Moi has attempted to advance his Kalenjin associates in the government, he civil service, the army, the parastatals, and the private sector. Moi’s endeavors to secure the rewards of political incorporation for his own ethnic constituency is very similar to Kenyatta’s attempt to promote Kikuyu interests. Unfortunately for Moi, the Kalenjin are not the Kikuyu; nor is it as easy in contemporary Kenya to reapportion state resources as it was at independence. The end of colonial rule and the opening of the White Highlands endowed Kenyatta with the resources to reward not only his own Kikuyu following the old Kikuyu Central Association faction–but to extend it to include former Kikuyu loyalists (especially where they controlled important subclan followings), certain elements of the Mau Mau forest fighters and the leaders of Kenya’s other subnationalisms, especially Odinga and Mboya’s Luo, Ngei’s Kamba, and eventually Moi’s Kalenjin . Moi’s attempt to restructure the Kenyan state to advance Kalenjin interests and those of their Luhya allies has had to be conducted in much less auspicious circumstances. The economy has been less buoyant, the trebling of the population since independence to 20 million has meant that pressure on resources is more intense, but above all Moi has faced the insurmountable obstacle of Kenyatta’s successful entrenchment of the Kikuyu. Every move that Moi has made to reduce Kikuyu hegemony and to dismantle the Kenyatta state has threatened the stability of his government. The Kikuyu, unlike the European settlers in the 1960s, cannot be pushed aside (Wasserman 1976). During the last 30 years of the colonial era, rich Kikuyu peasants and traders were locked in battle with the settlers to become Kenya’s first national capitalists. The cost of defeating Mau Mau (which was directed as much against the Kikuyu proto-capitalists and land grabbers in Central Province as it was against the settlers) and the adverse publicity the rebellion attracted for British colonialism, ensured that the Macmillan government would abandon the fight and acknowledge the victory of the Kikuyu elite in their protracted battle with the settlers for control over the Kenyan economy and government assistance. Moi has, therefore, had to drive a wedge between Kenyatta’s political bailiwick in Kiambu and the other Kikuyu Districts, and has also sought to undermine the political base of the Kikuyu capitalists by securing the support of those who did not benefit from Kenyatta’s patronage – particularly discontented former Mau Mau and poor peasants who fear ‘rural proletarianization’ . He has, however, made little attempt to enhance his political legitimacy with Kikuyu urban poor because their interests inevitably clash with his attempt to create a Kalenjin bourgeoisie and to promote members of his own community as intermediaries between the multinational corporations and Kenya’s Asian capitalists and the state, at the expense of the Kikuyu. These attempts to redistribute economic opportunities provided by control of the state have produced major factional realignments both among the representatives of Kikuyu capitalism and their opponents–Kenya’s other subnationalist capitalists- -led by the Kalenjin, and in their respective relationships with the peasantry and the urban masses, especially the interests defended by the Kikuyu populists. These populists are themselves divided between supporters of the new regime- such as Kariuki Chotara and Fred Kubai in Nakuru and since Njonjo’s political demise possibly Waruru Kanja’s supporters in Nyeri and more socialist elements among whom should be counted Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Mukaru-Ng’ang’ a, and Maina-wa-Kinyatti, all of whom have been at some stage imprisoned. This chapter attempts to relate Kenyan politics since independence to the processes of class formation during the colonial period and over the last 23 years. In addition, we shall analyze these political realignments, especially the class and political interests represented in the Change the Constitution Movement of 1976. The chapter concludes with an examination of the effect of Moi’s attempt to undermine the hegemonic position of the Kikuyu on the stability of the state with particular reference to the economy, the military, and the police and offers a brief appraisal of the prospects for the survival of Moi’s endeavor. It begins, however, with a discussion of the ephemeral nature of Kenyan political factions and with Kenyatta’s attempt as the founding father of both Kenyan nationalism and Kikuyu subnationalism to reconcile these conflicting interests at independence by healing the division between the Kenya African National Union and the Kenya African Democratic Union, and his successful incorporation of the leaders of Kenya’s other ethnically restricted subnationalist movements within his Kikuyu-centric polity while he extended his control inside his Kikuyu bailiwick (Gertzel 1970, pp. 32-72; Bennett 1969, pp. 76-79; Mueller 1972). THE EPHEMERAL NATURE OF POLITICAL FACTIONS IN KENYA Superficially, Kenya’s institutions have been remarkably stable but this is a facade behind which political alignments have altered drastically. Various factions have emerged and disintegrated both at the center and at the district level since independence. Population pressure and social differentiation have, moreover, destroyed many local coalitions and undermined the position of district notables as political patrons and representatives of their localities at the center. Members of the National Assembly have usually remained in office for less than two terms–averaging 7.2 years–and in all post-independence elections more than half the incumbents have been defeated in their bids for re-election. Only five Kenyan politicians- -Moi, Kibaki, Ngei, Nyagah (all cabinet ministers), and Francis Bobi Tuva in Malindi South-have been returned at all five general elections since 1963, and only 24 of the 487 individuals who have sat in Parliament have won three consecutive elections. Since the banning of the populist Kenya Peoples Union in 1969, Kenyan politics has lacked a firm ideological base. Coalitions have been ephemeral accommodations, lacking long-term cohesion. Factional U-turns have been commonplace and large sums of money have had to be dispensed in campaign and harambee (self-help) contributions to survive (Gertzel 1970; Hornsby 1986, pp. 9-18,165-220; Widner 1986; Mueller 1984). Kenyatta was a shrewd politician and his active work in Kenya’s struggle for independence over 40 years endowed him with a unique legitimacy. He straddled Kenya’s two most important political processes. As the editor of Muigwithania (The Reconciler) in the late 1920s and in Facing Mount Kenya (first published in 193(3), he created a Kikuyu subnationalist ideology, which legitimized the accumulation of land and capital by the proto-capitalists of the KCA, within the frame-work of a revitalized traditional mythology. Between his return from Britain in September 1946 and his trial at Kapenguria. six years later, he also constructed a constitutionalist Kenyan nationalism for the Kenya African Union, which could encompass all Kenya’s conflicting sub-nationalisms including, as he demonstrated at Nakuru in 1963, that of Kenya’s “white tribe.” He could transcend the limitations of his ethnic bailiwick and was accepted as the Father of the Nation, symbolized by his popular soubriquet, Mzee (Lonsdale 1986d). Kenyatta’s own political stronghold – Kiambu- had been seriously divided first by the penetration of capitalism and the monetization of land, labor, and commodity production, and then by Mau Mau, which was primarily a protest against increased social differentiation. During the period between the late 1920s and the late 1950s, the aramati (trustees or leaders of subclans) and senior lineages of Kikuyu society had cast off their dependents who became migrant laborers, squatters on European farms, or a landless rural proletariat. As early as the 1930s, land had become a scarce resource and clients’ and dependents’ lineages were a liability rather than an asset. Kenyatta’s political career had been based on attempting the impossible: articulating the demands of Kikuyu proto-capitalists for political and economic incorporation while mobilizing the peasantry as a battering ram to break down the doors protecting the corridors of power, despite the conflict of interests between themselves and the possessive individualism of the Kikuyu elite (Spencer 1985, pp. 145-249; Throup 1983, 1986).3 Since the 1920s, this small alternative elite of progressive farmers and traders had been complaining about the monopolization of state patronage by European settlers and the chiefs and their associates. The KAU in the late 1940s had attempted to secure incorporation and to widen the collaborative basis of the colonial state. The “multiracial” future devised by Whitehall for East and Central Africa after the war,however, was posited on the continued paramountcy of European set tier not African peasant production. The transfer of power in Kenya was, therefore, bound to be much more difficult than in West Africa. A few individuals -chiefs, former NCOs in the King’s African Rifles, and a select band of mission-educated schoolteachers and clerks– could be co-opted and rewarded but most of Kenyatta’s supporters were spurned (Throup 1983, pp. 47-90, 360-388; Gordon 1977). Meanwhile, tensions within Kikuyu society, created as much by the protocapitalists of the KCA as by their rivals for the accumulation of resources–the appointed chiefs–were bubbling to the surface. In 1942, Harold Macmillan as undersecretary for the colonies had warned that population pressure in Central Province and the processes of internal social differentiation would provoke a serious peasants’ revolt within ten years. His timing was impeccable. The crisis was compounded by the increased capitalization of European farmers in the White Highlands who secured guaranteed prices under the wartime marketing agreements with metropolitan purchasing ministries and had both the financial security and resources to invest in new equipment and grade cattle, and to replace squatter labor with imported tractors and combine harvesters from America. This simultaneous repudiation of their tenants by African “big men” in the Reserves and by European farmers in the White Highlands destroyed the legitimacy of the colonial state as a neutral arbitrator, abstracted from the conflicts of the political arena, and clearly identified it as the servant of one specific interest: the settlers. The early 1950s were a dangerous time for Kenyatta and his proto-capitalist supporters in the KCA. They were being squeezed not simply between the British and the Mau Mau militants, but were challenged for the leadership of the Kikuyu masses. Bildad Kaggia, Fred Kubai, Mwangi Macharia, and their radical trade union associates based in Nairobi saw through Kenyatta’s rhetoric and denounced him and his protocapitalist associates as potential collaborators (Spencer 1985, pp.202-249;Kaggia 1975, pp. 78-86, 99-tl5). Kenyatta’s success after independence was to reconcile the interests of these hitherto antagonistic Kikuyu elites–the KCA and the “loyalists.” Kiano of Murang’a and Nyagah of Embu had been tempted after the 1961 “Kenyatta Election” by offers of positions in the cabinet, despite the refusal of the Kikuyu- and Luo-dominated KANU coalition to form a government unless Kenyatta was immediately released. Bernard Mate from Meru, who had been the first African-elected legislative councillor from Central Province in 1957, had defected to the Ngala-Blundell multiracial alliance. Kiano and Nyagah had carefully weighed the short-term attractions of escaping from the political thrall of Mboya and Odinga, but had recognized that it would be political suicide to break the ethnic solidarity of Central Province and desert. If they had done so the nature of Kenyan politics would have been transformed since it would have meant that the Kikuyu “loyalists,” the pro-British, established protocapitalists would have been in Ngala’s KADU, while the Mau Mau would have remained supporting KANU. Kikuyu ethnic subnationalism would have fallen apart along class lines, and Kenyatta’s task of reconciliation inside his own bailiwick would have been rendered impossible (Gertzel 1970, pp. 28–72; The Times, April 22, 1961, p. 7 and April 24, p. 10).5 From the moment of his return from Maralal he set about subsuming their rivalries by appealing to Kikuyu ethnic solidarity. Thus, at the moment of Kenyatta’s triumph as leader of Kenyan nationalism, he had to build a united Kikuyu ethnic subnationalism after the bitter divisions of the Mau Mau conflict and the colonial regime’s social engineering schemes, to operate from a secure power base. He did this by rewarding the conflicting factions with government patronage, political and civil service jobs, and former European farms in the Rift Valley. There were enough pickings for members of both the former “official” and “unofficial” Kikuyu elites to share when the carcass of the colonial state was dismembered. Other ethnic subnationalist leaders and their clients had also to be rewarded, but the former settler presence ensured that there was enough for all. (Wasserman, 1976; Kenyatta 1968, pp. 167-217; The Times Kenya Supplement, December 12, 1963). THE ENLARGEMENT OF KENYA’S COALITION Kenyatta was sensitive to the need to tie as many prominent local leaders as possible to his regime, especially in Central Province. Upon his return from Britain in September 1946, he had set up to secure his own bailiwick by purchasing land in his mbari (subclan) and by courting the established local potentates. He had quickly married into both the Koinange and Muhoho families, who provided the most influential colonial chiefs in southeast and northeast Kiambu. Both families had successfully acted as intermediaries between the British and their Kikuyu clients in the 1890s, and had been incorporated into the colonial structure as chiefs and headmen. Charles Njonjo, the attorney general throughout Kenyatta’s presidency, Arthur Magugu, and Munyua Waiyaki, who succeeded Mungai as foreign minister from 1974 to 1979, after having served in the exposed position of deputy speaker of the National Assembly, were also descendants of prominent early Kikuyu collaborators who had established large githaka (estates), and had attracted dependent lineages through their control of trade, first with the Masai, and from the 1860s with Swahili caravans and then the British, who skirted the southern frontier of Kikuyu migration in Kiambu. In this frontier area, land had not been a scarce resource but had been available for occupation by those who could construct a sufficiently large following to clear and stump it, and then, even more importantly, to protect it from the depredations of their neighbors, not only the Masai and the Machakos Kamba, but often other Kikuyu mbari. Throughout the colonial period the aramati, or leaders of these mbari, subclans had exercised considerable power and had been incorporated into the power structure as nominated chiefs. The Koinange, Njonjo, Magugu, Muhoho,and Waiyaki families and their mbari alliances remain the key to political control in southern Kikuyuland and after independence provided most Kiambu members of the cabinet. Waiyaki’s family had initially been the most successful manipulators of the British presence, but the proximity of the British camp at Fort Smith to their githaka had posed too severe a strain on his great-grand- father’s control, given the restricted authority of the aramati in Kikuyuland’s segmentary lineage ideology. Relations with the British had deteriorated and eventually the Waiyakis were discarded. Waiyaki wa Hinga was deported and died en route to the coast and exile at Kibwezi. This failed collaborator has, therefore, entered Ngugi wa Thiongo’s pantheon of Kenyan nationalist heroes. Ngugi, however, is not alone in regarding Waiyaki as a hero. The legend of his fate has become a potent Kikuyu myth, and consequently it was his descendant, the Western-trained doctor Munyua Waiyaki, whom Kenyatta sent to negotiate with Brigadier Mwariama and the remnants of the Mau Mau gangs who were still hiding in the Mount Kenya forests at independence. An invented past has its uses in Kikuyu politics and Munyua Waiyaki’s presence in the government enhanced its legitimacy in Kiambu even though the family had lost their vast githaka to Kinyanjui wa Gatherimu at the turn of the century (Muchuha 1967a; Muriuki 1972, pp. 147-154; Mungeam 1966, p. 12; Ngugi wa Thiong’o 1981, pp. 45-46). Besides incorporating representatives of these elite Kikuyu families into his local coalition, Kenyatta also increased the cohesion of his domestic constituency by appointing local proconsuls wherever he could not find a local potentate to incorporate. James Gichuru, his political opponent of the 1940s for control of the elitist KAU, was useful as supervisor of the volatile Kikuyu communities around Limuru, which were composed of laborers on the multinational tea plantations and dispossessed squatters, thrown out of the White Highlands immediately after World War II under the restrictions imposed on resident labor livestock and cultivation. Gichuru’s high political profile as president of KAU and as the first president of KANU, while Kenyatta was still in detention, and his own experience of house arrest during the Emergency contributed to the legitimation of the regime in this potentially troublesome area. Despite the close identification of Kenyatta with Kenya, he was first, Kikuyu, indeed a Kiambu Kikuyu. Thirty percent of the cabinet were Kikuyu in 1969, 1974, and even as late as 1979 under Moi. During the last five years of Kenyatta’s life his brother-in-law, Mbiyu Koinange, exerted considerable power. As minister of state in the Office of the President he controlled the Provincial Administration and supervised the paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU). Kenyatta’s nephew, Dr. Njeroge Mungai. was the first defense minister and from 1969 to 1974, foreign minister. Kenyatta appreciated that he could not incorporate merely his own supporters and members of the Kiambaa-Gatundu faction. Julius Kiano from Murang’a and Mwai Kibaki, representative of Nyeri Kikuyu interests, comprised with Gichuru, Koinange, Njonjo, and Mungai an inner cabinet, evenly divided between young technocrats and older, more traditional, Kikuyu politicians adept at manipulating the labyrinthine entanglements of local disputes and inter- and intra-mbari competitiveness (Bienen 1974, pp. 66-81; Lamb 1971. pp·17-53; Goldsworthy 1982b, pp. 207-247; Africa Confidential. February ~978,pp. 1-3). Once the settlers had been dispatched, the various factions of Kenya’s ethnic subnationalist elites could be included in Kenyatta’s coalition, either by election to the National Assembly or as local councillors, or by appointment to the civil service, or as directors of parastatals. Loans and land were available in unprecedented abundance. The dismantling of the colonial state ensured that Kenyatta had enough resources at independence to secure the support of both the loyalist and the former KCA factions. The leaders of Kenya’s other ethnic subnationalisms were also incorporated into the new regime Those who had suffered proletarianization did less well as the crumbs that reached the masses were normally secured only by the clients of successful patrons. The abilities of the Kiambu Kikuyu elite to reward their followers bolstered their domestic constituency, but in the long term it posed a threat to Kenya’s political stability since it had been secured at the expense of other communities. The Murang’a and Nyeri elite were much less successful at securing land and employment for their clients. Moreover, those who challenged the morality of the system or who appealed to their role in the “Mau Mau War of Liberation” secured little. Their demands were subversive of the new political order, which was predicated on the social engineering that had taken place in Kikuyuland under cover of the disruption caused by Mau Mau (Abrams 3979; Buijtenhulls 1973, pp. 21-37, 113-149). Militarily, the British had defeated Mau Mau by October 1956, when Dedan Kimathi was captured, but the Emergency remained in force until 1960 when African politicians insisted on its end as one of their preconditions for attending the first Lancaster House conference. During these months Kikuyu, Embu, and Meru societies were dramatically restructured to promote the processes of capitalist accumulation and to foster the development of dynamic, progressive farmers on secure smallholdings, complete with the title deeds required to secure loans from commercial banks. The Swynnerton Plan was designed to create a “yeomanry” of rich peasants, cultivating remunerative cash crops such as coffee, tea, or pyrethrum, and along with the land consolidation and registration campaigns provided the essential economic foundations for the new state, rewarding Kenyatta’s ethnic subnationalist constituency of Kikuyu protocapitalists and their rivals, the chiefs. In fact, as Cowen (1972, 1976, 1979, 1981) had demonstrated, this belated acceptance of capitalist forces by the colonial administration slowed down social differentiation. The issuing of individual titles to all with claims to land, which the Kikuyu elite had argued for since the 1920s, stymied their accumulation and limited the displacement of junior lineages and tenants. Once the poor peasant had a title he was less easy prey to the protocapitalists. Social pressure, bribery of the Native Tribunals, and manipulation of mbari customs all became ineffective. Thus, despite the aims of the colonial government, land consolidation and registration have entrenched the Kikuyu peasantry on the land since the Swynnerton Plan’s encouragement of cash crops, and has provided poor peasants with the financial resources to sustain the peasant strategy (Kitching 1980, pp. 315-374). This, of course, was unclear at independence, but the stability of the Kenyan state depended on the legitimacy of the Kikuyu land reform. The new state could not have survived the reopening of the colonial Pandora’s box of land disputes. Land was available only for reallocation in the former White Highlands, and by 1963 there were already many claimants. Their contradictory demands had to be carefully balanced according to the scales of political expediency. The Kikuyu elite came first; ruffled claimants for office could be assuaged for some rebuff by an appropriate estate. Reluctant clients could be secured more firmly to the Kenyatta regime. As part of this process, the most difficult group of claimants to satisfy and the most dangerous to ignore, the Kikuyu “have-nots” secured some reward under the British-financed Million Acre Scheme. LAND AND THE EMERGENCE OF ARAP MOI AS LEADER OF THE KALENJIN Kenya’s population has grown rapidly since the 1920s and since 1963 it has more than trebled. Moreover, only one-quarter of the country regularly receives more than 20 millimeters of rain annually, the minimum necessary to grow grain. Well-watered land is therefore a scarce resource, and Kenyan politics have revolved around the land issue since World War I. Much of the country’s stability since independence has stemmed from the reallocation of land in the White Highlands to Africans. Combined with land consolidation and registration in Central Province in the late 1950s, the transfer of settler farms in the Rift Valley and Machakos underwrote the transfer of power and for a generation slowed down the process of rural proletarianization (World Bank 1981, pp. 112-114; Wasserman 1976, pp. 171-175; Ndegwa 1985, pp. 140-143; Weekly Review, January 24, 1986, pp. 17-27; New York Times, August 11, 1982, p. 23). The politics of land was perhaps the key question dividing Kenya’s ethnic subnationalisms at independence. Land was the most important reward that the peasantry expected from their patrons and the new African politicians. The distribution of this scarce resource underlay most of the ethnic rivalries at independence and the division between KANU and KADU. Mau Mau had been a Kikuyu particularist movement for more land. It was essentially a struggle for control of the White Highlands, where many forest fighters had been born and raised as second-generation squatters, before their families were dispossessed after World War II. At independence, however, it was not only the Kikuyu who had to be incorporated. Kenya’s other ethnic subnationalities, particularly the Kalenjin and the Luhya, had their demands. Even the Luo were rewarded with settler land in the former Kisumu- Londiani settled area. It was over the land question that Arap Moil first revealed his skills as a political in-fighter. The Tugen are a marginal force in Kenyan politics. Even within the Kalenjin coalition they are smaller in population and economically less-developed than the Nandi or Kipsigis. Following his appointment to the Legislative Council in 1956, Moi had first become prominent by mobilizing the Tugen in southern Baringo to secure the transfer of the Lembus Forest and the Essageri salient of settler farms for Tugen settlement at the expense of the Nandi and Elgeyo. Although Taita Towett had first raised the issue, he and his rival for the leadership of the Kalenjin, Seroney, were preoccupied with the threat of Luhya and Luo expansion on the western frontiers of the Kalenjin, and by their battle for the leadership of Kalenjin ethnic sub-nationalism. Within the confines of Kaleniin politics, therefore, Moi and the Tugen emerged as a compromise third force, and slowly secured Elgeyo and Marakwet support as arbitrators in the conflict between the Nandi and Kipsigis. In most respects, however, Moi in 1963 was still less important than Seroney or Towett. Indeed, the Tugen were marginal to the main political preoccupations of the Kalenjin, who were primarily concerned about the allocation of land in the western districts of the White Highlands, particularly Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu where they were in conflict with Luhya migrants (Sanger and Nottingham 1964, pp. 20-23; The Times, March 7, 1963,p. 9; May 13, 1963, pp. 9, 13). Tugen ambitions were focused on north Nakuru, stretching from Subukia to Eldama Ravine and the Lembus Forest. This was not a new development in the 1950s. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the southern Tugen had been engaged in “a range war” with European farmers along this lengthy border, and had regularly encroached on settler land for grazing, water, and salt licks. In the 1960s, this expansion southward by the Tugen into the northern parts of Nakuru District threatened to bring them into conflict with settlement schemes for Kikuyu peasants. Thus, while the Elgeyo, Marakwet, and Pokot came to regard Moi as a neutral arbitrator between themselves and the Nandi, and between the Nandi and Kipsigis, over the western Rift Valley, from the Kikuyu perspective he appeared to be the most important Kalenjin leader, who had to be compensated elsewhere if a confrontation was to be averted. Moi’s ambitions had to be diverted away from northern Nakuru to the western Rift Valley by encouraging him to think as the leader of a united Kalenjin ethnic subnationalism. He had to be persuaded that the Luhya presented a much softer target than the Kikuyu (D. Anderson 1982, 1986, pp.l-2, 19-23; Sanger and Nottingham 1964, pp. 21-23). Nakuru District and town had been predominantly Kikuyu since the 1920s, following the influx of squatters into the areas from “Kenia Province” during World War I to escape from the exactions of the government, nominated chiefs, and the threat of enlistment for the Carrier Corps Kalenjin had only moved into the district in large numbers during the 1950s to fill the vacancies created by the large-scale detention and repatriation of the Kikuyu during Mau Mau. In contrast, Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu and their urban centers, Kitale and Eldoret, were much more ethnically heterogeneous societies. No one ethnic group predominated in the way the Kikuyu did in Nakuru District and throughout the eastern White Highlands. Thus, Kenyatta was able to direct Moi’s ambitions away from Tugen expansion into northern Nakuru toward the question of Kalenjin expansion into the western Rift Valley at the expense of the Luhya (Seeley 1985, pp. 54-55, 72- 76; The Times, March 7, 1963, p. 9)· Both Kalenjin and Luhya claimed possession of Trans-Nzoia, the maize granary of the White Highlands. The two most prominent leaders of these ethnic subnationalisms, Moi for the Kalenjin and Masinde Muliro of the Luhya, were supporters of Ronald Ngala’s conservative, regionalist coalition of small ethnic groups–KADU. The seven Kalenjin “subgroups” had all returned KADU candidates with secure majorities in both 1961 and 1963. In contrast, the Luhya had been divided, splitting three ways in 1961, when Musa Amalemba’s Abaluhya Political Union had secured nearly 40 percent of the vote and had emerged as the dominant political force. Amalemba was a nominated legislative councillor and had been selected by the British as the first African minister under the Lyttleton constitution. The Abaluhyia Political Union, in contrast to the other district-focused parties permitted under the Lennox-Boyd constitution, chose to become one of the strands of Michael Blundell’s multiracial coalition, whose mainstay were the liberal Europeans of the New Kenya Group. Instead of attempting to establish a niche within the nationalist coalition, they became the most important African element in this last-ditch attempt by Kenya’s settlers to preserve some political role in the transfer of power. Luhya ethnic subnationalism, therefore, lacked legitimacy in the opinion of the wider African political nation once the focus of competition switched from the district-oriented politics of accommodation, which had dominated the 1950s, to the nationally orchestrated campaign by multi-ethnic coalitions for control of the central bastions of the colonial state. As a nominated minister, moreover, Amalemba was too closely identified with the colonial regime and even among the Luhyia was unable to extend his support beyond his home area in the south of the region. Muliro’s election in 1957 to the Legislative Council with the support of the northern and eastern locations ensured that he automatically became the most senior legitimate nationalist politician from North Nyanza and Elgon Nyanza. This position was bolstered by his conspicuous national political role as effective deputy leader and national organizing secretary of KADU (Bennett and Rosberg 1961. pp- :-1-174).” By refusing to fit neatly into either the, KANU or KADU coalitions and remaining loyal to their locally focused ethnic subnationalism, the Luhya were isolated from the mainstream of Kenyan politics and despite Muliro’s attempts to drag them into the contest for central resources, their domestic political rivalries undermined their potential collective strength as Kenya’s third largest ethnic group. Thus, as the contest to inherit the colonial state gathered momentum, Muliro had to fight with one arm tied behind his back against a Kalenjin community united behind Moi. The failure of the Luhya to plump for KANU or KADU weakened Muliro’s bargaining position as their perceived ethnic leader. He therefore failed to secure Kitale as the capital of the Western Region, the center of a discrete Luhya-controlled polity under the Majimbo constitution Moi provided to be a hard-headed political realist. Throughout his career, until perhaps Njonjo’s carefully orchestrated fall from power in 1983, Moi’s rivals have underestimated his skills as a political tactician. In fact, at three stages in his career Moi has demonstrated consummate ability to survive the dirtiest political infighting. He is a master of back-room coalition-building· This was first demonstrated in 1963-64, when he secured Kenyatta’s support for Kalenjin, not Luhya, primacy in Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu. During the politics of state formation the Kalenjin, united behind Moi, were a more important element in the political nation than Muliro s divided Luhya. Moi’s maneuvering to secure land for the Kalenjin at the expense of the Luhya severely strained the internal balance of power within KADU, to which both Moi and Muliro belonged. Their dispute paved the way to the party’s dissolution in November 1961 and its absorption within Kenyatta’s governing coalition. A political bargain seems to have been struck whereby the Kalenjin would secure access to the former White Highlands in return for destroying the logic of KADU’s anti-Kikuyu coalition. These timely concessions at the expense of the divided Luhya had the additional advantage as far as Kenyatta was concerned of diverting Tugen ambitions from the Subukia area where their encroachment clashed with Kikuyu expansion from Naivasha and Nakuru and enabled the former Kikuyu squatters to become firmly entrenched. THE POLITICS OF THE VICE-PRESIDENCY After the demise of Odinga in March 1966, the vice-presidency had been entrusted to two marginal politicians. Kenyatta’s first choice, Joe Murumbi, was the child of an Asian-Masai marriage and had a European wife. He represented the ethnicaIly mixed constituency of Langata, which included not only the plush European suburb of Karen, but also the old Nubian settlement at Kibera that in the 1970s became Nairobi’s second largest shantytown. Within nine months Murumbi had abandoned the contest against the Kiambaa-Gatundu faction. As an intelligent, articulate politician he represented, as Mboya and Kariuki were to do later, too powerful an antagonist to have been permitted to survive. Moreover, he had radical tendencies, and from 1963 to 1966 he had been associated with most of the intrigues of Odinga’s group against Mboya and KANU’s procapitalist leadership. Murumbi’s appointment was an attempt by Kenyatta to minimize defections to the KPU by convincing those radicals, especially the non-Luo who had not become completely alienated from the regime, that their interests would best be served by remaining within the governing party. In December 1966. Murumbi resigned, ostensibly to devote his energies to business, but in fact to escape from his Kikuyu political enemies (Goldsworthy 1982b, pp. 237, 241, 247; Hornsby 1986, pp. 10-15).7 His successor as vice-president in January 1967, Daniel Arap Moi, was a cautious politician who had never been identified with the radical populists. He had shown himself during the scramble for the White Highlands to be an effective spokesman for Kalenjin interests, willing to endanger the cohesion of KADU for the advantage of his ethnic constituency. KADU had never recovered from these self-inflicted wounds, and Moi had been rewarded at the merger with KANU in November 1964 with the most senior position in the cabinet offered to the new recruits. These two incidents had demonstrated Moi’s intuitive political skill. In addition, as vice-president he brought to the weakened government the support of the non-kikuyu parts of the Rift Valley and delivered the Kalenjin to the ruling coalition. Moi did not, however, appear to be a formidable new challenger to the dominant Kiambu faction. He had been a member of the National Assembly since 1956, and was the only survivor from the colonial generation of nominated African members. but had rarely attracted popular attention. His unimpressive personality, halting English, and weak grasp of the complexities of government were to prove political assets. The Kiambaa-Gatundu faction regarded Tom Mboya and J.M. Kariuki as much more serious challengers to their domination of the Kenyatta State. Koinange, Mboya, Mungai. Kibaki, and Njonjo, all exercised more influence within the government than Moi, whose ministerial portfolio was whittled away with the transfer of control over the police to Mbiyu Koinange in the Office of the President. As the years passed, powerful contenders for the succession died or lost their seats, until by 1976 Moi’s survival as vice-president had transformed the situation. Despite the fact that he had little power within the cabinet and could not even enter Nakuru without running a gauntlet of police roadblocks, his political longevity ensured that he had become the candidate whom the Kikuyu had to stop. During these years he had avoided controversy and accepted every political humiliation from his Kiambu rivals, but he had also constructed a formidable network of supporters who were equally disillusioned with the Kiambaa-Gatundu faction (Goldsworthy 1982b, PP 268-270; Hornsby 1986, pp 10-15; Karimi and Ochieng 1980, pp 3-S1;Africa Confidential, various issues, 1978) Kenyan politics is held together both at the national level of competition between its ethnic subnationalities and in the districts by a complex series of interlinking patron-client relationships. Kenyatta’s unique legitimacy was derived from his role as the founder of its populist political ideology, and as the leader of nationalist action in the colonial period, at both the Kenyan nationalist and Kikuyu subnationalist levels. Moi lacked such legitimacy in the political maneuvering before Kenyatta’s death, these proved to be advantages, since everyone who had been antagonized by the Kiambu hegemony and opposed a “family” succession could agree to support Moi. He appeared open to influence and unlikely to claim for himself more than the role of primus inter pores. Moreover, although vice-president, he had avoided becoming identified with unpopular government actions and was not held responsible for its errors, such as the death of JM Kariuki. The various opposition factions gradually came to regard Moi as a candidate with whom they could deal. He assiduously courted such potential recruits, particularly disgruntled Kikuyu whose support was essential if he was to assuage the doubts at all levels of Kikuyu society about the wisdom of letting power slip from their grasp. His task was eased by the support of Kibaki and Njonjo, the two most influential Kikuyu technocrats in the cabinet, and by Kenyatta’s enigmatic neutrality. During Kenyatta’s last years, the Kiambu hierarchy divided into two factions. The first group, which contained most, but not all, of the immediate family, and the majority of Kiambu politicians and businessmen, wished to ensure a Kikuyu, and if possible, a “family” succession. Until his unanticipated electoral defeat at Dagoretti in 1974 by Dr.Johnstone Muthiora, the foreign minister, Njoroge Mungai, had been the favored candidate. His defeat left the “family” without an agreed choice. The obvious alternative, Mbiyu Koinange, at 70 was too old and would outlive Kenyatta by only three years. Koinange had also made too many enemies during his long career in both pre-and post- independence politics. As minister of state in the Office of the President responsible for overseeing provincial Administration and the GSU, his name had figured prominently in the Kariuki enquiry. A sinister back-room figure, adept in the Byzantine subclan intrigues of Kikuyu politics, who reflected the traditionalist side of Kenyatta’s character, Koinange was feared more than he was respected, and he found it virtually impossible to construct a Kikuyu coalition, let alone a multiethnic one (Karimi and Ochieng 1980, pp. 65–67; Kareithi and Ng’weno 1S7Sa, pp. 41-45) Kenyatta’s own attitude was ambiguous. The “family” assumed that he would wish to preserve their wealth and authority, but in his lucid moments, which became rarer as he grew older, Kenyatta remained a shrewd political tactician. He appears to have recognized the need to divert criticism away from his family and to reduce the concentration of development schemes on Kiambu in particular, and Kikuyuland in general. Encouraged by Charles Njonjo and Mwai Kibaki, he sought to ensure political stability after his death by bringing other regions and ethnic subnationalities into his coalition. This process of incorporation was facilitated by the boom in world coffee prices in the mid-1970s as money became available for new development projects outside Kikuyuland. The appearance, if not the reality, of power had to be devolved. Non-Kikuyu had to share some of the political power and secure some of the rewards of the statist economy in order to protect the long-term hegemonic position of the Kikuyu within Kenya’s political economy. Two of Kenyatta’s key advisers, Charles Njonjo and Mwai Kibaki encouraged these thoughts. Neither of them was a member of the Kiambaa- Gatundu axis, both were members of a second, more technocratic faction. Kibaki comes from Othaya in Nyeri and Njonjo from Kikuyu in southwest Kiambu. Along with Mbiyu Koinange, they were Kenyatta’s closest advisers, but while Koinange supervised the provincial administration and the shifting factions of Kikuyu politics, holding the paramilitary GSU in reserve whenever more heavy-handed tactics were required, Kibaki and Njonjo were technocrats. They operated the economy and ensured that the due processes of the law favored the regime as minister of finance and attorney general. Kibaki had been admitted to the inner circle because of his skills as an academic economist and because the Nyeri Kikuyu required one powerful representative in the cabinet. Intellectually; he was probably the most able man in the government, although inclined to periodic bouts of lassitude (Weekly Review, September 15, 1978, pp. 2-6; October 6, 1978, pp. 9-13: and October 13, 1978, pp. 10-17). In contrast, Njonjo’s attributes were more pedestrian, but over the years he had secured the reputation of being the defender of Kenya’s Asian and European communities, who were believed by Western governments and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be indispensable to the efficient operation of the economy. Njonjo became a symbol of Kenya’s political stability and commitment to capitalism, which attracted further foreign investment. Moreover, Njonjo had one additional major political asset, which despite his occasional disputes with the Kiambaa-Gatundu “family” faction made him indispensable to Kenyatta. He was the son of Josiah Njonjo, who since the early 1920s had controlled the segmentary lineage-based politics of southwestern Kiambu following the death of Kinyanjui wa Gatherimu. Kenyatta’s marriage alliances in the late 1940s had secured his ties with the Koinanges of Kiambaa and the Muhohos in Mukinyi, but Dagoretti Division had remained outside his control. Political patronage in this area of Kiambu even in the 1960s could be operated only in cooperation with Josiah Njonjo’s established network. As a result, Josiah’s son Charles was rewarded with the post of attorney general and a seat in the cabinet. Yet although Njonjo came from Kiambu, he was never a member of the “magic circle” around the “family,” who resented his influence with Kenyatta (Weekly Review, October 13, 1978, p. 7; April 18, 1980, p. 10; June 6, 1980, pp. 4-5; September 16, 1983, pp. 7-9; September 30, 1983, pp 5-7; Clough 1977, pp 17-18, 138, 142, 227, 238-241). THE MBOYA AND KARIUKI ASSASSINATIONS The Kiambaa-Gatundu faction made two serious political mistakes. Under attack in 1969 and 1975, first from outside Kikuyu subnationalism from Tom Mboya, and then from inside by Josiah Mwangi Kariuki, they had overreacted politically and there is at least partial evidence indicating that they were not entirely without some responsibility for the assassinations of Mboya and Kariuki. On both occasions the drastic solution had rebounded and provoked widespread opposition and had severely damaged the regime’s internal stability and its international Reputation. Alone among the cabinet, Kibaki had distanced himself from the Kiambaa-Gatundu bloc and had attended his friends’ funerals. Mboya had posed a challenge at two levels. His following in the trade unions and his childhood on a sisal estate on the borders of Machakos and Kiambu, which enabled him to converse colloquially in Gikuyu and Kikamba as well as in Swahili and Dholuo, meant that he was able to secure support from outside his own ethnically restricted subnationality. More than perhaps any other politician, Mboya had a Kenya-wide following. In his ethnically mixed Nairobi constituency, Kikuyu out-numbered Luo, but Mboya had demonstrated his ability to secure their support. His international reputation and his close relationship with the American labor organizations, dating from the 1950s, and his network of former “airlift” students, who had benefited from his patronage, meant that he could not be isolated like Odinga and Kaggia by allegations of socialist tendencies. Moreover, as minister of economic planning, Mboya had been instrumental in the preparation and publicizing of Kenya’s official statement of commitment to capitalism, the misleadingly named “Sessional Paper on African Socialism.” At the national level, therefore, Mboya appeared to threaten the position of the Kiambu elite, which was based on their successful manipulation of Kikuyu ethnic subnationalism, and more capable than anyone else of undermining it with an appeal to Kenyan national solidarity (Otiende 1969, P· 35; The Standard, October 14, 1969 and November 25, 1969; Goldsworthy 1982b, pp. 267-275. 284-285). In terms of Nairobi local politics, Mboya stood in the path of Charles Rubia, the city’s first African mayor, who had ambitions of securing a parliamentary seat. Rubia’s power base in the City Council was in Mboya’s Starehe constituency, and he recognized that although an appeal to Kikuyu subnationalism, or indeed the particularist interests of Murang’a migrant workers in Nairobi, might work in city council elections, it would not succeed against Mboya. Both the Kiambu hierarchy and Rubia’s Murang’a-Nairobi- based factions were eager to remove Mboya and either might have been sufficiently unscrupulous to have arranged his assassination (Goldsworthy 1982b, pp. 267-275, 284-285). J. M. Kariuki was a threat to the Kenyatta State because he was attempting to subvert Kikuyu subnationalism from within. Whereas Mboya or Odinga, as Luos, had been compelled by their ethnicity to work from the outside and secure support by their populist rhetoric or trade union past, Kariuki was a former Mau Mau detainee and could challenge the authority of the Kiambu elite by mobilizing a populist Kikuyu following of discontented former Mau Mau and by appealing to particularist rivalries among the Kikuyu. In a conflict within the Kikuyu community, Kariuki threatened to mobilize the rest against Kiambu by emphasizing the unequal distribution of state resources, and to destroy the stability of the regime from within Kenyatta’s political bailiwick. Kenyatta, of course, had attempted to ensure that Nyeri and Murang’a benefited from development and welfare schemes as much as Kiambu, and that the Kamba, with their important position in the senior officer corps and in the army’s ranks, and the Embu and Meru also prospered. Political power, however, and the distribution of economic rewards and development measures, was concentrated in the hands of loyal Kiambu Kikuyu. While Murang`a. Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Machakos, and Kitui had only one cabinet minister each under Kenyatta, Kiambu MPs occupied six key government ministries. Gichuru had been minister of finance from 1963 to 1969, and then served as minister of defense from1969 to 1979, replacing Mungai who became foreign minister from 1969 to 1974 before being succeeded by Munyua Waiyaki. Thus, with Koinange as minister of state and Njonjo as attorney general, five of the key posts in the government were held throughout Kenyatta’s presidency by Kiambu Kikuyu, and for the first half of his rule so was the ministry of finance until it was transferred to the politically reliable academic Kibaki in 1969. Kariuki was murdered because he was drawing attention to the hegemonic position of the Kiambu Kikuyu and to the privileged position of the Kikuyu capitalists. By mobilizing successfully these divisions within the Kikuyu, Kariuki threatened to destroy Kenyatta’s political base among the peasantry. Kariuki himself was as acquisitive as any other member of the Kikuyu elite, and had bought a large farm and considerable business interests, including a major shareholding in the Nairobi International Casino. He was an unlikely hero for the nation’s poor, a “WaBenzi” with a flamboyantly extravagant life-style. Kariuki, however, like Kenyatta was a powerful stump orator, especially in Kikuyu, and his simple message, attacking social inequalities, had considerable impact in Nyeri, Nyandarua, and the other forgotten parts of Kikuyuland. MOI’S SEARCH FOR KIKUYU LEGITIMATION In a much quieter way Moi was involved in a similar task during the 1970s. If he was to secure the presidency when Kenyatta died he needed to have the support of as many Kikuyu local factions as possible to block a candidate from the Kiambaa-Gatundu faction. Like J.M Kariuki, he had to base his strategy on emphasizing the divisions within the Kikuyu polity and dislodging Nyeri and Nyandarua, and if possible Murang’a and Nakuru, from the Kiambu-dominated alliance. In Murang’a he made little progress since his main supporter in the area, Kiano, was under attack from the representatives of Kikuyu capitalism and could not afford to become too losely identified with Moi and his chief Kikuyu “election agent,” Njonjo. The rival Matiba faction also chose to remain aloof from national political alliances. As successful capitalists they were in many respects natural supporters of the “Change the Constitution” faction, who were fighting to preserve Kikuyu hegemony and represented the interests of Kikuyu capitalism Matiba and his associates, however, were wary of becoming mere clients of their Kiambu rivals, who dominated the movement, especially when Kiano had not completely severed his ties with individual members of this group and committed himself wholeheartedly to the pro-Moi coalition. Both local factions in Murang’a, in fact, were attempting to keep open their political options and to avoid fore-closing the opportunity of using either national group to bolster their own local position. Neither leader wished to disrupt his own local constituency by supporting one of the rival national factions, since both Matiba and Kiano had associates on both sides of the national political struggle. Moi was much more successful in Nyeri and the Rift Valley. Kibaki’s role in dislodging Nyeri from the “Change the Constitution” group was vital, and earned him the vice-presidency, Once Kibaki retreated from Bahati, his Nairobi constituency to his home district in 1974, Moi began to court Nyeri support. He regularly attended harambee meetings in the district and held various private sessions with local politicians whom he encouraged to become less dependent on the Kiambaa-Gatundu faction. Kibaki’s support in 1978 was a crucial element in Moi’s accession to the presidency. A united Kikuyu opposition might well have been able to thwart his ambitions even at this late stage. Moi’s most difficult task was in Nakuru, where he has managed to reconcile the conflicting interests of his own Tugen people with those of disillusioned Kikuyu. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Moi’s strongest opponents came from this district. They had planned to dispatch him in the same way as Mboya and J. M. Kariuki. Today the new Kikuyu political leaders in Nakuru, Chotara and Kubai are among Moi’s staunchest supporters and play an essential role in the president’s efforts to legitimize his authority among the Kikuyu. MOI’S KALENJIN COALITION As noted, Moi’s emergence as the leading Kalenjin politician was achieved not merely at the expense of the Luhya and KADU, but also of the southern Tugen. The problem of reaching an agreement with the Kikuyu over north Nakuru and the demarcation of the frontier between their respective spheres of influence had required Moi, quite literally, to give ground along the Subukia-Eldama Ravine border. As a result, his hold over southern Baringo was weakened. In the late 1950s and early 1960s these southern locations had been an important element in his political following – especially once they had been rewarded by the acquisition of the Lembus Forest and Essageri farms–but as Moi’s national political ambitions developed the frontier, Tugen became increasingly concerned. They feared that Moi, who comes from central Baringo, might be willing to sacrifice their interests to ingratiate himself with Kenyatta and to promote his own ambitions. Popular support for Moi over the last 20 years had been weaker along this Tugen southern frontier than elsewhere in Baringo. The Elgeyo and the Marakwet have become more firmly incorporated into his coalition than the Tugen in south Baringo, who are wary of his leadership. In central and northern Baringo and in Elgeyo-Marakwet, Moi is firmly entrenched. His longevity as the dominant politician in the region since 1956 has enabled him to construct an effective political machine. Clan control among the Tugen, Elgeyo, and Marakwet is very weak and Moi has operated through a personal network of old school friends, business associates, and small-time entrepreneurs- -his peer group when he was a village schoolmaster in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Many of his local lieutenants are not directly involved in elective politics but they control a powerful patronage system. His friend “Sadala,” known as “the Mayor of Kabarnet,” for example, oversees patronage in south and central Baringo, while Cheboiwo, the member of Parliament (MP) for Baringo North, operates the system in the northern locations and is widely believed to be a “front man” for Moi’s business interests in the area and in the Mombasa Peugeot Service. For the last 30 years few measures have succeeded in Baringo without Moi’s support. Even as vice-president he dominated the district administration, and district commissioners hostile to Moi’s interests were quickly removed. He is widely respected throughout the district for the development schemes he has brought. The new road, new employment opportunities at Marigat, irrigation, and agricultural betterment programs have all enhanced support for Moi in his bailiwick. Political opponents have been excluded from the rewards stemming from his patronage and their support has withered away since it pays to be “a Nyayo man” (personal interviews). Eric Bomett, the brother of Moi’s estranged wife, in south Baringo during the late 1960s, and Zephaniah Kipkebut Chepkonga, in the north in the late 1970s, challenged Moi’s authority and have secured considerable support by promoting local issues. Moi’s popularity is weakest in the southern locations because of the macro-political compromises he has made with the Kikuyu over Nakuru, both in the Kenyatta era and in recent years when Kariuki Chotara, the Nakuru District KANU chairman, has provided an important element in the president’s attempts to secure political legitimation among the Kikuyu poor. His weak standing in south Baringo has been further undermined since 1980 by land adjudication, which has aroused intense local conflict. People have returned to the district as in Central Province during the 1950s to assert claims dating back 50 years. As this process moves gradually northward, Moi’s domestic power base is being disrupted and his lieutenants are being dragged into local land squabbles that discredit their patron. The president has no alternative but to ride it out and hope for a return to tranquility in a few years. Aware of these problems, early in 1986 Moi restored his relationship with Bomett and secured Chotara’s support for his election as member of Parliament for Nakuru North where the defeated Kikuyu candidates alleged that the district administration had intervened to secure the victory of the president’s brother-in-law. In contrast to central and southern Baringo, the northern part of the district is ethnically mixed as many Pokot have moved into the area. Opposition to Moi’s henchman, Cheboiwo, who is regarded as a political nonentity, since the late 1970s has centered around Zephaniah Chepkonga. Chepkonga encountered considerable obstruction from the administration and the police during the 1979 election campaign, disguising himself as a woman to evade police roadblocks so that he could present his nomination papers. The regime moved swiftly to overturn the 1979 result in an election petition to the High Court, and Chepkonga is widely believed to have been prevented by the authorities from presenting his nomination papers. Cheboiwo was elected unopposed at the by-election and Chepkonga was so frustrated that he did not attempt to contest the 1983 election when Cheboiwo won again on a very high poll. Given the comparative backwardness of the constituency and the turnout in the surrounding seats, one student of elections has suggested that there may have been widespread irregularities in the poll. Certainly, many local inhabitants doubt the legitimacy of Cheboiwo’s election, and Chepkonga is respected for having challenged the system. Yet despite these local tensions, Moi’s bailiwick will remain loyal and reconciled to his political associates while he remains president and can direct government patronage on an unprecedented scale to Baringo The weakest links in Moi’s Kalenjin coalition are probably the Nandi, among whom the erudite lawyer JM Seroney for many years established an independent bailiwick with his populist rhetoric. Since independence, many landless Nandi have migrated to Eldoret in the former European settled area of Uasin Gishu, where they have clashed with Nandi capitalists and Moi’s supporters from the smaller ethnic groups within the Kalenjin coalition. It is in Eldoret, therefore, that the strains within the president’s own constituency between various local elite factions and incipient class interests are most evident. Uasin Gishu District politics shows how weak Moi’s power base is and how easily it could disintegrate. Eldoret is one of Kenya’s fastest growing towns, expanding from 18,196 inhabitants in 1969 to an estimated 100,000 today. At independence, the two dominant African groups were the Luhya and the Kikuyu, both of whom had over 5,000 members in the town, followed by nearly 2,000 Luo and only 1,200 Kalenjin. Kikuyu and Asian businessmen dominated commercial life throughout the 1960s, but as Kikuyu control of Nakuru became more absolute, the Kalenjin began to focus their ambitions on Eldoret. Even the Tugen from Baringo, close to Nakuru, have switched their business interests in the 1970s to Eldoret and have acquired European and Asian enterprises and farms in Uasin Gishu. The town reflects in microcosm many of the changes that have occurred at the national level since Moi’s accession to power in 1978. The council has been polarized between Kalenjin and Kikuyu interests, and Kalenjin “big men,” fronted by Kipchoge Keino, the Olympic athlete, have invested heavily in farming land. Local politics is based on this conflict between Kalenjin and Kikuyu for control of the town council and the two parliamentary seats. In the 1960s the Kikuyu and the Luhya dominated politics in Eldoret· At independence, for example, there were no Kalenjin councillors, but during the 1970s the Kalenjin have asserted their primacy and have captured all the key positions. As they have become numerically dominant, however, their ethnic coalition has splintered into three factions, partly along sub-ethnic and partly on class lines. This explains the volatility of Eldoret politics and the sensitivity of the government to research in the area. There are three major Kalenjin factions–the Nandi poor and elite, and the other Kalenjin people. The Nandi poor are led by Chelegat Mutai (the MP for Eldoret North in 1974-76 and 1979-81) and her uncle, William Murape arap Saina, who represented the constituency from 1969 to 1974, and was reelected in 1983. Faced by a land crisis in Nandi, highlighted by violent clashes against Luhya encroachment around Kapsabet on the frontier between the two ethnic groups and Seroney’s district, the poor have moved into the shanty areas surrounding the town. Eldoret North, Mutai’s constituency, contains several peri-urban squatter settlements just outside the town boundary. These have grown dramatically over the last decade and are scheduled for demolition as land prices inside the town rise. These sites have become attractive for speculative development. Their inhabitants are an unpredictable but major element in local politics. In contrast, Eldoret South has been controlled by Nandi protocapitalists, who for many years supported Charles Murgor until his defeat in 1983. The third faction, which has become progressively more important and captured Eldoret
  • South at the last election, is a coalition of the smaller Kalenjin groups, particularly the Tugen, Elgeyo, and Marakwet. Their most important leader is the mayor, a Tugen, Joseph Lesiew, who has held office since 1974. Lesiew comes from a comparatively privileged background His family were among the first Roman Catholic converts in Baringo, and he received a mission school education. The mayor has good political contacts in Nairobi through his uncle who is a friend of Moi. Since moving to Eldoret in the early 1960s, Lesiew has prospered as a businessman and is part owner of a hotel, a shareholder in the leading Asian-run pharmacy in the town, and the owner of a wine store, a farm, and other property. His position as councillor, and since 1974 as mayor, have provided useful business contacts that have enabled him to entrench his economic and political positions. The Nandi, the largest Kalenjin subgroup in the town, have remained aloof from this pro-Moi camp, and in the 1970s looked to Seroney for leadership. Despite the fact that Nandi politics is riven by highly localized, subclan factions, as is evident from the competitive mobilization of the peasantry for harambee projects, arap Saina and Chelegat Mutai have constructed a resilient political alliance of Eldoret’s Nandi ”have-nots, ” which has won the last four general elections in Eldoret South despite harassment from Moi’s associates.

    The years since Moi came to power have been difficult for many African economies, following the second major increase in oil prices in 1979 and a continuing decline until recently in the value of their commodity exports, such as tea and coffee, which provide 40 percent of Kenya’s foreign exchange. Kenya’s economy, moreover, has not been sufficiently broadly based to escape the international depression. The Kenyan state, under pressure from the IMF, has had to retrench and since the attempted coup of August 1, 1982, has reassessed its policies toward the promotion of inefficient import substitution industries protected by high tariffs, the expense of peasant agriculture. Prices for peasant produce, the exchange rate, and import licensing policy have all been rethought as has the position of the parastatals, a major source of political patronage under Kenyatta. Since the 1982 report by Philip Ndegwa on government expenditure, stricter controls on government spending and domestic borrowing have increased gold and convertible currency reserves from a low of 1.7 billion shillings at the end of 1982 to over 4 billion, which provides a reasonable three-month import cover.

    Kenya, after certain delays, also met the requirements of the World Bank’s first and second structural adjustment loans negotiated in April 1983. The third expected loan, however, encountered delays because the World Bank was concerned about the collapse of the Kenya Farmer’s Association (KFA) and the undefined role of the Grain Growers’ Co-operative. In addition, Kenya failed to meet the free importation of essential items on “List 1A”. The 1984 drought had a serious destabilizing effect. Emergency imports were required until June 1985, and there was a serious shortage of seeds and fertilizers for the 1985 long rains, although the National Cereal Board and the task force headed by Professor Terry Ryan originally in the Treasury, and now under Robert Ouko in the revived Ministry of Economic Planning, distributed relief grain imports effectively, despite inefficiencies within the Ministry of Agriculture and the fact that the quantity to be distributed was 14 times greater than Kenya had ever needed before. Since coming to power, Moi has undermined the stability of his regime by attempting to destroy Kikuyu hegemony and to dismantle the economic foundations of the Kenyatta State under the disguise of the Nyayo philosophy. Government patronage has been diverted from Kiambu, and to a lesser extent Muranga, and directed toward Kalenjin districts, although Kibaki has effectively protected Nyeri. Kikuyu businessmen have been squeezed as state finance houses, such as Andrew Ngumba’s Rural and Urban Credit Finance Company, have collapsed when they have been unable to call on their associates in the government to bail them out. Kenya’s economic difficulties have justified these changes but they have increased popular discontent and have made Moi acutely conscious of Kikuyu opposition.

    During the Kenyatta era political repression fluctuated. There were three distinct phases of reaction: the era of the Shifta War against Somali irredentists in 1963-64, the detention of the KPU’s leadership following the murder of Tom Mboya and the events at Kisumu in October 1969, and the persecution of the Kariuki populists after March 1975. Mueller (1984, pp 399-400) has recorded how the provincial administration ,systematically obstructed the KPU and has argued that it was KANU’s “monopoly of key coercive sanctions and economic resources… inherited from the colonial period and consolidated afterwards, rather than the KPU’s ethnic base among the Luo, that really explains the party’s demise.” Although Mboya’s murder and the banning of the KPU provided the Kenyatta regime with its first serious crisis, apart from Odinga’s resignation in March 1966 which the Kiambaa-Gatundu faction and their ally, Mboya, had themselves provoked–it was the “Kariuki affair” that most disturbed the government since it endangered the stability of the faction’s own political bailiwick among the Kikuyu. The regime’s reaction was swift. Jean-Marie Seroney and Martin Shikuku disappeared into detention and criminal prosecutions were brought against Mark Mwithaga and Chelegat Mutai. Kenyatta’s regime never recovered its self-confidence and subsequent manifestations of left-wing or populist discontent were rapidly crushed. Thus, when George Anyona, who had provided a one-man opposition in the National Assembly, queried the renegotiation of a major railway project in 1977, incriminating Njonjo, he was detained, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o followed in December 1977, after the banning of his Kikuyu language production of “I Will Marry When I Want” at the Kamirithu village theater, which attacked land grabbing by the petite bourgeoisie of middle- and large-scale farmers and traders.

    Following his accession to the presidency, Moi attempted to end these divisions, releasing all Kenya’s detainees at the Uhuru Day celebrations on December 12, 1978. Even some of the former KPU leaders were rehabilitated and Odinga was appointed chairman first of the Cotton Lint and Seed Board and then of the more important Maize Board, while Achieng Oneko became chairman of the Kenya Film Corporation. Moi’s first error was made when KANU headquarters refused to clear Odinga and his KPU associates to contest the September 1979 general election. This sent students at the University of Nairobi on to the streets for the first time under the new government.
    The following year was bleak. Confronted with acute economic difficulties as expenditure on oil rose to 40 percent of imports while prices for Kenya’s tea and coffee exports declined, corruption within the Ministry of Agriculture and the Maize Marketing Board further diminished the regime’s legitimacy. Lines for posho appeared in Nairobi and before the long rains of March-May 1981, rumors of a coup became wide-spread. Moi’s refusal to dismiss Nyagah, the minister of agriculture responsible for the grain fiasco, demonstrated a reluctance to tackle corruption within the government and the civil service. Moi and Njonjo attempted to divert criticism by denouncing subversive elements, concentrating their attacks on the promoters of “foreign ideologies” in the university.

    Meanwhile, the Kikuyu were becoming alarmed as under cover of the economic decline and Nyayoism, Moi diverted resources away from Central Province to the Kalenjin. The demise of the Gikuyu-Embu- Meru Association (GEMA) in 1980 along with other “ethnic” associations, which were held to divide Kenyans, exemplified the new regime’s gradual undermining of the essential institutions of the Kenyatta State. The Kikuyu capitalists, however, were able to safeguard their interests in the reconstituted Agricultural and Industrial Holdings Ltd. Middle-ranking Kikuyu officials, civil servants, and parastatal managers, in contrast, found themselves overtaken by less-qualified Kalenjin or other members of Moi’s coalition. These processes have accelerated since the coup, presided over by Simeon Nyachae, who replaced Njonjo’ss associate, Jeremiah Kiereini, as chief secretary and head of the civil service.

    The composition of the new government after the September 1979 elections provided the first dramatic indication of Moi’s ambitions to institutionalize Kalenjin capitalism through political power and state patronage. Although only two Kalenjin were appointed to the cabinet, Henry Kosgey and Dr. Jonathan Ng’eno, six became assistant ministers: Wilberforce arap Kisiero,Francis Lotodo. Stanley Kiptoo Metto. Edward Cherutich Kiptanui Mulwa, Charles Murgor, and Isaac Salaat. Several also rewarded, such as Elijah Mwangale, whom the new regime has attempted to install as leader of the Luhya instead of the discredited Masinde Muliro, and Moses Mudavadi, Moi’s brother-in-law, who both became cabinet ministers, and Mark Mwithaga, now out of jail, who was incorporated as the most senior member of the anti-Ngwataniro Kikuyu from Nakuru District to have secured election.
    During the past six years a Kalenjin-dominated inner cabinet has developed, excluding Kibaki and the other Kikuyu ministers. It contains Isaac Salaat (Moi’s former bodyguard), now an assistant minister in the Office of the President, and Aaron Kandie, another Tugen, who has been appointed director of personnel. Other prominent Kalenjin ministers are Nicholas Biwott (Moi’s former political secretary), Henry Kosgey, Jonathan Ng’eno, Henry Cheboiwo (Moi’s henchman in northern Baringo and another Tugen), Edward Kiptanui, and Stanley Metto.

    Whereas the Kikuyu held 30 percent of cabinet posts throughout Kenyatta’s rule, they have now fallen to four full cabinet ministers–Kibaki, Matiba, Magugu, and Maina Wanjigi–that is, one for each of the three main Kikuyu Districts plus Nairobi, and eight junior positions. In the meantime, the number of Kalenjin ministers has nearly doubled from 9 to 17 percent. The president has also advanced Kalenjin interests through his control of parastatal appointments and by exerting pressure on private industry, particularly Asian and multinational interests. His former Kalenjin rival, the Kipsigis Taita Towett, for example, replaced Eliud Mathu as head of Kenya Airways; Vincent arap Too of the Grain Growers’ Co-operative supervises the remnants of the collapsed KFA; and Udi Gecaga, Kenyatta’s former son-in-law, was replaced as the chairman of Lonrho (Kenya) in 1979 by Mark arap Too. Gecaga has been too closely identified with the Gatundu-Kiambaa faction. Not only was he Kenyatta’s son-in-law but his uncle was Njoroge Mungai, the former foreign minister and Nairobi KANU chairman, who in 1977 had threatened to stand against Moi for the party’s national vice-presidency. During the “Change the Constitution” campaign, Gecaga had used The Standard, Kenya’s second largest but most prestigious English-language newspaper, to promote the movement. Following Moi’s accession, Rowlands was pressed by the new regime to remove Gecaga, first from his position as chairman of The Standard and also from the board of Print-pak, its printing subsidiary, which produces packages and labels, and once this was achieved in September 1979, from his position as chairman of Lonrho East Africa.

    Most of the literature on muItinational corporations emphasizes their power over Third World governments but the Gecaga affair demonstrated Lonrho’s sensitivity to local political forces. The relationship can be a two-way process when peripheral interests become too important a share of the multinational’ s total investment to be lost. In the year before Gecaga’s dismissal, Lonrho companies in East and Central Africa made a pretax profit of British Pounds 35,030,000 or 34 percent of the group’s total earnings. Although this region includes earnings from Zambia, Malawi, Uganda and Zaire, most of the profits come from Kenya, which earns more for Lonrho than any other part of Africa, or indeed the group’s interests in the United Kingdom, which accounted for only 23 percent of its profits. Lonrho in Kenya controls a large number of subsidiaries and would seem to exert a stranglehold over the economy. In fact, this conspicuous position has enabled Kenya’s “state capitalists” to treat Lonrho as if it was another parastatal and to use it as a source for their own additional accumulation. Its reputation as an international conglomerate and the important position of its Kenyan interests to the group’s profitability made it an easy target for political takeover, first by the Kiambaa-Gatundu “family,” and since 1979 by Moi and his Kalenjin business associates. Asian companies have also provided soft targets for the Kalenjin as they have sought to challenge Kikuyu economic hegemony.

    Recent interpretations of Kenyan politics that have explained Njonjo’s demise as a result of a struggle between international and indigenous capitalists have missed the point. Both factions in the struggle for local political and economic dominance have been willing to reach agreements with their multinational associates. Moi and his front man, Mark arap Too, have been involved in a struggle not to promote indigenous capitalist forces but to oust the Kikuyu from their special relationship with international capital. Gecaga and the Kiambaa-Gatundu faction had, therefore, to be ousted from control over Lonrho. Njonjo was an obstacle because he remained the leading intermediary between British and Asian interests and the Kenyan economy. Kibaki, who has emerged as the patron of Italian interests in Kenya, such as Fiat which is now assembling family cars, posed less of a threat to the incorporation of the Kalenjin elite. Kikuyu businessmen, who prospered from their privileged access to state resources during the Kenyatta era, feel threatened because Moi has used his political power in the same way as Kenyatta to direct economic opportunities to the small coterie of Kalenjin businessmen. Ben Kipkorir’s appointment as chairman of the Kenya Commercial Bank has demonstrated Moi’s intention to assist the Kalenjin petite bourgeoisie with easier access to loans. Development measures have also been directed to Baringo and Elgeyo-Marakwet, of which the most notable is the Kerio River project. This use of the government-controll ed “porkbarrel” is inconvenient to Central Province, particularly given the depression in the Kenyan economy, but it does not threaten the regime’s stability. Kikuyu commercial farmers and local traders have continued to prosper because of the economic foundations created in the area before 1978. Where the regime is in greatest danger is its attempt to oust the Kikuyu elite from their positions in the statist economy. The devaluation of the Kenya shilling between 1980 and 1981, and again by 15 percent in December 1982, the imposition of tighter import controls, and high interest rates have all hit Kenyan capitalists, most of whom are Asian or Kikuyu. Francis Macharia, the chairman of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Joe Wanjui, chairman of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, have both contended that the measures will increase rather than reduce Kenya’s indebtedness, making it more difficult for companies to meet their debt repayments while increasing the cost of new imported capital equipment.

    These capitalists are having to adapt to a state that is hostile to Kikuyu interests. Asian businessmen and the multinational corporations now appoint Kalenjin directors to act as intermediaries with the government. Kikuyu businessmen are being excluded from positions that provide inside information, easy access to loans, and new investment opportunities. Discontent is also rife among the Kikuyu old guard who provide the bureaucracy in KANU headquarters. They consider that the party for which they have worked since the early 1960s has been “captured” by their former rivals, KADU. Apart from Moi, Justus ole Tipis is the national treasurer and Robert Matano was, until July 1985, the national secretary. Both were prominent KADU figures. Following Matano’s defeat in the KANU elections, he was replaced by Ronald Ngala’s son, Noah Katana Ngala, as the senior politician from Coast Province.

    A minister of state in the Office of the President, ole Tipis performs for Moi the services that Mbiyu Koinange provided for Kenyatta, supervising the provincial administration, the GSU, and internal security. As national treasurer of KANU he also occupies one of the key posts within the party from which he can control the election clearance procedure and exclude opponents. This KADU revival has awakened Kikuyu fears that Moi is attempting to destroy the Kenyatta State and to replace it with a Kalenjin-centered polity.

    Following the attempted coup on August 1, 1982, Moi has consolidated his hold over the army and the reconstituted air force. Rumors had abounded of another coup, or possibly two, which were supposed to have been timed to take place the following weekend when Moi had left to attend the Organization of African Unity conference in Tripoli. These were supposed to have been organized by rival factions among the middle-ranking officer corps, many of whom were Kikuyu or Kamba who resented the rapid promotion of Kalenjin officers and the destruction of the Kenyatta State. The air force coup was perhaps a preemptive populist bid by the noncommissioned officers and the ranks, following the example of Master Sergeant Doe and Flight Lieutenant Rawlings in Liberia and Ghana. Certainly, the fulcrum of the atttempt was the Eastleigh Air Force Base, situated next door to Mathare Valley – Nairobi’s worst shantytown.

    Most of those subsequently court-martialed and imprisoned for their role in the events of August 1 were Kikuyu or Luo. These ethnic groups during the colonial era had benefited from widespread mission education. In contrast to the army, recruits to the air force were comparatively well educated, and many of them had been school friends of students at the university, who soon became entangled in the attempt to seize control of the Voice of Kenya Broadcasting Station, which is situated next to the university and student hostels. The government initially attempted to blame Odinga and the Luo for the coup. News of Moi’s overthrow had been warmly received in Nyanza Province and among Nairobi’s Luo population. Raila Odinga, the Jaramogi’s son, Otieno Mak’Onyango, and Professor Vincent Otieno were arrested and subsequently detained and implicated in the coup. Yet despite its efforts the government could not prove that Odinga had financed the attempt, although during the previous six months he had been holding secret meetings with Iraqi diplomats at his daughter’s house. Suspicion had fallen upon Odinga and the Luo because they had been in confrontation with the regime in the previous three months, following Odinga’s announcement to British MPs that he was planning to form, with George Anyona, a Kenyan Socialist Party. Legislation had been rushed through the National Assembly by Njonjo to turn Kenya from a de facto into a de jure one-party state. Odinga’s meetings with the Iraqis may well have been to discuss financial support for the new party rather than for a coup. The former KPU leader, however, was placed under house arrest that was only lifted in October 1983. Both Moi and Kenyatta have had an exaggerated sense of the threat he poses to the regime.

    In practice the group that lost most from the abortive coup was Njonjo’s supporters. Bell Gethi, the commissioner of police; Peter Mbuthia, his successor as commandant of the GSU; and Major-General P. N. Kariuki, the commander of the air force, were all dismissed and subsequently convicted of having failed to take immediate action to prevent the coup. They had hesitated for three hours before moving against the rebels at six o’clock on Sunday morning. Not until nine o’clock, after another three hours of preparation, did forces loyal to the government reach the Mombasa Road roundabout and begin to edge their way along Uhuru Highway into the city center. It seems likely that these senior officers were implicated in one of the Kikuyu coups and had been caught off guard, uncertain how to react to the air force’s preemptive bid. Only when Kariuki had made it clear that as air force commander he did not know what was going on did the GSU and the army act.

    Chief of Staff Mulinge, a Kamba, in contrast remained loyal to Moi throughout and was not implicated in the coup prepared for August 8. Support for Moi in the army remains weak despite the changes at the top since August 1982. In May 1985, for example, it was reported that 40 middle-ranking officers were detained. They had planned to assassinate Moi on Madaraka Day, June 1, as he reviewed the armed forces. The lower and middle ranks of the officer corps remain full of discontented Kikuyu and Kamba. Mulinge is extremely unpopular and is regarded as being too closely associated with Moi and to have amassed too much wealth. Many have speculated that following his retirement as chief of staff, Moi may appoint him minister of defense, a post that has been incorporated in the Office of the President since 1979, as a reward for his loyalty although this has not yet happened. In the recent reshuffle, pressure within the army against further Kalenjinization and warnings from the Special Branch have forced Moi to abandon his protégé, Lt Gen. John Sawe, the former army commander and deputy chief of the General Staff, whose promotion seemed to have been cleared by the removal of more senior Kikuyu officers such as Major General Joe Musomba, who was dispatched in 1985 to be ambassador to Pakistan. Under pressure from his advisers, Moi decided to promote Air Force Commander Lt• Gen. Mahmoud Mohammed-the brother of Moi’s minister of state in the Office of the president-to Mulinge’s position as military supremo This is an astute move since as a Somali, he lacks an independent political base and will be entirely dependent upon Moi’s support. Mohammed, moreover, will not be tempted to become involved with one of the Kikuyu, Kamba, or Luo factions in opposition to Moi or to stage a coup. Major General Lenges, has been selected to replace Sawe, a Samburu, for the same reasons (who has been appointed Kenya’s high commissioner to Canada) as army commander. In addition, the president has attempted to reduce Kikuyu criticism by the appointment of Major General Dedan Gichuru to Mohammed’s former post as air force chief. The Kikuyu and Kamba, however, still form the largest element in the officer corps. One-third of lieutenant colonels and colonels and one-quarter of the higher ranks of brigadiers and above are Kikuyu and the Kamba component is even larger, while the Kalenjin hold only one-fifth of the senior posts, the same proportion as the Luo in the middle ranks.

    The number of Kikuyu in the police and the GSU has also been drastically reduced since Kenyatta’s death. Both are now commanded by Meru– Bernard Njinu and Evaristus M’Mbijjiwe– and senior Kalenjin officers have been promoted. In consequence, Moi has had to be sensitive to Meru interests and has incorporated Jackson Angaine, “The King of Meru,” into his coalition, despite the fact that he was a prominent member of the Change the Constitution Movement, and has ditched Gilbert Mbijjiwe, who had become a political liability because of financial improprieties that were attracting much adverse publicity. Harrison Musau, a Kamba, remains Njiinu’s deputy in the police, but three of the eight provincial heads of Special Branch are now Kalenjin, as is the new head of the CID, Noah arap Too. The deputy commissioner of the GSU, Kosgey, is yet another recent Kalenjin appointment and a relative of the cabinet minister. In the army, police, and the GSU, and to a lesser degree in the air force, Moi has successfully destroyed the Kikuyu hegemony left by Kenyatta.

    Moi, like Kenyatta, has attempted to construct a coalition of Kenya’s ethic subnationalist leaders to legitimize his authority. In particular, he has sought support from Luhya in Western Province and in Nakuru District from the Kikuyu of the diaspora who were dissatisfied with Kenyatta’s performance. Elijah Mwangale, the foreign minister, and Peter Okondo, another survivor from the KADU era, now minister of commerce and industry, have been promoted as the main Luhya leaders to forestall the resurrection of Moi’s old rival–Masinde Muliro. An attempt was even made to incorporate Martin Shikuku as an assistant minister, although his strident denunciation of Kenya’s Asian community and multinational corporations undermined confidence in the regime and made Moi’s task of insinuating Kalenjin into their board rooms more difficult.

    Njonjo’s downfall was an essential ingredient in the construction of these new alliances. He had become an over-mighty subject. Moreover, during his 20 years as attorney general and minister of constitutional affairs in control of the police, judiciary, and the processes of political and company registration, he had made enemies, not least among the Kikuyu. The remnants of the Kiambaa-Gatundu faction led by the former GEMA chairman, Njenga Karume, and Ngengi Muigai, Kenyatta’s nephew; the Chotara-Kubai- Kanja ex-Mau Mau group and Kibaki’s political associates among the Kikuyu capitalists- -all had good reason to hate Njonjo. His position as the defender of Asian and British interests also hindered the Kalenjinization of the economy, and ever since the trial of his cousin–Andrew Muthemba–for treason in 1980, his loyalty had been suspect.

    Moi was pushed into the move by Shikuku, who held the former attorney general responsible for his detention in 1975; Elijah Mwangale, then minister for tourism; and the radical Bungoma MP, Daniel Sifuna, who was to emerge from the affair as KANU’s chief whip. They were supported by Justus ole Tipis from Narok, and John Keen from Kajiado North, who wished to settle scores with Njonjo and his Masai ally, Stanley ole Oloitipitip. Njonjo’s disgrace seemed to provide the president with an easy way to enhance his support and to balm the wounds created by the 1982 coup attempt.

    Since the Kariuki affair in 1975, and the Change the Constitution Movement in October 1976, Njonjo had enjoyed little support within his own Kikuyu community outside of his bailiwick in southwest Kiambu. It appears that Moi, Shikuku, and ole Tipis were convinced that he could be sacrificed to assuage the regime’s populist critics without threatening Moi’s already precarious relations with Kikuyu capitalists and Kenyatta’s former following. Indeed, the disgrace of their archenemy seemed designed to secure support even within Kikuyuland. This proved to be a serious miscalculation. Njonjo’s bailiwick in southwest Kiambu remained loyal. Three of the ex minister’s leading supporters– Peter Kinyanjui in Njonjo’s former seat at Kikuyu, Andrew Ngumba in Mathare Valley, and Clement Gachanja in his battle with Dr. Njoroge Mungai in Dagoretti–emerged victorious from the September 1983 elections. Arthur Magugu in Githunguri, Njonjo’s closest remaining defender in the cabinet, was also returned, having successfully mobilized the members of the Mbari ya Igi, which had been constructed by his grandfather in the 1890s, to defeat Joe Karanja’s challenge from the Kiambaa-Gatundu faction. Josiah Njonjo’s old patronage network of mbari alliances delivered support for his son even when he was being denounced by everyone else, including many Kikuyu, as a traitor.

    The long saga of the judicial commission of inquiry under Justice Cecil Miller, which sat from January until August 1984, was a miscalculation by the anti-Njonjo forces. Njonjo’s attackers were unable to find any major misdemeanors with which they could identify him, without discrediting Moi and his cabinet supporters. As the “trial” continued, support for Njonjo rallied among the Kikuyu. Moi’s position became extremely precarious as the group closed ranks, and the crisis was exacerbated by the complete failure of the long rains in 1984, which resulted in severe famine in certain pastoral districts and food shortages elsewhere. In August, when Njonjo threatened to take the stand and to disclose governmental corruption, the inquiry was hastily concluded within three days. It would appear as if a deal was negotiated, once Njonjo had called the bluff on his critics, whereby he would be allowed to retire and to receive a presidential pardon in return for keeping quiet and for not implicating Moi in his financial transactions. By then, however, considerable damage had been inflicted upon the regime. To restore his shattered influence the president had to seek new allies among the discontented Kikuyu factions. Following the 1983 elections, Matiba was appointed to the cabinet, along with Maina Wanjigi, thereby binding the Kibaki faction more firmly to Moi. This, however, could only be carried so far because their interests, like those of the Kiambaa-Gatundu faction, clashed with the president’s efforts to advance his Kalenjin business partners. He had to be more adventurous and redraw the system of factional alliances. Moi demonstrated his political creativity, or perhaps merely his desperation, with an attempt to divide the Kikuyu by co-opting the anti-Ngwataniro faction in Nakuru and their ex-Mau Mau allies in Central Province. This process had started as soon as Moi became president, although little progress was made until Njonjo was toppled by his Kalenjin and Luhya enemies in 1983, when the courtship began in earnest as Moi sought Kikuvu support. The president’s task is extremely difficult because Kenyatta effectively bound the most prominent leaders of the rival Kikuyu political and economic factions into his ethnic subnationalist coalition during the early 1960s and tightened their loyalty to his regime by judicious dispensation of patronage until 1978. Any faction that really mattered was incorporated into the Kiambaa- Gatundu alliance. Those who were left outside were marginalized and lost their popular support. Consequently, Moi has been able to entice only the weakest Kikuyu factions into his coalition, while the macro-political destruction of Kenyatta’s patronage network by the new government has severely damaged the legitimacy of his Kikuyu allies.

    These charges have produced significant shifts in local balances of power in several Kikuyu Districts–most notably in Nakuru. Dixon Kihika Kimani–one of the leaders of the Change the Constitution group and treasurer of GEMA and its various holding companies–fell from power in 1979. The Ngwataniro faction disintegrated when confronted with the new regime’s hostility and withdrawal of patronage. Kimani’s local rivals, Mwithaga, Kubai, and Kariuki Chotara, have been rehabilitated, although, Mwithaga, (like Shikuku) proved to be too populist to be accommodated and has been dropped. Since 1983, Chotara, now Nakuru KANU chairman and a nominated MP – and Kubai, who became an assistant minister in the Office of the President in July 1985, have enabled the president to court the Kikuyu masses (especially former Mau Mau) who had settled in the Rift Valley and to become less dependent upon Kibaki and Kenyatta’s associates as mediators. Chotara has even been able to secure the support of Waruru Kanja, which has enabled Moi to undermine Vice-President Kibaki’s position in Nyeri.

    Chotara, however, seems recently to have antagonized too many people with his draconian control over Nakuru, and despite desperate attempts to “twin” his KANU branch with those in the surrounding districts to promote joint harambee schemes, his political days may be numbered. His crude populism may have been too great a political embarrassment for Moi, although Fred Kubai might survive Chotara’s demise. Certainly, Kanja at the February 1986 Mau Mau gathering at Ruringu made strenuous attempts to disassociate himself from Chotara’s clique. This suggests that yet another major realignment may be taking place in Kikuyu politics, incorporating certain elements of Njonjo’s support, such as Kamotho (Njonjo’s Mau Mau) and perhaps Kanja’s former enemy, G. G Kariuki, but not Njonjo himself, in a new Kikuyu populist movement based on Central province and Laikipia rather than Nakuru and Naivasha. This would seem to have the president’s support but given the hostility that has emerged within the ex-Mau Mau camp to Chotara during the last six months, Kikuyu politics is in a state of flux and Moi may find it very difficult to disentangle his alliance with Chotara without destabilizing North Nakuru and Baringo.

    Faced by the fairly united opposition of Kikuyu capitalists and diminishing support for his henchmen, Chotara and Elijah Mwangale, Moi’s position is extremely insecure. Although the upswing in the economy –especially the rising price of coffee and tea–will buy the president a little time, Kenya is still faced in the next decade with acute economic difficulties. During the 1960s and early 1970s, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 6.6 percent per annum, but between 1979 and 1983, it increased at only 4 per cent, and in 1984 it was zero, while GDP per capita declined throughout this period. Kenya’s population growth rate of 4.1 percent annually means that over 300,000 school leavers, mainly at the primary level, enter the job market every year while only 20,000 new jobs are created. It is estimated that out of a labor pool of 7 million, only 1 million are in wage employment. Since nearly half of Kenya’s population, which numbers 20 million, are under the age of 15, the situation can only deteriorate as people leave the rural areas for the towns. In recent years Nairobi’s population has grown at 11 percent per annum. Moreover, the time bought by land consolidation and the opening of European farms in the Rift Valley to African settlement a generation ago has been exhausted. Planners have warned that Kenya’s economy must grow by at least 15 percent per year for the remainder of this century if disaster is to be averted. With a population predicted to reach 34 million by the year 2000, Kenya faces sufficient problems without Moi’s attempts to dismantle the Kenyatta State, which was so successful, to advance his own Kalenjin ethnic group and its supporters among the Kikuyu Diaspora and the Luhya.

    Time is running out. Since the Ruringu meeting, Moi, through Mwangale at the national level and Kanja in Nyeri has been attempting to discredit Kibaki, who has been a loyal and effective vice-president.

    Rumors of coups and assassination plots abound and it briefly appeared in April 1986 as if Moi would be tempted to replace Kibaki with Mwangale as vice-president- Mwangale, like the president himself, however, lacks the abilities required to operate a sophisticated state despite his effectiveness in the Byzantine intrigues of Kenyan politics. He enjoys little support in his own district, which had the highest number of people arrested for prematurely celebrating the 1982 coup attempt, and most Luhya continue to regard Masinde Muliro as their leader. During this phase when the ground appeared to be being prepared for Kibaki’s demotion or destruction, tension rose. This was a dangerous moment for Moi since the Kikuyu might have decided that it was essential to act to defend their economic hegemony before Kibaki’s demise, for once he ceases to be vice-president their only recourse will be a military coup.

    The spate of arrests of the Mwakenya Group in April and May 1986 for publishing “Mpatanishi” demonstrated Moi’s political paranoia and the widespread hostility to the regime among the Kikuyu, Luo, and Taita. In themselves, this group is a powerless clique of discontented intellectuals and former student leaders, many of whom had been on the fringes of earlier left-wing and populist movements. Like Ngugi wa Thiong’o and his associates in London, or Maina-wa-Kinyatti and David Mukaru-Ng’ang’ a and the Kikuyu radicals inside Kenya, they do not represent a threat to the regime. Their disorganized activities, however, provided the government with a useful excuse to clamp down and to demonstrate the power of the state. More people are now detained than at any period since the Somali Shifta campaign shortly after independence. This spate of detentions, moreover, provided a warning to discontented factions in the army and among Kikuyu businessmen as to what will happen to them if they plot against the regime. Nevertheless, it is the Kikuyu capitalists rather than the Kikuyu populists that the Moi government has most to fear.

    The weakness of the regime stems from the fact that Moi has been less successful than Kenyatta at using the state to promote the interests of his own ethnic following. Kenyatta had emerged from detention in 1961 to find Kikuyuland, particularly Kiambu, deeply divided after 30 years of class formation and increasing conflict. Yet despite four years of civil war between 1952 and 1956 and the social engineering campaign of the colonial administration to promote a conservative African yeomanry, he quickly asserted his control and created a relatively united Central Province coalition that incorporated Murang’a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, and Nyandarua as well as other interests into the Kiambu alliance.

    Tensions, of course, existed but Kenyatta’s political legitimacy enabled him to transcend district and class divisions within his Kikuyu ethnic constituency. In contrast, Moi has not been able to weld the Kalenjin into a coherent coalition. Unlike Kenyatta’s Kiambu Kikuyu, Moi’s Tugen are too insignificant- -both numerically and economically- -to enable the president to use them as the focal point of a Kalenjin-centered Kenya State. Even the larger and more sophisticated subgroups in the Kalenjin coalition – the Nandi and Kipsigis–are wary of becoming too closely identified with Moi. Their attitude to the new regime is schizophrenic. While they welcome the influx of development funds and new job opportunities that Moi has brought to the Kalenjin, they also resent the primacy of the Tugen and Baringo. Moreover, Nandi and Kericho Districts are densely populated areas and many people are suspicious of Moi’s Luhya allies. In addition, class consciousness is increasing, and the poor and landless are beginning to resent accumulation by Moi’s associates. This was, of course, equally true of the Kikuyu landless under Kenyatta, but Moi’s Kalenjin capitalists have been less able to secure support from the peasantry. In Central Province during the 1960s and 1970s ordinary Kikuyu benefited from secondary industrialization, cheap loans, and government marketting policies. Although Moi has disbanded the KFA and has attempted to destroy the Kikuyu control over the co-operative movement and to divert resources toward the Kalenjin and Luhya, the rewards have not yet filtered down to the rural population of the Rift Valley and Western provinces. The Kalenjin elite are therefore , much more isolated in their own communities than were Kikuyu capitalists once Kenyatta had resurrected his subnationalist constituency. The Rift Valley lacks the self-sustaining dynamic rural economy that developed in Central Province during the 1960s. In deed, such an economy is unlikely to develop in the agriculturally marginal Kalenjin heartland. As a result, even Moi’s control over the wider Kalenjin community is far from secure. Kenya’s recent political difficulties and the increasingly repressive measures taken against academics and dissidents, however, reflect the president’s insecurity and fear of the Kikuyu. They have been alienated by his endeavors to promote economic development in the Rift Valley and Western Kenya and are fighting to preserve their privileged economic status, which was Kenyatta’s legacy to Central Province, and to prevent Moi’s restructuring of the patronage network. Unless Moi abandons his efforts, this struggle will probably grow worse and bodes ill for the future stability of Kenya.

    The author would like to thank Jennifer Widner for many conversations on Kenyan politics and for her kind hospitality, and the Master and Fellows of Magdalene College. Cambridge, for providing an academic home

  • The White-Highlands: Massive Land Grabbing By Politicians in Post-Independence Kenya
    By: John Kamau

    Failure by the British government and World Bank to provide enough money to buy all the land in the Scheduled Areas, also known as White Highlands, kick-started a private treaty land buying spree that tilted the balance in favour of the political elite, senior civil servants and business people.

    Land Records and correspondence indicate that by December 1966, Mr Kenyatta bought more than 3895 acres in Nairobi and Ruiru at a total cost of Sh472,740.

    The land was registered in either Mr Kenyatta’s or his wife Mama Ngina’s names, or in his two eldest sons Peter Magana, and Peter Muigai.

    Hitherto unseen documents and records show that the Government also gave Mr Kenyatta some 178 acres in Nairobi and he got a further 509 acres leading the pack of big land ownership in the country.

    Land for free had been ruled out by the British government during the negotiations for independence and a constitutional clause that guaranteed whites their “right to property” and which brought to the fore the “sanctity of title deed”.

    That paved the way for the independence politicians, led by the Kenyatta family, to strike a fortune by “buying” land from fleeing white owners in Scheduled Areas.

    From available records, it appears that most of the political leaders, businessmen and land buying companies capitalised on the new government’s inability to buy all the land on offer.

    Actually, failure by British government to commit more money to buy land in the White Highlands is today regarded as the trigger to this free-for-all land-buying spree which left the penniless scrapping for tiny pieces of shambas. It also triggered land exchanges hitherto unseen in the history of this country.

    Land changed hands in quick succession as thousands of desperate white farmers with no other recourse than to sell their land opted to leave. Politicians with power and money as well as businessmen with liquid cash managed to acquire thousands of acres creating a new African elite.

    It is these transactions that have for years formed national discourse on whether the land, especially in the Rift Valley and other Scheduled Areas was rightly acquired or was a part of land grabbing. But details in government books show that indeed some of the land was bought from individuals.

    Still landless

    But what is questionable is why the government allowed individuals to own huge tracts of land when millions were still landless.

    For instance, hardly a year into Kenyatta’s regime, Mama Ngina bought 1,006 acres in Dandora from Messrs Hendrik Rensburg for Sh200,000. One government documents puts the figure at Sh2,000,000—an astronomical sum at the time. Whichever figure was right this farm lies within the modern day Dandora Estate in Nairobi and beyond.

    In the same area, Peter Muigai Kenyatta bought for Sh51,000 some 700 acres and a further 1266 acres North East of Nairobi for Sh87,000.

    The only farm registered in Jomo Kenyatta’s name in 1964 was a 5 acre farm he bought from a Mr J.R. Wood for Sh400! His two sons, Muigai and Magana also bought 165 acres in Ruiru for Sh9,900 – meaning they bought an acre for Sh60.

    Mr Kenyatta also paid Sh45,000 to acquire 100 acres in Dandora as a “Trustee for minor son Uhuru.”

    Also former President Daniel arap Moi had by 1964 bought a 2,344 acres in Kampi-ya-Moto for Sh60,000. That appears to be a modest acquisition when compared to the acquisition patterns of 1964 when large chunks of land were on offer.

    Mr Kenyatta’s right hand man, Minister of State Mbiyu Koinange, also bought 645 acres in Limuru for Sh497,000 while another Cabinet minister Ngala Mwendwa went for a 932 acre coffee farm in Kahawa worth Sh240,000.

    First Vice-President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga appears not to have bought land using his name but did so under the Luo Thrift and Trading Company. In 1964 he bought 394 acres from the estate of B.H. Patel in Miwani and a further 401 acres in 1965 from C. Patel for Sh255,000.

    But some of the largest land transactions involved organised land buying companies which freely bought land on offer. One of those farms is the Kiambaa Farm in Eldoret where arsonists torched a church during the post-election violence.

    Records now indicate that Kiambaa Farmers Co-operative bought the 500 acre farm from Giuseppe Morat in 1967 for Sh80,000. Another farm, that has always been synonymous with tribal clashes is the Kamwaura Farm in Molo which was bought in 1967 for Sh240,000. The 1,636 acre farm was the first to witness clashes in 1990 and was bought from Lionel Caldwell who was leaving the country.

    Other big companies that bought land in the area include Kipsitet Farmers Co-operative which bought 2,302 acres in Kericho for Sh300,000 from Margaritis Ltd.

    One of the largest sales by a co-operative society was in 1965 when Ngati Farmers Co-operative bought 16,000 acres for Sh1.6 million from Maiella Ltd in Naivasha. By 1969, it remained one of the largest farms ever bought by a society and besides Mama Ngina nobody else had paid such large sums for land.

    Another big landowner in Nairobi who emerged quite early is politician Gerishon Kirima who acquired more than 1000 acres in different parts of Nairobi becoming one of the single largest city land barons.

    In Western Kenya former minister Burudi Nabwera and Benna Lutta were some of the largest buyers of land. Mr Nabwera, then a diplomat in Washington bought 1,221 acre in Trans Nzoia for Sh240,000 from Ellen Jervis while Mr Benna Lutta, later a judge, bought 1,685 acres in Kwanza.

    Cabinet minister, Paul Ngei is recorded to have bought a 1,263 acre farm in Machakos from Kakuzi Fibreland Ltd. Another minister Dr Julius Gikonyo Kiano bought 176 acres in Kabete – which he later sold to University of Nairobi.

    Other MPs who bought big farms include Mr Willy Kamuren (1,433 acres in Molo), Mr JM Kariuki (880 acres in Ol Kalou), Mr Fred Kubai (684 acres in Njoro), Mr Harry Onamu (349 acres in Turi), and Mr Yego arap Kibomet (1,496 in Moiben).

    As that happened Britain kept a close check on the private land transaction and the High Commission in Nairobi would occasionally demand information.

    From records it appears that Kenya and British governments had established the Caren Working Party led by a professional valuer, Mr C.J. Caren, which established rules on how to buy land.

    While the Ministry of Lands and Settlement, through the Settlement Fund Trustee, was scouting for farms to buy it started to face competition from white settlers who were also buying land from each other to stabilise prices and for speculative purposes.

    This trend had been realised in 1966 by Lands and Settlement minister Jackson Angaine, who after getting a copy of the sales report and the names of buyers remarked to his PS: “I am rather surprised to see such a large list of the farms changing hands from one to another. May we discuss”.

    Whatever they discussed the transactions continued creating a new class of propertied families.

    In the heat of the moment, land buying became political and in the craze only those who had the right information prospered.

  • British displace the Africans, independence, they leave….Kenyatta is given Money to resettle the displaced Africans – Mostly Kikuyu, He instead resettles them in the North rift from burnt forest to molo -nakuru. Enmass immigration. Kenyatta picks moi to shield him in return for the presidency. Moi continues Kenyatta legacy for a good 20 plus years, poorly managing land and cutting off HUGE CHUNKS OF THE MAU FOR HIS TRIBE AND CRONIES…

    so who is to blame…Kenyatta, Moi, and Kibaki who was finance minister in both governments.

  • Kenyatta’s plot to settle Kikuyus in Tanzania
    Business Daily, Monday November 9, 2009

    JOHN KAMAU reveals a scheme by the founding president of the nation to send
    hundreds of landless Kikuyu to a settlement scheme in Tanzania to tackle land problem

    Jomo Kenyatta had planned a secret mission to settle excess Kikuyus in Tanzania, as one of the answers to the squatter problem in Kenya, we can now reveal. Information now available shows that an attempt to offload hundreds of Kikuyus into tsetse fly-infested Mpanda Settlement Scheme in Rukwa region of Tanzania failed after a number of listed
    families refused to go and those that had already gone returned. Mpanda was supposed to be part of the early solution to tackle the incessant land problem in the Rift Valley and temper competing interests.

    Documents indicate that the first meeting to deliberate the Mpanda Scheme proposal was held on June 26, 1963, some 25 days after Kenyatta was sworn in as Prime Minister. Although, the Business Daily has not traced the original agreement between the Kenya government and Tanzania (then Tanganyika), we have managed to obtain original secret letters written by a government official on the subject, now archived in a file titled Mpanda – land policy. It is not clear who floated the proposal although it is known that former Tanzania President Julius Nyerere’s government was in 1960s offering refugees from neighbouring countries free land and integrating them into local populations in his bid to build a formidable Ujamaa system.

    Today, Mpanda is a long forgotten experiment that is not talked about as it involved the transfer of an unknown number of families to another country in order to deny them claim to land in the white highlands. In a letter dated July 15, 1963 and addressed to all permanent secretaries, the PS Ministry of Home affairs, R E Wainright, says that “the project to send more Kikuyu families (to Mpanda) has been discussed with the prime minister who has indicated his warm support for the proposal. I would be grateful, therefore, if you could take charge of the project for this season and organise the sending of the largest number of families that you can within the finance available.”

    Kenya was to pay the Julius Nyerere’a government some 30 pounds for each family and
    had already set aside a budget of 6,000 pounds for the exercise.


    It is not clear how the landless families were to be selected although the National Archives has a complete file of all the targeted families, members of their households and correspondence relating to the departure to Mpanda, which later became a settlement village for Burundi refugees who now occupy Katumba and Mishamo areas of Mpanda. The families selected to go to Mpanda were to leave on September 14, 1963 and had been
    housed in a farm coded Nakuru Transit Farm in the Rift Valley. But the families felt they were being punished for allegedly being ex Mau Mau freedom fighters and began to protest. Documents show that they sent a delegation to the lands and settlement ministry PS N S Carey Jones questioning why they could not be accommodated on Kenya settlement schemes. Writing to the home affairs PS after that meeting, Mr Carey-Jones said he hoped that the squatters would not be compelled to go. “But I do not think that Mpanda Scheme will be a success if people are forced to go, and an opportunity of doing some good to the people will be lost if it gets a bad name. I would suggest that this needs action on the political front, and that your minister (Jackson Angaine) or a representative of the Kikuyu should visit Mpanda, and if satisfied, explain the position to the people and try to persuade them to go”.

    One of the problems that Carey-Jones noted was that Kikuyu felt they “were being penalised, not privileged, in being offered settlement at Mpanda and this is another point I think should be corrected on the political front.” In one of the protest letters sent to Angaine by the farmers they said that the District Commisioner “should be informed that he has no right to use Mpanda as dumping ground for undesirable people in this country. We should consider Mpanda issue after Uhuru and not before,” says the letter in part. They also wrote a separate letter to Kenyatta saying they “do not want to leave the country in exchange for any other.”

    By August 25, 1963, the Civil Secretary Rift Valley, J A Wolf admitted in a letter that it would not be easy to get Kikuyus to settle in Tanzania. By then only four families had volunteered to leave Uasin Gishu and none from Nakuru whereas the scheme had targeted at least 100 families before the onset of September rains. Government officials had suggested two methods to overcome the resistance: “If one of the senior ministers were to try to encourage Kikuyu to volunteer and if such encouragement were disseminated by the minister for information, at least some of the opposition might be overcome,” wrote Mr Wolf, who was coordinating the exercise. His other suggestion was that if overcoming opposition via propaganda failed, it will be hard to get the families depart for Tanzania “without exerting some form of pressure.” Mr Wolf had decided to get some desperate Kikuyu who had been dumped at Bahati Farm to be the first set of volunteers. “The conditions on which this farm was started were, as you know, purely temporary accommodation for displaced labourers and their families who had nowhere else to go….I have therefore instructed the regional Government agent, Nakuru to offer places at the Mpanda Scheme to all inmates of the transit farm and to go one step further by telling those who have been already six months on the transit farms that if they do not accept the offer of a plot in Mpanda they will have to leave the farm.”

    But when the order was made the squatters said they would not leave for Mpanda and would not leave the Bahati Farm. The plot also failed because there was a row between senior government officials on which ministry should coordinate the exercise and by September 11, 1963 Mr Wolf finally wrote a letter to the ministry of Home Affairs asking them to call of the resettlement of Kikuyus in Mpanda. “I might have been able to … had your minister agreed to my putting pressure on some of the inmates of the transit farm at Bahati to volunteer but as … he does not agree to my taking such course…will you please … inform the Tanganyika government that we are unable to take advantage of their offer of land.


  • Book Review: The man Kenya wanted to forget

    Written by Martyn Drakard
    Wednesday, 02 February 2011 20:22
    Book: Tom Mboya, the Man Kenya Wanted to Forget
    Author: David Goldsworthy

    Tom Mboya’s untimely death has provoked plenty of questions ever since. Who was the “Big Man” his assassin, Nahashon Njoroge, referred to when he was arrested?

    Was Tom killed because the “ruling clique” of the time feared he was too great a threat in the Kenyatta succession game? What happened to the two vital documents stolen that mysteriously disappeared from his office: his will, and the manuscript of an almost completed book, portions of which had been shown to Mboya’s intimates in the months before he died?

    Was Mboya more highly favoured in Western circles than his colleagues because of his talent, his stature as politician, administrator, mediator, and speaker, his lucid, rational mind and his honesty?
    Again, what kind of president would he have made? Would Kenya’s history have been different had he resided in State House for a few years? And, most notably, why has the “Big Man” never been found or named?

    Why do political assassinations in Kenya from Pio Gama Pinto, through Mboya, J M Kariuki, Robert Ouko, and other high-profile deaths in suspicious circumstances (Ronald Ngala, Clement Argwings-Kodek, Bishop Alexander Muge, Fr John Kaiser), always leave no-one the wiser after the official inquiries are over?
    David Goldsworthy’s scholarly study is a fascinating account of Kenya’s colonial and post-independence history, with Tomboya, as people knew him, at the centre. By any standards, Mboya was an exceptional man, highly-gifted, a giant among dwarves, a truly national leader.

    One could say he was “born” to politics, the art of the possible, equally at ease in Nairobi’s Eastlands (Bahati and Kaloleni particularly) with the suffering poor and the tough, hard-skinned trade-unionists as with the diplomatic niceties of Lancaster House, sharing a conference table with some of the world’s power-brokers.
    There’s much else that can be said in his praise: he was instrumental in the student airlifts to the United States, in working for Kenyatta’s release, in being a voice of reason and calm during potentially volatile moments of the country’s history.

    Often accused of being a Black European, he was anything but. His perceived Westernism had the purpose of achieving the wisdom and skills of the West, and selectively applying them in the local context, intermingled with the best of Africa’s traditions.

    This perhaps came out best in his Sessional Paper No. 10, on African Socialism. The term Socialism, during the Cold War years, conjured up images of gulags, collectivism and Stalinist purges, and Mboya’s vision was misinterpreted.

    For him, it meant, and was acknowledged as inspired by Julius Nyerere, the Africans’ deep-rooted communalism and egalitarianism, mutual social responsibility, political democracy, universal charity, and the shared ownership of land. In short, production by everyone with security for all, as developed in his book Freedom and After.

    Yet there was a touch of irony: Mboya himself, as an individualist moulded in Western style, would not have quite fitted into this vision, unless as a leader, somewhat like Plato’s philosopher-king.


  • Need to print this article

    KSB: Do it.

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