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Jomo Kenyatta

Jomo Kenyatta

Overview
Jomo Kenyatta[pron.] served as the first Prime Minister (1963–1964) and President (1964–1978) of Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

. He is considered the founding father
Father of the Nation
Father of the Nation is an honorific title given to a man considered the driving force behind the establishment of their country, state or nation...

 of the Kenyan nation.

In Kenya, Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
-Charter airlines:-Cargo airlines:-Other facilities:The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has its head office in the KAA Complex on the airport property. African Express Airways has its head office on the airport property...

, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi's main street and main streets in many Kenyan cities and towns, numerous schools, two Universities (Kenyatta University
Kenyatta University
Kenyatta University, located in Nairobi, Kenya is the second largest public university in the country . The University is located in Kahawa, about from Nairobi's city centre, along the Nairobi-Thika road.- History :...

 and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology is a public university near Nairobi, Kenya. It is situated in Juja, 36 kilometres North East of Nairobi, along Nairobi-Thika Highway. It offers courses in Engineering, Science, Architecture and Building sciences...

), the country's main referral hospital, markets, and housing estates are named after him.
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Quotations

"The European condemns the Africans for having two wives yet he keeps two mistresses"

Encyclopedia
Jomo Kenyatta[pron.] served as the first Prime Minister (1963–1964) and President (1964–1978) of Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

. He is considered the founding father
Father of the Nation
Father of the Nation is an honorific title given to a man considered the driving force behind the establishment of their country, state or nation...

 of the Kenyan nation.

In Kenya, Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
-Charter airlines:-Cargo airlines:-Other facilities:The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has its head office in the KAA Complex on the airport property. African Express Airways has its head office on the airport property...

, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi's main street and main streets in many Kenyan cities and towns, numerous schools, two Universities (Kenyatta University
Kenyatta University
Kenyatta University, located in Nairobi, Kenya is the second largest public university in the country . The University is located in Kahawa, about from Nairobi's city centre, along the Nairobi-Thika road.- History :...

 and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology is a public university near Nairobi, Kenya. It is situated in Juja, 36 kilometres North East of Nairobi, along Nairobi-Thika Highway. It offers courses in Engineering, Science, Architecture and Building sciences...

), the country's main referral hospital, markets, and housing estates are named after him. A statue in downtown Nairobi and monuments all over Kenya stand in his honour. Kenya observed a public holiday every 20 October in his honour until the new 2010 constitution abolished Kenyatta Day and replaced it with Mashujaa (Heroes') day. Kenyatta's face adorns Kenyan currency
Kenyan shilling
The shilling is the currency of Kenya. It is divisible into 100 cents.-Coins:The first coins were issued in 1966 in denominations of 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 shillings. Twenty-five cents coins were not minted after 1969; 2 shillings coins were last minted in 1971...

 notes and coins of all denominations, but this is expected to change as the new constitution bans the use of the portrait of any person on Kenya's currency.

Early life


Jomo Kenyatta was born Kamau wa Ngengi to parents Ngengi wa Muigai and Wambui in the village of Gatundu
Gatundu
Gatundu is a small town in the Central Province of Kenya. Gatundu is also center of the Gatundu division in Thika District. Gatundu is located 15 kilometres west of Thika and 15 kilometres north of Kiambu. Gatundu and its environs has two constituencies: Gatundu North and Gatundu South.Gatundu...

, in British East Africa (now Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

), a member of the Kikuyu. His date of birth, sometime in the early to mid 1890s, is unclear, and was unclear even to him, as his parents were almost certainly not literate, and no formal birth records of native Africans were kept in Kenya at that time.

His father died while Kamau was very young after which, as per custom, he was adopted by his uncle Ngengi, who also inherited his mother, to become Kamau wa Ngengi. When his mother died during childbirth, young Kamau moved from Ng'enda to Muthiga to live with his medicine man
Medicine man
"Medicine man" or "Medicine woman" are English terms used to describe traditional healers and spiritual leaders among Native American and other indigenous or aboriginal peoples...

 grandfather Kũngũ wa Magana, to whom he became very close.

He then left home to become a resident pupil at the Church of Scotland Mission (CSM) at Thogoto, close to Kikuyu Town
Kikuyu, Kenya
Kikuyu is a town in the Central Province of Kenya. The town is located 20 km northwest of central Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Kikuyu hosts a town council and an administrative division in the Kiambu District....

, about 12 miles north-west of Nairobi. He studied amongst other subjects: the Bible, English, mathematics, and carpentry. He paid the school fees by working as a houseboy and cook for a white settler living nearby.

In 1912, having completed his mission school education, he became an apprentice carpenter. The following year he underwent initiation ceremonies, including circumcision, to become a member of the kihiu-mwiri age group.
In 1914, he converted to Christianity, assuming the name John Peter, which he then changed to Johnstone Kamau. He left the mission later that year to seek employment.

He first worked as an apprentice carpenter on a sisal farm in Thika
Thika
Thika is an industrial town in Central Province, Kenya, lying on the A2 road 40 km north east of Nairobi, near the confluence of Thika River & Chania River. Thika has a population of 200,000and is growing rapidly, as is the entire greater Nairobi area...

, under the tutelage of John Cook, who had been in charge of the building program at Thogoto. During the First World War, Kikuyu were forced into work by the British authorities. To avoid this, he lived with Maasai relatives in Narok
Narok
Narok is an town west of Nairobi that supports Kenya's economy in south-west Kenya, along the Great Rift Valley. Narok is the district capital of the Narok County and stands as the major centre of commerce in the district. Narok has a population of around 40,000 people, mostly Maasai...

, where he worked as a clerk for an Asian contractor.

In 1919 he married Grace Wahu
Grace Wahu
Grace Wahu was the first wife of Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of Kenya. Records indicate that Wahu married Kenyatta, then known as Johnstone Kamau, around 1918 or 1919. She had two children with Jomo Kenyatta: Peter Muigai Kenyatta and Margaret Wambui . Grace Wahu died in April 2007 at the...

, under Kikuyu customs. When Grace got pregnant, his church elders ordered him to get married before a European magistrate, and undertake the appropriate church rites. On 20 November 1920 Kamau's first son Peter Muigai, was born. Kamau served as an interpreter in the Nairobi High Court, and ran a store out of his Dagoretti
Dagoretti
Dagoretti refers to an area in western Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Administratively it is one of eight divisions of Nairobi. The Dagoretti division is divided into six Locations...

 home during this period. He eventually married Grace Wahu in a civil ceremony in 1922. Grace Wahu lived in the Dagoretti home until her death in April 2007 at the age of around 100.

In 1922 Kamau began working, as a store clerk and water-meter reader for the Nairobi Municipal Council Public Works Department, once again under John Cook who was the Water Superintendent. Meter reading helped him meet many Kenyan-Asians at their homes who would become important allies later on.

He entered politics after taking interest in the political activities of James Beauttah
James Beauttah
James Beauttah led the Kikuyu Central Association, Kenya's first all-African political organization together with Joseph Kang'ethe. They were later joined by Jomo Kenyatta in 1924 as they lay the foundation that would be the beginning of his road to presidency....

 and Joseph Kang'ethe the leaders of the KCA (Kikuyu Central Association
Kikuyu Central Association
The Kikuyu Central Association , led by James Beauttah and Joseph Kang'ethe, was a political organisation in colonial Kenya formed in 1924/5 to act on behalf of the Kĩkũyũ community by presenting their concerns to the British government. One of its greatest grievances was the expropriation of the...

). He joined KCA in 1924 and rose up the ranks of the association. Eventually he began to edit the movement's Kikuyu newspaper. By 1928 he had become the KCA's general secretary.

In 1928 he launched a monthly Kikuyu-language newspaper called Mwĩgwithania (Reconciler) which aimed to unite all sections of the Kikuyu. The paper, supported by an Asian-owned printing press, had a mild and unassuming tone, and was tolerated by the colonial government. He also made a presentation on Kikuyu land problems before the Hilton Young Commission in Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

 in the same year.

Overseas



In 1929 the KCA sent Kenyatta to London to lobby on its behalf with regards to Kikuyu tribal land affairs. He wrote articles to British newspapers about the matter.

He returned to Kenya on 24 September 1930 and was welcomed at Mombasa by his wife Wahu and James Beauttah
James Beauttah
James Beauttah led the Kikuyu Central Association, Kenya's first all-African political organization together with Joseph Kang'ethe. They were later joined by Jomo Kenyatta in 1924 as they lay the foundation that would be the beginning of his road to presidency....

. He then took part, on the side of traditionalists, in the debate on the issue of female genital mutilation of girls. He later worked for Kikuyu Independent Schools in Githunguri.

He returned to London in 1931 and enrolled in Woodbrooke Quaker College
Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre
Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre is a Quaker college based in the Selly Oak area of Birmingham, England.The only Quaker Study Centre in Europe, it was founded by George Cadbury in 1903 and occupies his former home on the Bristol Road. Woodbrooke's first Director of Studies was the biblical scholar J...

 in Birmingham.

In 1932 to 1933, he briefly studied economics in Moscow at the Comintern School, KUTVU (University of the Toilers of the East) before his sponsor, the Trinidad
Trinidad
Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. With an area of it is also the fifth largest in...

ian communist George Padmore
George Padmore
George Padmore , born Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse, was a Trinidadian communist who became a leading Pan-Africanist in his later years.-Early years:...

, fell out with his Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 hosts, forcing Kenyatta to move back to London.

In 1934, Kenyatta enrolled at University College London
University College London
University College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and the oldest and largest constituent college of the federal University of London...

 and from 1935 studied social anthropology
Social anthropology
Social Anthropology is one of the four or five branches of anthropology that studies how contemporary human beings behave in social groups. Practitioners of social anthropology investigate, often through long-term, intensive field studies , the social organization of a particular person: customs,...

 under Bronisław Malinowski at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

 (LSE). He published his revised LSE thesis as Facing Mount Kenya
Facing Mount Kenya
Facing Mount Kenya, first published in 1938, is an anthropological study of the people of the Kikuyu ethnicity of central Kenya. It was written by native Kikuyu and future Kenyan president Jomo Kenyatta....

in 1938 under his new name, Jomo Kenyatta. The name "Jomo" is translated in English to "Burning Spear", while the name "Kenyatta" was said to be a reference to the beaded Masai belt he wore, and later to "the Light of Kenya".

During this period, he was also an active member of a group of African, Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 and American intellectuals who included C.L.R. James, Eric Williams
Eric Williams
Eric Eustace Williams served as the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. He served from 1956 until his death in 1981. He was also a noted Caribbean historian, and is widely regarded as "The Father of The Nation."...

, W.A. Wallace Johnson, Paul Robeson
Paul Robeson
Paul Leroy Robeson was an American concert singer , recording artist, actor, athlete, scholar who was an advocate for the Civil Rights Movement in the first half of the twentieth century...

, and Ralph Bunche
Ralph Bunche
Ralph Johnson Bunche or 1904December 9, 1971) was an American political scientist and diplomat who received the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his late 1940s mediation in Palestine. He was the first person of color to be so honored in the history of the Prize...

. During his presidency, a number of streets in Nairobi were named after those early black-emancipation intellectuals.

Kenyatta acted as an extra in the film Sanders of the River
Sanders of the River
Sanders of the River is a 1935 film directed by Zoltán Korda, based on the stories of Edgar Wallace. It was later spoofed in the 1938 Will Hay film Old Bones of the River, which also featured the characters of Commissioner Sanders, Captain Hamilton and Bosambo seen in this film, but played by...

(1934), directed by Alexander Korda
Alexander Korda
Sir Alexander Korda was a Hungarian-born British producer and film director. He was a leading figure in the British film industry, the founder of London Films and the owner of British Lion Films, a film distributing company.-Life and career:The elder brother of filmmakers Zoltán Korda and Vincent...

 and starring Paul Robeson
Paul Robeson
Paul Leroy Robeson was an American concert singer , recording artist, actor, athlete, scholar who was an advocate for the Civil Rights Movement in the first half of the twentieth century...

.

During World War II, he worked as a labourer at an English farm in Sussex
Sussex
Sussex , from the Old English Sūþsēaxe , is an historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. It is bounded on the north by Surrey, east by Kent, south by the English Channel, and west by Hampshire, and is divided for local government into West...

, and lectured on Africa for the Workers' Educational Association
Workers' Educational Association
The Workers’ Educational Association seeks to provide access to education and lifelong learning for adults from all backgrounds, and in particular those who have previously missed out on education. The International Federation of Workers Education Associations has consultative status to UNESCO...

.

In 1942, he married an Englishwoman, Edna Clarke. He also published My People of Kikuyu and The Life of Chief Wang'ombe, a history shading into legend. Edna gave birth to their son, Peter Magana, in 1943.

In 1945, with other prominent African nationalist figures, such as Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah was the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1952 to 1966. Overseeing the nation's independence from British colonial rule in 1957, Nkrumah was the first President of Ghana and the first Prime Minister of Ghana...

 of Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

, Kenyatta helped organise the fifth Pan-African Congress
Pan-African Congress
The Pan-African Congress was a series of five meetings in 1919, 1921, 1923, 1927, and 1945 that were intended to address the issues facing Africa due to European colonization of much of the continent....

 held in Britain.

He left Edna Clarke behind in Britain when he returned to Kenya in 1946.

Return to Kenya


Kenyatta returned to Kenya in 1946, after almost 15 years abroad.

He married for the third time, to Grace Wanjiku, Senior Chief Koinange
Mbiyu Koinange
Peter Mbiyu Koinange was a politician from KenyaHis father Koinange Wa Mbiyu was a Kikuyu chief. Mbiyu Koinange moved to the United States in 1927 for studying...

's daughter, and sister to Mbiyu Koinange
Mbiyu Koinange
Peter Mbiyu Koinange was a politician from KenyaHis father Koinange Wa Mbiyu was a Kikuyu chief. Mbiyu Koinange moved to the United States in 1927 for studying...

, who later became a lifelong confidant and was one of the most powerful politicians during Kenyatta's presidency.

Kenyatta then went into teaching, becoming principal of Kenya Teachers College Githunguri.

In 1947, he was elected president of the Kenya African Union
Kenya African Union
Kenya African Union was a political organization formed in 1944to articulate Kenyan grievances against the British colonial administration of the time...

 (KAU). He began to receive death threats from white settlers after his election.

From 1948 to 1951 he toured and lectured around the country condemning idleness, robbery, urging hard work while campaigning for the return of land given to White settlers and for independence within three years.

His wife, Grace Wanjiku, died in childbirth in 1950 as she gave birth to daughter Jane Wambui, who survived.

In 1951 Kenyatta married Ngina Muhoho, daughter of Chief Muhoho. She was popularly referred to as Mama Ngina
Ngina Kenyatta
Ngina Kenyatta , popularly known as "Mama Ngina", is the widow of Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta . She is described by Godfrey Gitahi Kariuki as a kind and welcoming lady....

 and was independent Kenya's First Lady
First Lady
First Lady or First Gentlemanis the unofficial title used in some countries for the spouse of an elected head of state.It is not normally used to refer to the spouse or partner of a prime minister; the husband or wife of the British Prime Minister is usually informally referred to as prime...

, when Kenyatta was elected President.

The Mau Mau Rebellion began in 1951 and KAU was banned, and a state of emergency was declared in on 20 October 1952.

Trial and imprisonment


Kenyatta was arrested in October 1952 and indicted with five others on the charges of "managing and being a member" of the Mau Mau Society. The Mau Mau Society was a radical anti-colonial movement engaged in the Mau Mau Rebellion
Mau Mau Uprising
The Mau Mau Uprising was a military conflict that took place in Kenya between 1952 and 1960...

. The accused were known as the "Kapenguria Six
Kapenguria Six
The Kapenguria Six - Bildad Kaggia, Kung'u Karumba, Jomo Kenyatta, Fred Kubai, Paul Ngei, and Achieng' Oneko - were six leading Kenyan nationalists who were arrested in 1952, tried at Kapenguria in 1952-3, and imprisoned thereafter in Northern Kenya....

".

The trial lasted five months: Rawson Macharia
Rawson Macharia
Rawson Mbugua Macharia was the key prosecution witness at the trial of the Kapenguria Six, Kenyan nationalists amongst whom Jomo Kenyatta was prominent...

, the main prosecution witness, turned out to have perjured himself; the judge — who had only recently been awarded an unusually large pension, and who maintained secret contact with the then colonial Governor of Kenya Evelyn Baring
Evelyn Baring, 1st Baron Howick of Glendale
Evelyn Baring, 1st Baron Howick of Glendale, KG, GCMG, KCVO was Governor of Southern Rhodesia from 1942 to 1944 and Governor of Kenya from 1952 to 1959....

 during the trial — was openly hostile to the defendants' cause.

The defense, led by British Lawyer Dennis Pritt, argued that the white settlers were trying to scapegoat Kenyatta and that there was no evidence tying him to the Mau Mau. The court sentenced Kenyatta on 8 April 1953 to seven years imprisonment with hard labor
Hard Labor
Hard Labor is the eleventh album by American rock band Three Dog Night, released in 1974 .- Cover Artwork :The original album cover, depicting of the birth of a record album , was deemed too controversial and was soon reworked with a huge bandage covering the "birth". The cover also includes an...

 and indefinite restriction thereafter. The subsequent appeal was refused by the British Privy Council in 1954.

Kenyatta remained in prison until 1959, after which he was detained in Lodwar
Lodwar
Lodwar is the largest town in northwestern Kenya, located west of Lake Turkana on the A1 road. Its main industries are basket weaving and tourism. The Loima Hills lie to its west. Lodwar is the capital of Turkana District...

, a remote part of Kenya.

The state of emergency was lifted on 12 January 1960.(Anderson, pg 393)

On 28 Feb 1960, a public meeting of 25,000 in Nairobi demanded his release. On 15 April 1960, over a million signatures for a plea to release him were presented to the Governor. On 14 May 1960, he was elected Kanu President in absentia. On 23 Mar 1961, Kenyan leaders, including Daniel arap Moi, later his long time Vice President and successor as president, visited him at Lodwar. On 11 Apr 1961, he was moved to Maralal with daughter Margaret where he met world press for the first time in eight years. On 14 Aug 1961, he was released and brought to Gatundu to a hero's welcome.

While contemporary opinion linked Kenyatta with the Mau Mau, historians have questioned his alleged leadership of the radical movement. Kenyatta was in truth a political moderate. His marriage of Colonial Chief's daughters, his post independence Kikuyu allies mainly being former colonial collaborators, and his short shrift treatment of former Mau Mau fighters after he came to power, all strongly suggest he had scant regard for the Mau Mau.

Leadership



Pre-independence


Kenyatta was admitted into the Legislative Council after his release in 1961, after Kariuki Njiiri (son of late Chief Njiiri) gave up his Kigumo seat for him.

In 1961 and 1962, he led the KANU delegation to first and second Lancaster Conference in London where Kenya's independence constitution was negotiated.

Elections were then held in May 1963, pitting Kenyatta's KANU (Kenya African National Union- which advocated for Kenya to be a unitary state
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

) against KADU (Kenya African Democratic Union- which advocated for Kenya to be an ethnic-federal state
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

). KANU beat KADU by winning 83 seats out of 124. On 1 June 1963, Kenyatta became prime minister of the autonomous Kenyan government, with Queen Elizabeth II remaining as Head of State (after Independence, styled as Queen of Kenya), represented by a Governor-General. He consistently asked white settlers not to leave Kenya and supported reconciliation.

Post-independence


Kenyatta retained the role of prime minister after independence was declared and jubilantly celebrated on 12 December 1963.

On 1 June 1964, Kenyatta became President when he successfully had Parliament amend the Constitution to make Kenya a republic with his office becoming executive President: the head of State, head of Government, and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

His policy was that of continuity and gradual Africanization of the government, keeping many colonial civil servants in their old jobs as they were gradually replaced by Kenyans. He asked for British troops' help against Somali
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 rebels, Shiftas, in the northeast and in ending an army mutiny in Nairobi in January 1964.

On 10 November 1964, KADU officially dissolved and its representatives joined KANU, forming a single party.

Kenyatta was re-elected un-opposed in 1966, and the next year had the Constitution amended to expand his powers. This term featured border conflicts with Somalia
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

, and more political opposition. He made the Kikuyu-led KANU practically the only political party of Kenya. He consolidated his power greatly, and placed several of his Kikuyu tribesmen in most of the powerful state and security offices and posts. State security forces harassed dissidents and were suspected of complicity in several murders of prominent personalities deemed as threats to his regime, including Pio Gama Pinto
Pio Gama Pinto
Pio Gama Pinto was a Kenyan journalist and politician.-Early years:At age eight, he was sent to India for his education and spent the next nine years there. He studied the arts for two years before joining the Indian Air Force in 1944 for a short time...

, Tom Mboya
Tom Mboya
Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya was a prominent Kenyan politician during Jomo Kenyatta's government. He was founder of the Nairobi People's Congress Party, a key figure in the formation of the Kenya African National Union , and the Minister of Economic Planning and Development at the time of his death...

 and J.M. Kariuki
Josiah Mwangi Kariuki
Josiah Mwangi Kariuki was a Kenyan socialist politician during the administration of the Jomo Kenyatta government. He held different government positions from 1963, when Kenya became an independent country, to 1975, when he was assassinated. He left behind three wives and many children.-Early...

. MP and Lawyer C.M.G. Argwings-Kodhek and former Kadu Leader and minister Ronald Ngala
Ronald Ngala
Ronald Gideon Ngala was a Kenyan politician and statesman who was the leader of the Kenya African Democratic Union political party from its creation in 1960 until its dissolution in 1964.-Early Career:...

, also died in suspicious car accidents.

In 1968 he published his biography Suffering Without Bitterness.

In the 1969 elections, Kenyatta banned the only other party, KPU (formed and led by his former vice president, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga who had been forced to quit KANU along with his left leaning allies), detained its leaders, and called elections in which only KANU was allowed to participate.

On 29 January 1970 he was sworn in as President for a further term. For the remainder of his presidency, Kenya was effectively a one-party state, and Kenyatta made use of detention, appeals to ethnic loyalties, and careful appointment of government jobs to maintain his commanding position in Kenya’s political system. However, his advancing age kept him from the day-to-day management of government affairs. He intervened only when necessary to settle disputed issues. His relative isolation resulted in increasing domination of Kenya’s affairs by well-connected Kikuyu who acquired great wealth as a result.

Kenyatta was again re-elected as President in 1974, in elections in which he, again, ran alone. On 5 Nov 1974, he was sworn in as President for a third term. His increasingly feeble health meant that his inner circle effectively ruled the country, and greatly enriched themselves, in his name. He remained president until his death four years later in 1978.

Death


President Kenyatta had suffered a heart attack in 1966. He would in the mid-seventies lapse into periodic comas lasting from a few hours to a few days from time to time. In April 1977, then well into his 80s, he suffered a massive heart attack. On 14 August 1978, he hosted his entire family, including his son Peter Magana who flew in from Britain with his family, to a reunion in Mombasa
Mombasa
Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya. Lying next to the Indian Ocean, it has a major port and an international airport. The city also serves as the centre of the coastal tourism industry....

. On 22 August 1978, President Kenyatta died in Mombasa of natural causes attributable to old age. Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was buried on 31 August 1978 in Nairobi in a state funeral at a mausoleum on Parliament grounds.

He was succeeded as President after his death by his vice-president Daniel arap Moi
Daniel arap Moi
Daniel Toroitich arap Moi was the President of Kenya from 1978 until 2002.Daniel arap Moi is popularly known to Kenyans as 'Nyayo', a Swahili word for 'footsteps'...

.

Legacy



Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, as he was popularly known, was an important and influential statesman in Africa. He is credited with leading Kenya to independence and setting up the country as a relatively prosperous capitalist state. He pursued a moderate pro-Western, anti-Communist economic philosophy and foreign policy. He oversaw a peaceful land reform process, oversaw the setting up of the institutions of independent Kenya, and also oversaw Kenya's admission into the United Nations. During his reign, the country was reasonably well governed, peaceful and stable, the economy developed and grew rapidly and attracted high levels of foreign investment, and a black Kenyan professional and business middle class was established.

However, Kenyatta was not without major flaws, and did also bequeath Kenya some major problems which continue to bedevil the country to date, hindering her development, and threatening her existence as a peaceful unitary multi-ethnic state. He failed to mould Kenya, being its founding father, into a homogeneous multi-ethnic state. Instead, the country became and remains a de-facto confederation of competing tribes. Also, his resettlement of many Kikuyu tribesmen in the country's Rift Valley province is widely considered to have been done unfairly.

His authoritarian style, with elements of patronage, favouritism, tribalism and/or nepotism drew criticism and dissent, and set a bad example followed by his successors. He had the Constitution radically amended to expand his powers, consolidating executive power. He has also been criticised for ruling through a post colonial clique consisting largely of his relatives, other Kikuyus, mostly from his native Kiambu district, and African Kikuyu colonial collaborators and their offspring, while giving scant reward to those whom most consider the real fighters for Kenya's independence. This clique became and remains the wealthiest, most powerful and most influential class in Kenya to date, and has held the country back, blocking reform and change, and the emergence of fresh progressive leadership, in its manoeuvres to maintain its power and wealth. Kenyatta has further been criticised for encouraging the culture of wealth accumulation by public officials using the power and influence of their offices, thereby deeply entrenching corruption in Kenya.

His policies are also criticised for leading to a large income and development inequality gap in the country. Development and resource allocation in the country during his reign was seen to have favoured some regions of the country, mainly Nairobi and the Country's Central Highlands, over others.

Family


Kenyatta had two children from his first marriage with Grace Wahu: son Peter Muigai Kenyatta (born 1920), who later became a deputy minister; and daughter Margaret Kenyatta
Margaret Kenyatta
Margaret Wambui Kenyatta is a Kenyan politician. She is the daughter of former Kenyan president Jomo Kenyatta and his wife Grace Wahu. She served as the mayor of Nairobi from 1970-1976 and Kenya's ambassador to the United Nations from 1976-1986....

 (born 1928). Margaret served as mayor of Nairobi between 1970–76 and then as Kenya's ambassador to the United Nations from 1976 -86. Grace Wahu died in April 2007.

He had one son, Peter Magana Kenyatta (born 1943) from his short marriage with Edna Clarke.

His third wife, Grace Wanjiku, died when giving birth in 1950. Daughter Jane Wambui survived.

His fourth wife, the best known due to her role as First Lady
First Lady
First Lady or First Gentlemanis the unofficial title used in some countries for the spouse of an elected head of state.It is not normally used to refer to the spouse or partner of a prime minister; the husband or wife of the British Prime Minister is usually informally referred to as prime...

, was Ngina Kenyatta
Ngina Kenyatta
Ngina Kenyatta , popularly known as "Mama Ngina", is the widow of Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta . She is described by Godfrey Gitahi Kariuki as a kind and welcoming lady....

 (née Muhoho), also known as Mama Ngina. She often accompanied him in public and also has some streets in Nairobi and Mombasa named after her. She bore Kenyatta four children: Christine Wambui (born 1952), Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (born 1961), Anna Nyokabi (also known as Jeni) and Muhoho Kenyatta (born 1964). Mama Ngina lives quietly as a wealthy widow in Kenya. Uhuru Kenyatta
Uhuru Kenyatta
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is a Kenyan politician, currently serving as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance and MP for Gatundu South Constituency. He is the Chairman of Kenya African National Union , the former ruling party, which is currently part of the Party of National Unity...

, Mzee Kenyatta's political heir, unsuccessfully vied for the Kenyan presidency as President Moi's preferred successor in 2002 and is today the Kenyan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance. Muhoho Kenyatta runs his mother's vast family business but lives out of the public limelight.

Kenyatta was the uncle of Ngethe Njoroge
Ngethe Njoroge
Stephen Ngethe Njoroge was the first ambassador from Kenya to the United Nations. He is the father of Tom Morello and the ex-husband of Parents for Rock and Rap founder Mary Morello. Njoroge was a Mau Mau guerilla. His uncle, Jomo Kenyatta, was the first elected president in Kenya.- References :...

, Kenya's first representative to the United Nations and the great uncle of Tom Morello
Tom Morello
Thomas Baptiste "Tom" Morello is a Grammy Award-winning American guitarist best known for his tenure with the bands Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, his acoustic solo act The Nightwatchman, and his newest group, Street Sweeper Social Club...

, the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1991, the group's line-up consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk...

. His niece, Beth Mugo, married to a retired ambassador, is an MP and currently serving as Minister for Public Health.

Books by Jomo Kenyatta

  • Facing Mount Kenya
    Facing Mount Kenya
    Facing Mount Kenya, first published in 1938, is an anthropological study of the people of the Kikuyu ethnicity of central Kenya. It was written by native Kikuyu and future Kenyan president Jomo Kenyatta....

     
    (1938)
  • My people of Kikuyu and the life of Chief Wangombe (1944)
  • Suffering Without Bitterness (biography 1968)
  • Kenya: The land of conflict (1971)
  • The challenge of Uhuru;: The progress of Kenya, 1968 to 1970 (1971)

Books about Jomo Kenyatta

  • Guy Arnold (1974), Kenyatta and the politics of Kenya, London: Dent ISBN 046007878X
  • Jeremy Murray-Brown (1979), Kenyatta, Allen & Unwin, ISBN 0049200593
  • George Delf (1961), Jomo Kenyatta: Towards Truth about "The Light of Kenya" New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-8371-8307-3
  • Rawson Macharia (1991), The Truth about the Trial of Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi: Longman. ISBN 9966498230
  • Veena Malhotra (1990), Kenya Under Kenyatta Kalinga. ISBN 8185163162
  • Montagu Slater (1955), The trial of Jomo Kenyatta London: Secker and Warburg. ISBN 0436472007
  • Elizabeth Watkins, (1993) Jomo's Jailor — Grand Warrior of Kenya Mulberry Books ISBN 978-0952895206
  • Caroline Elkins, (2005) "Imperial Reckoning" Henry Holt and Co ISBN 0805076530

Films about Jomo Kenyatta

  • Anthony Howarth & David Koff
    David Koff
    David Richard Koff is an award-winning maker of documentary films, social activist, writer, researcher, and editor. His interest in social and economic justice has shaped a career largely spent exploring human rights, colonialism, resistance movements, racism, labor unions, and the oppression and...

     (1973), Kenyatta Part 3 of The Black Man's Land Trilogy http://www.cinemagician.net

External links




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