from ouko joachim omolo
Colleagues Home & Abroad Regional News
BY FR JOACHIM OMOLO OUKO, AJ
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2011
Today Kenyans are honouring the Mashujaa (heroes/heroines ) because they resisted colonization. They wanted Kenya to be free of intimidations, racism, negative ethnicity, nepotism, corruption, and political assassinations, land grabbing, torture, human rights abuses and many more.
Mekatilili wa Menza, a Kenyan woman leader, is remembered for her courage in leading the Giriama people in a rebellion against the British Colonial Administration and policies in 1913 – 1914. They had sacred dwelling places called Kayas, located in forested areas, one of which the British Colonial Administration destroyed by dynamiting it in 1914.
Because of her resistant to colonial policies Mekatilili was captured by the British and exiled to Mumias in Western Province of Kenya, far away from her coastal native area. Even after five years in prison she was released she continued to oppose the imposition of Colonial policies and ordnances. She died in 1914, and was buried in Bungala, in Magarini District.
Dedan Kimathi Waciuri (31 October 1920 – 18 February 1957) is honoured because he fought against the British colonial government in Kenya in the 1950s. He was convicted and executed in 1957 for murder and terrorism. The British colonial government convicted him because he was the main lead of Mau Mau movement.
Other heroes include M’Kiribua M’Muchiri alias Musa Mwariama born in 1928 at Muthara in Tigania division of Meru District. Waruhiu Itote was one of the key leaders of the Mau Mau rebellion alongside Dedan Kimathi and General Stanley Mathenge and Musa Mwariama.
Ramogi Achieng Oneko (1920–2007), one of the six freedom fighters arrested by the British colonial government in Kapernguria in 1952. Other members of the group, known as “Kapenguria Six” were Jomo Kenytatta, Paul Ngei, Bildad Kaggia, Kungu Karumba and Fred Kubai. They were arrested for allegedly being linked with the Mau Mau rebellion movement. They were released nine years later, in 1961, two years before Kenya gained independence.
On the other hand, while Jomo Kenyatta is honoured for his role in Mau Mau uprising, his regime is remembered for the death of Josiah Mwangi Kariuki (March 21, 1929–March 2, 1975). Mwangi was a great opponent to Kenyatta and always fought for the poor Kenyans-unfair distribution of land by Kenyatta to his close friends.
JM as he was popularly known is remembered by Kenyans as a hero as he came to represent the force against the evils that have harmed the country to this day. He is remembered for his great quote: “Kenya has become a nation of 10 millionaires and 10 million beggars.” “Every Kenyan man, woman and child is entitled to a decent and just living.
JM was brutally murdered on March 2, 1975, three weeks short of his 46th birthday, robbing Kenya of one of the most dedicated champions of the rights of the poor and a vociferous critic of inequality.
Kenyatta is also remembered for the death of Tom Mboya and Pio Gama Pinto. Pinto had discovered that Kenyatta had allocated himself a total of 50 farms in Central province and Rift valley and this did not please him. Some of the farms had poor Kikuyu squatters who were to be evicted.
The land owned by the Kenyatta family includes Taita Taveta farm (74, 000 acres), Kahawa Sukari farm (29, 000 acres), Gatundu farm, Thika farm, Brookside farm, Muthaita farm, Green Lee Estate, Njagu farm in Juja, Kasarani farm (9, 000 acres), Nakuru farm in Rongai near Moi’s home, a quarry in Dandora, Naivasha Ranch and several farms in Nairobi.
Close associates of Kenyatta such as Mbiyu Koinange, Kihika Kimani, Isaiah Mathenge, Eliud Mahihu, Jackson Angaine, Paul Ngei, Daniel Arap Moi, Njoroge Mungai, Charles Njonjo, Mwai Kibaki, Njenga Karume among other power brokers of the time, were encouraged to acquire, and did acquire, as much land.
Pinto’s problem began when he decided to move a vote of no confidence in Kenyatta. Kenyatta confronted him within the precincts of parliament and challenged him over the no confidence vote. Tom Mboya had earlier warned Pinto that his life was in danger and he could take refuge outside Kenya, and advise Pinto ignored.
When Pinto refused to back down Kenyatta called him a bastard to which Pinto immediately responded by telling Kenyatta in front of witnesses and other cabinet ministers that he (Kenyatta) was also a bastard.
Mboya was a brilliant young Suba man who also became a key rival of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and allowed himself to be played against Jaramogi by the Mt Kenya elite. It was because of him that Kenya Peoples Union came into existence…after he came up with the regional vice presidency scheme.
Born Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya on 15th August 1930, he was to die by an assassin’s bullet at the tender age of 39 on 5th July 1969. It is widely believed that his high profile and illustrious career as a brilliant and charismatic leader, led to his assassination.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga found himself into a big problem when it came to emerge that he had arranged for Pinto to hide in Mombasa and if necessary sneak out of the country from there. Kenyatta had to appoint Joseph Murumbi his Vice President later that year when he heard about this and said it was not possible for Kenyatta to kill Pinto.
Pinto was killed in cold blood. It has never been revealed before but it was the realization that Pinto’s assassination had been carried out by Kenyatta insiders that led to the resignation of Joseph Murumbi as Vice President later on. Others who died mysteriously during Kenya include Ronald Ngala and CMG Argwings Kodhek.
Although Argwings-Kodhek’s death was attributed to a road accident, Kodhek who became a powerful minister in the Kenyatta cabinet was believed by a close confidant of Kenyatta that his death was actually the result of a gunshot fired from a police-issued rifle. Many close to the family actually believe that this was President Kenyatta’s first political assassination.
Closely held family records indicate that former cabinet minister Paul Ngei actually identified the police vehicle that carried the assassins to the ambush point on Hurlingham Road (now Argwings-Kodhek Road). The vehicle in question was part of Vice-President Moi’s Vice-Presidential Escort detail.
The testimony of former cabinet minister Andrew Omanga, then C.M.G.’s Permanent Secretary indicate that when Omanga met him lying in the road shortly after the ‘accident’ C.M.G. stated that he had a ‘shock’ and that he heard a ‘gun shot’. Formerly powerful Attorney-General Charles Njonjo confirmed as C.M.G. lay dying the next morning that the ‘wounds are consistent with gun shot wounds’.
It is commonly known that Kenyatta, frustrated with Oginga Odinga, had already notified Argwings-Kodhek that he was going to be appointed Vice-President—a position C.M.G. had turned down and suggested that it be given to Moi, instead of Mboya—to become the first African to join the colonial Legislative Council.
The Kenyatta administration clearly did the most damage in dividing the country along tribal lines and destroying all the national unity that had been achieved in the run up to independence.
On the other hand, while Daniel arap Moi is honoured as one of the heroes, like Kenyatta he is also remembered for numeral deaths during his tenure including the controversial one of Dr Robert Ouko and Anglican Bishop, Alexander Kipsang arap Muge.
Ouko was murdered after a controversial trip to the United States where it is rumoured that he had easier access to the then US President George Bush Senior than did President Moi. That was a threat to National security.
Horace Ongili who was said to have been a rising politician in Kenya also died mysteriously during Moi. By the time he was brutally murdered and his body discarded in a maize plantation, it was rumoured that he was set to be named vice president. At that time, the seat was occupied by Mwai Kibaki who is the current president.
The next victim was Masinde Muliro (1922 – August 14, 1992), one of the renowned freedom fighter who campaigned for the restoration of multi-party democracy in Kenya. He was a ruthless negotiator and a proponent of peaceful but focused politics.
Prior to his death it has been speculated that had he not died, he may have beaten for the presidency in 1992. He was appointed minister of commerce just before Kenya gained independence in 1963. He worked in various positions in later governments, but was frequently on the wrong side of President Kenyatta.
Other heroes in my own opinion to be honoured include students of Nairobi and Kenyatta universities who were the most visible participants in the 1982 coup attempt celebrations, significantly, the chairman of the Students’ Organisation of the University of Nairobi (Sonu), Titus Adungosi who went on radio to express solidarity with the rebels. Moi jailed him for ten years. He died at Naivasha GK Prison in 1989.
Some of the students picked up by coup investigators and later released include Cabinet ministers Musalia Mudavadi, Chepalungi MP Isaac Ruto, former Rangwe MP Shem Ochuodho and David Murathe.
Others are lawyer Philip Murgor, East African Standard Group Managing Editor Wachira Waruru, Human Rights activist Odour Ong’wen and then director of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Kibisu Kabetesi.
As a second-year BA student, Isaac Ruto was neck-deep in campus politics when the air force revolted on August 1, 1982. He was the vice-chairman of the students’ organisation, Sonu. He learned of the coup at 4am when students’ chairman Tito Adungosi waked him up.
Oginga Ogego, Kanu activist and aide to Raila Odinga who was involved in the Kanu-NDP merger talks was then a third year political science student, was jailed for 10 years on charges of sedition. In fact Ogego had initially been jailed for six years but was added four more when he told appeal Judge Matthew Muli that his only regret was that the coup attempt had failed.
Musalia Mudavadi was a second-year student studying Land Economics when the University of Nairobi was sucked into the coup. Police picked up Musalia two days later. He spent a night at Turbo Police Station before being transferred to Embakasi GSU Training School. He was released after three days.
David Murathe, MP for Gatanga then was a third-year student and a member of the Sonu council, Murathe was reluctant to go into the streets when news of the coup reached the campus. Three days after the coup attempt, Murathe was arrested at Gatanga chief’s camp. He was held at the Embakasi GSU Training School and released a few days after recording a statement.
Shem Ochuodho was was locked up at Embakasi GSU Training School and charged with participating in an illegal demonstration. The case was later withdrawn, but not before Ochuodho had spent six months in police custody.
Philip Murgo, Nairobi lawyer, was a third-year law student when he was arrested after the coup attempt and stayed in police custody for six months. That time Wachira Waruru, Group Managing Editor, The East African Standard was a third-year literature student at Kenyatta University when he attracted the interest of the coup investigators. He was released after a day of questioning.
Six weeks later, police went for him at the offices of the now defunct Nairobi Times newspaper, where he worked as a reporter. He also ended up at Embakasi GSU training school and was freed in February 1983.
Stephen Omondi Oludhe, politician and best known as the founder of National Development Party of Kenya (NDP), which was turned over to Mr Raila Odinga and later merged with Kanu was a third-year student at the University of Nairobi when he became the target of detectives investigating the coup.
He was whisked away by the Special Branch in Kisumu as he went to report to his location chief. He was briefly held at Kisumu Police Station before being transferred to Embakasi GSU Training School, where he was held for six months.
Oduor Ong’wen was a second-year science student at Chiromo campus. Ong’wen was arrested four days later at his rural home in Siaya district. He was briefly locked up at Kisumu Police Station, where he found Shem Ochuodho and Stephen Oludhe. The three were later transferred to Embakasi GSU Training School where they remained for six months.
Private Hezekiah Ochuka who led the coup and later killed by Moi after been convicted on murder charges- Moses Wetangula, the current Foreign Minister in Kibaki government should also be honoured for having been Ochuka’s defence lawyer.
Ochuka believed Moi would have been put in custody together with his cronies, who had misused public property, and then taken to court after an inquiry.
Letter to the Editor
SHAMEFUL BEHAVIOUR TO NGILU
I couldn’t believe my eyes for whatever I saw on 8th of Oct at Uhuru Park during the funeral service of Prof. Maathai. At one hand I was disappointed and in fact it was shameful and on the other hand I was impressed. This is the story: Ngilu who behaved in a very shameful manner towards Vice President Kalonzo by intentionally refusing to greet him.
I know they have their own political differences but that was shameful and imprudent to do that especially at a funeral and moreover of Maathai. I wish the late Maathai would know what Ngilu did. This was a great dishonour to the late Prof. Maathai and lack OF public ethics. To make matters worse, some other dignitaries from outside and within African were present and in case they saw this then it was a big shame to her and to the republic of Kenya. I respect her as any other Kenya but she should style up.
On the other hand I was impressed. Even at home, whenever differences arise in the family and especially between the parents, there are moments they have to put them aside more so in the presence of a visitor(s). At The Hague during the hearing of Uhuru Kenyatta’s case, he accused Raila for being entirely responsible for the post — election violence of 2007/8. But surprisingly, even after such allegation I saw them embracing each other during that funeral service.
Well, they may not be real friends because of their differences in ideologies in politics which is very healthy, but it was a good show and praiseworthy. I therefore thank Raila and Uhuru Kenyatta for demonstrating their maturity and I hereby call upon Kenyans and especially politicians to learn from these two great men.
By Chrispine Onyango
Via Email- Nairobi
People for Peace in Africa (PPA)
P O Box 14877