May 27, 2014

On this day May 27th

DARC Ethiophile Chronicles

On this day

27 May 1963 Jomo Kenyatta was elected Kenya’s first Prime Minister, in 1963, following that country’s independence from Britain. In 1964 he became the first President of the Republic of Kenya.

Jomo Kenyatta, whose original name is Kamau Ngengi was born in1894 as Kamau, son of Ngengi, at Ichaweri, southwest of Mount Kenya in the East African highlands and transitioned on August 22, 1978, in Mombasa, Kenya. His exact date of birth, is unclear, and was unclear even to him, as no formal birth records of native Africans were kept in Kenya at that time.   His father was a leader of a small Kikuyu agricultural settlement. About age 10 Kamau became seriously ill with jigger infections in his feet and one leg, and he underwent successful surgery at a newly established Church of Scotland mission. This was his initial contact with Europeans. Fascinated with what he had seen during his recuperation, Kamau ran away from home to become a resident pupil at the mission. He studied the Bible, English, mathematics, and carpentry and paid his fees by working as a houseboy and cook for a European settler.

In August 1914 he was baptized with the name Johnstone Kamau. He was one of the earliest of the Kikuyu to leave the confines of his own culture. And, like many others, Kamau soon left the mission life for the urban attractions of Nairobi.   African statesman and nationalist 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, a radical anti-colonial movement engaged in rebellion against Kenya's British rulers. The accused were known as the "Kapenguria Six".   The trial lasted five months: Rawson Macharia, 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 during the trial—was openly hostile to the defendants' cause.  

The defence, led by British barrister D. N. 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 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, a remote part of Kenya.   The state of emergency was lifted on 12 January 1960.   On 28 February 1961, 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 March 1961, Kenyan leaders, including Daniel arap Moi, later his longtime Vice President and successor as president, visited him at Lodwar. On 11 April 1961, he was moved to Maralal with daughter Margaret where he met world press for the first time in eight years. On 14 August 1961, he was released and brought to Gatundu.   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 (though also from his tribe), 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.   Although he was a founding member of the OAU he failed to mold Kenya, into a homogeneous multi-ethnic state. Instead, the country became and remains a de facto confederation of competing tribes.      

s independence from Britain. In 1964 he became the first President of the Republic of Kenya.  Jomo Kenyatta, whose original name is Kamau Ngengi was born in1894 as Kamau, son of Ngengi, at Ichaweri, southwest of Mount Kenya in the East African highlands and transitioned on August 22, 1978, in Mombasa, Kenya. His exact date of birth, is unclear, and was unclear even to him, as no formal birth records of native Africans were kept in Kenya at that time. His father was a leader of a small Kikuyu agricultural settlement. About age 10 Kamau became seriously ill with jigger infections in his feet and one leg, and he underwent successful surgery at a newly established Church of Scotland mission. This was his initial contact with Europeans. Fascinated with what he had seen during his recuperation, Kamau ran away from home to become a resident pupil at the mission. He studied the Bible, English, mathematics, and carpentry and paid his fees by working as a houseboy and cook for a European settler.

In August 1914 he was baptized with the name Johnstone Kamau. He was one of the earliest of the Kikuyu to leave the confines of his own culture. And, like many others, Kamau soon left the mission life for the urban attractions of Nairobi.   African statesman and nationalist 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, a radical anti-colonial movement engaged in rebellion against Kenya's British rulers. The accused were known as the "Kapenguria Six".   The trial lasted five months: Rawson Macharia, 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 during the trial—was openly hostile to the defendants' cause.   The defence, led by British barrister D. N. 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 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, a remote part of Kenya.   The state of emergency was lifted on 12 January 1960.  

On 28 February 1961, 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 March 1961, Kenyan leaders, including Daniel arap Moi, later his longtime Vice President and successor as president, visited him at Lodwar. On 11 April 1961, he was moved to Maralal with daughter Margaret where he met world press for the first time in eight years. On 14 August 1961, he was released and brought to Gatundu.   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 (though also from his tribe), 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.  

Although he was a founding member of the OAU he failed to mold Kenya, into a homogeneous multi-ethnic state. Instead, the country became and remains a de facto confederation of competing tribes.

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