prominent leaders in kenya-Mzee jomo Kenyatta

Kenyatta was born in a village called Ichaweri in Kiambu District, Central Province between 1897 and 1898.

His father was called Muigai and his mother Wambui and he was Kamau. After the death of his mother, Kenyatta moved to live with his grandfather at a place called Muthiga near Thogoto in Kikuyu. Christian missionaries had set up a mission at Thogoto. In 1909 Kenyatta was enrolled in school at the mission. He was initiated in 1913 and baptised at the mission in 1914 to be called Johnston Kamau. He learned some arithmetic, how to read and write and carpentry skills. By the time he left Thogoto, he had a good command of English.

He went to Nairobi where he was employed as a clerk and a water meter reader with the Municipal Council. He got married to Grace Wahu in 1920 in a traditional ceremony. Kenyatta started getting involved in political activities in 1922 when he joined a protest against the colonial government. He became the editor of a newspaper called Muigwithania, which belonged to a political movement called Kikuyu Central Association (KCA).

He first travelled by ship to England in 1929 to fight for the land, which had been taken from the Kikuyu people by the white settlers.

He came back the following year but travelled again to London in 1931 from where he visited Germany and Russia. While in London he studied at the London School of Economics from where he wrote a book entitled Facing Mount Kenya in which he describes the history and culture of the Agikuyu.

He returned to Kenya in 1946 and became the president of a political party called Kenya African Union (KAU). Meanwhile the Mau Mau movement had already started and the colonial government accused him of being the leader of the movement, an accusation he denied.

In 1952, he was arrested together with five other nationalists. These were Achieng Oneko, Fred Kubai, Kung’u Karumba, Bildad Kaggia and Paul Ngei. The following year they were tried at a court in Kapenguria and found guilty. They were sentenced to seven years imprisonment with hard labour. He completed the prison term in 1959 but was moved to Lodwar as a detainee. In 1960, KANU nominated him as its president though he was still in detention. He was then moved to Maralal from where he was released in August 1961.

He became active in KANU as its president, pressing for Kenya’s independence. On December 12th 1963, when Kenya became independent, Kenyatta was sworn in as the Prime Minister.

In December 1964, Kenya became a Republic with Kenyatta as the first president of the country. He held the position until August 22nd 1978 when he peacefully died in his sleep while at the State House in Mombasa.