Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Political assasinations in Kenya “TJ”
Tom Mboya at his prime. Cut down by an assasins bullets on the streets of Nairobi one Saturday afternoon, July 5, 1969
Today we start this much anticipated new feature that will lay bare the history of our beloved country of Kenya. For too long ago, the history we have read and accepted as the truth in schools has been a lie. Carefully crafted lies to please the powers that be. One of the reasons why we are in such serious problems in Kenya today is the fact that our founding fathers lost the way. Somewhere in their journey they abandoned the interests of the country for their own. This will come out very clearly in this series. Stay with us.
The single political assassination in Kenya that had the greatest impact is that of “TJ” or Tom Mboya. “TJ” were his first two initials standing for Thomas Joseph. The son of a poor illiterate sisal picker in a colonial farm somewhere near Thika, Tom Mboya rose to the top of Kenyan politics and was in line to be the first president of Kenya. Had he ascended to the Presidency, many political analysts are sure, things would have been very different and we would probably have avoided many of the mistakes that were made.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me get on with the story. I want to start my story from the end and then flash back. I believe that this is the best way of telling it.
5th July 1969. Kenya had recently celebrated its’ sixth anniversary of internal self rule (Madaraka day) the previous month on June 1st. Kenyans were optimistic in those years and were working hard to build their young nation and ensure a better future for their children. Little did they know that there were serious problems and infighting amongst their key rulers which was about to explode on the streets this sunny afternoon.
It was a Saturday like any other in the city centre in Nairobi. Nairobi in those days was a neat nice place to be proud of and the overcrowded bustling streets were yet to come. It was lunch time and Kenyans were going about their business unaware of the fact that the history of their country was about to be irreversibly changed in a very dramatic and bloody way.
Minister of Economic Planning and MP for a Nairobi constituency Tom Mboya left his office for the weekend. He released his driver and body guard and headed for Chaani’s chemist along Government Street (Moi Avenue today). This chemist is still there today. He was driving his white Mercedes.
If he was carrying the day’s newspapers (like he liked to do) he would have had a copy of the East African Standard with him. On this broadsheet there was a photograph of him on page 1. It showed him striding confidently along the runway at Embakasi International airport where he had landed from Ethiopia Addis Ababa. He had been there for official business.
As he parked the car, he would not have noticed a short bald man with a brief case walking slowly towards the chemist where the cabinet minister was about to enter. He bought his usual prescription medicine for a nagging skin ailment and had a hearty chat with the Asian couple who owned the chemist. He had known them for years.
Outside the bald man in a brief case waited.
Mboya stepped outside the chemist and there were two extremely loud bangs of a revolver going off. Tom Mboya fell back on the glass door of the chemist. Blood oozing out of his fatal wounds in the chest and head.
He was rushed to Nairobi hospital in an ambulance but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. By about 3pm that afternoon the remains of Tom Mboya were in the City Mortuary along Ngong Road.
The country was in shock. Who had killed Mboya and why? A state funeral was quickly organized even as violence broke out on the streets of Nairobi, President Jomo Kenyatta personally issued a statement oin radio and TV saying the usual things. No stone would be left unturned to bring Mboya’s killers to book and the other usual **** about the dead man being a fallen hero and all. He lied to the whole nation when he knew very well exactly who was responsible for Mboya’s brutal killing and more important why he had been murdered. Or rather the personal cause for which he had had to lose his life.
Ironically probably the only man of Kikuyu descent who was allowed to set foot on Rusinga Island to attend the Mboya funeral the following weekend was another Kenyan by the name of Josiah Mwangi Kariuki or JM Kariuki. He had been Kenyatta’s private secretary before he fell out with the old man. He did not know it but barely six years later he would also be assassinated, for the same cause that his good friend Tom Mboya had just died for. His murder would be much more painful and he would have his private parts cut out (it is widely believed that this was done while he was still alive). His body would be found badly burnt by acid and with his private parts stuffed into his mouth. A clear message that he was silenced for something he said (stay with us in this blog and we will get back to that later).
So Mboya rested with his ancestors on Rusinga Island. Death had come too early, he was not yet even 40. But what a brilliant political career he had had in his very short life. In fact he had almost become the first President and founding father of Kenya. Almost... Sadly “almost’ is never good enough and that is why this man is basically forgotten. Younger generations of Kenya do not know who the hell he was. They just know he got shot in the streets.
All this was of course deliberate and that is why the only full biography ever written on Mboya by a man who never met him a professor from University In Australia is titled, “Tom Mboya - the man Kenya wanted to forget.” David Goldsworthy’s book was published after President Kenyatta’s death in the 80’s.
The Kenya of that time or rather the leaders of the time were determined that Kenya should forget TJ as quickly as possible. Two new presidents have come since that beastly incident - Moi came and went and now Kibaki is president. Both these two Kenyans know the truth that you will discover in this blog over the next few days. But they’ve done nothing. Why?
And you Kenyan reading this, what are you going to do about this thing that helped drive your beloved country to the dogs? Think about that very deeply.
This is for you TJ, I never met you but from all that I’ve watched and read and studied on you, it is like I did. This is for you and a better Kenya, which you would have liked.
Mboya On Cover Of Time? Was Jealousy Main Motive Of His Murder?
Why Mboya Had To Stop A Bullet
Posted by Chris at 8:21 AM