We have studied the character of Kenyatta in great detail and the evidence all points to a meek old harmless man who was arrested in 1952 and later imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. It was an even older man humbled by a long prison sentence who took over the leadership of
Zanzibar stone town today: In January 1964 the tiny sleepy island not far from Mombasa suddenly exploded. Eyewitnesses described the bloody coup in Zanzibar with chilling words like "Arab blood flowed on the streets of the stone town as if from a great river." The effect of that coup so close to home had a major impact on the infant Kenyatta administration and was one of the foundation stones of the impunity that followed.
The question we must busy ourselves with answering now is how this meek old man of the church was transformed into the feared president everybody wants to remember? Young folks change all the time but Kenyatta was at least 68 years old when he became
There is no doubt that the long prison sentence had hardened the old man considerably. Still evidence suggests that Kenyatta entered office with high ideals and a genuine determination to make good and impact the lives of ordinary Kenyans. Ironically every single president after him has started with the same high ideals. We shall see in this book what brought their dreams crashing down.
For Kenyatta the honey moon was quickly and rudely brought to an end as crisis after crisis hit the infant administration. There was the scary army mutiny at Lanet in 1964 just a few months into the Kenyatta administration. Even today there is very little information on what really happened at the biggest military barracks in the country. But it was serious enough for the Kenyatta government to seek outside military assistance to quell which they received mostly from
Then there were numerous coups in other African countries.
It soon became very clear that there were plenty of potential threats to the presidency which had to be addressed immediately. It was a question of survival and the only way to survive was to crash all opposition even before it had a chance of raising its’ head properly. The president would need people he could trust completely around him and in all key positions in the country especially in the disciplined forces.
Kenyatta promptly started appointing close relatives and village mates to sensitive positions in government and the security forces. Later after the assassination of Tom Mboya the Kenyatta administration went even further and launched secret oath-taking amongst senior officials in government. I remember my dad telling me stories of how he resisted several invitations to these oath-taking sessions where one had to strip completely naked and do all kinds of weird things. He was assured that promotion to very senior positions anywhere in
Fear is a very powerful emotion that has been known to transform people’s characters completely. It is no secret that despite the absolute power in State House which we are told corrupts absolutely; few have appreciated the fact that the occupants of this great house on the hill have always had to live with great fear. For Kenyatta and Moi it was fear of being overthrown and seeing those close to them raped and murdered in cold blood or executed by firing squad by the successful coup leaders. For Kibaki it has been more about ending up in some prison with a long list of charges, some of them trumped up by his political opponents and pretenders to the presidency.
Clearly Kenyatta also feared assassination to the point of being paranoid. For instance during his entire time as president Kenya’s founding father avoided flying at all costs. This was one reason why he was always represented in conferences and functions out of the country by his Vice president. Even in trips to the Coast Kenyatta would always prefer the 8 hour long trip by road, even when his health was at its’ worst. It was only after his death that Kenyatta’s body enetered a plane after very many years. The body was flown back to
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