UHURU is doing exactly what his father did in 1965 after he felt threatened by RAILA’s father, JARAMOGI, Like father like son.

By PATRICK GATHARA.

In early 1965, after just a year of independence, Kenya’s first President, Jomo Kenyatta suspected Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was planning a coup against his government.

Deep divisions within the ruling Kenya African National Union - between those wanting radical and populist change to the inherited colonial system and those who were intent on consolidating it and seeking more gradual change – had been exacerbated by the murder of radical Nominated MP, Pio Gama Pinto in late February.


Determined to eliminate the threat, Kenyatta sent the paramilitary General Service Unit of the Kenya Police Force into Luo Nyanza to look for weapons and to intimidate Odinga’s Luo base.

As related by Charles Hornsby in his opus, Kenya: A History Since Independence, “there was a press blackout on their activities, which included house searches, beatings and rapes, which were only made public at the end of the month, when angry Luo MPs raised the issue in Parliament”.

Within a year, Odinga had been forced out of KANU and had set up his own political party in opposition, the Kenya Peoples Union. As Hornsby states, Odinga was betting “that Kenyatta and KANU would play by the rules and that the West would ensure they did so.”

However, Kenyatta’s patrons were silent during the next three years which witnessed “more serious abuses than were conducted against a political party at any time before or since in Kenya’s history”.

These included changes to the electoral system on the eve of, and rigging during, the Little General Election; branding Odinga as a threat to “national stability”; the mangling of the 7 year-old independence constitution to concentrate power in the President and eliminate all checks on it; the reintroduction of colonial-style detention without trial; and intimidation of both the judiciary and the press. The period ended with the murder of Tom Mboya, Kikuyu oathing, a massacre of Odinga supporters in Kisumu, the banning of the KPU and detention of Odinga and his allies.

Fast forward half a century and Jomo’s son, Uhuru Kenyatta, is…

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