THE CENTRAL AND NYANZA WARS PART I

I have been closely following how the politics has been going and even going back to records that date back to the 1960s just to try and understand why people have such hatred and animosity for each other especially in the social media. It’s thoroughly disheartening and disgusting to say the least hearing people talking about each others’ tribes and certain people in a manner to degrade and berate each other.

But as a wise man once said, you don’t know where you are going until you know have been. This war and fight belonged to our ancestors and fathers because they know what they did. That is why I have taken the time to research and brig out a few things before you and let you judge for yourselves weather you should continue talking trash to each other and other people, or go on your knees and decide that you are going to be a different person.

I suggest that you take the time to buy and watch the documentary by Hillary Ngweno – “The Making of a Nation” which is where I am getting most of my facts from.

The time is July 1966, and Mzee Jomo Kenyatta suffers a heart attack that was kept secret and was known only to few. There was always the question of “What after Kenyatta?” or “Who after Kenyatta?” His closest ministers made up of Mbiu Koinange, Njoroge Mungai, Charles Njonjo and sometimes James Gichuru and Julius Kiano had been concerned at first about Oginga Odinga – Raila Odinga’s Father. Odinga at this time was out of the way courtesy of Tom Mboya, but for Kenyatta’s inner circle, the men named above, their obsession about Tom Mboya stepping into Kenyatta’s shoes should Kenyatta die was a growing cconcern.

1967, there emerged a KANU A and a KANU B. KANU A was comprised of Kenyatta’s powerful inner circle, sometimes called “The Gatundu Group” comprising of Koinange, Njonjo and Mungai. Allied to these three were less powerful men like James Gichuru, Julius Kiano and Mwai Kibaki. KANU B was the group of leaders allied to Mboya, they comprised of Ronald Ngala – From the coast, Samuel Ayodo – A Luo, Lawrence Sagini – A Kisii, Joseph Otiende – A Luhya, Jeremiah Nyaga – an Embu and Eliud Ngala Mwendwa – A Kamba with their supporters in their respective communities. They were a multi tribal lot as was be fitting of Mboya’s whole political nature.

But unlike KANU A which was dominated by the kikuyu, KANU B had no one single tribe to identify it’s interests. In parliament by the end of 1967, KANU B was clearly a minority. It was also clear then thata battle of great proportions was looming between the two KANU’s. Part of the battle was to do with Ethnic considerations. Kenyatta’s inner circle were determined to ensure that the presidency and it’s enormous powers did not slip from central province, and most certainly into Mboya’s hands.

They feared Mboya because of his frightful intelligence and organizational skills. But there was more than fear involved. There was resentment. However intelligent, however astute a politician, academically, Mboya was simply not the equal to the three top men in Kenyatta’s inner circle. On that account alone and not even on ethnic grounds, Koinage, Njonjo and Mungai for different reasons must have found Mboya difficult to take.

Mboya was four Years younger than Mungai, ten years younger than Njonjo, and twenty three years younger than Koinange. But by the time the older men got to interact with him, they must have been awed by Mboya’s sharp intellect, enormous organizational skills and sheer determination. These made him indispensible against Odinga and the radicals with in KANU. For some time at least, Njonjo built up a close friendship with Mboya during their joint effort at Kenyatta’s behest to shove Odinga out of the ruling party. But Kenyatta and his top men had Odinga more or less under control. The man to watch now as far as Kenyatta and his inner circle were concerned was Mboya.

Barely a year after forcing Odinga out of KANU, the set about to do to Mboya what they had done to Odinga so successfully, ecept they had now to do their battles without or against Mboya’s enormous organizational skills, financial resources and a reputation for political fighting.

Until then, Mboya had never lost any major political battle, but then neither had Kenyatta and his close associates. The first of the anti-Mboya moves begun with the Gatundu group, trying to change the constitution in such a way, as to ensure that in the event of Kenyatta dying, Mboya would not succeed him. Or if did, he would not be in the kind of presidential powers that Kenyatta wielded.

March 1968, the Government tabled a constitutional amendment bill providing that if the president died, the vice – president would simply take over for the rest of the term. The existing provisions for succession stated that if the president died in office, parliament would meet and elect a successor who would serve for the rest of the term.  The Gatundu group were afraid that given Mboya’s charisma and skills with parliamentarians, such skills could lead to his mesmerizing parliament into electing him as president.

MPs did not like the amendment, not because it was targeted at Mboya but meant a further erosion of parliament’s power at a time when the executive the president had done enough damage to the muscled power that parliament had flexed before. So the Gatundu group had to come up with a revised version in April.  This time, they suggested that the vice president to take over with full presidential authority for six months after which there would be a national election. Still the MPs complained about the lack of involvement of parliament in such an arrangement.

As these discussions were going on, Kenyatta suffered a mild stroke. There upon Njonjo and Moi without consulting the cabinet rushed a third version to parliament retaining the six month period but watering down on the presidential powers during those six months. They hoped for quick approval by parliament. But then still trying to stop Mboya from succeeding Kenyatta in case the later died; they added a completely new provision that a candidate for president had to be at least forty years old. The existing provision had required a minimum age of thirty five. Mboya was then thirty seven.

Most MPs rejected the blatant targeting of Mboya In the new amendment bill. What was more important, Kenyatta soon recovered from the stroke he had suffered and was incensed to learn that his death was being discussed. He had the Bill withdrawn. A fourth and final amendment was worked out and brought back to parliament. On the death of a president, the vice president would succeed him for only three months and with reduced powers and the minimum age at the ensuing elections would remain at thirty five. Parliament finally passed the Bill. ImageImageImage

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One comment

  1. Pingback: THE CENTRAL AND NYANZA WARS PART II « jonathansiaga


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