My Best News: Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta to Form Alliance


My Best News: Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta to Form Alliance

Tom Mboya’s political idol was Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. For years, Tom Mboya waited to have Mzee Jomo Kenyatta take the realm of leadership. According to political historians, it is this fact that led to Mboya’s assassination in 1969. Those of us interested in political history marvel that in 1960 the prestigious Time Magazine of March 7 1960 featured Tom Mboya on its cover. The title, “Kenya: Ready or Not”. No other man in the history of Kenya has endeared my mind as the epitome of grace, in a country with so much “tribal animosity.” One of my U.S. graduate school professors noted, “I went to school with Tom Mboya. His Catholicism was not just intellectual; it was foundational to his show of mercy to the poor.” I did not know that. That inspired me to follow his writings and life.


But Tom Mboya was assassinated on July 5th 1969. According to reliable sources close to Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s driver, the plot, though not initiated by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, was planned by his men. You see, Tom Mboya headed the delegation to the Lancaster House where Kenya’s independence and constitutional transition was to be managed. After coming back to Kenya, the most visible person next to Mzee Jomo Kenyatta was Tom Mboya. Everywhere Kenyatta went, Tom Mboya was present. He was the most trusted adviser to Kenyatta’s government. This did not go well with Kenyatta’s Kikuyu inner circle and according to verifiable reports, even Kenyatta noted, “ Hata nikiyamba, ni Mboya anajua.” He wondered why the likes of Mbiyu Koinange were bitter that Tom Mboya was advancing within the Kenyan process. “Muti githi nduguagira uria wiho?” Kenyatta asked his Kikuyu inner circles. Kenyatta’s driver knew something. We visited his home with my father, but I got no specifics.


There is no question, Tom Mboya was not only Luo, but he was a Kenyan of the highest order. The fact that he was elected to the Kamukunji seat as the MP said as much about his relationship with Kenyans as Kenyans, not as a leader within tribal alliances. This is further demonstrated by his initiative to have Kenyans granted scholarships to study in the United States between 1960 to 1963. Many diverse Kenyans benefited from this great initiative including one, Obama Sr.  Kenya’s labor movement reflects Mboya.


The problem with the current Kenyan political leadership is lack of Tom Mboya-ism. All those who are currently running for president, William Ruto, Kalonzo Musyoka, Msalia Mdavadi, Uhuru Kenyatta and yes, Raila Odinga were part of ODM. According to an adviser of Uhuru Kenyatta, he was so committed to the ideal of an ideological Kenya that his 2005 grouping of KANU in ODM was the dream to once and for all bury tribal sins of the fathers into the grave of forgive and forget.

However, when he went back to Gatundu constituency, the local dumo sang the praises of his father, noting that the son had abandoned the river between. To save his political seat, he had to run as a Kikuyu not as an idealist. Most of these men now vying for office were elected by a majority of their tribesmen. Kalonzo got over 80% of the Kamba vote, Kenyatta’s people the Kikuyus voted 92% for Mwai Kibaki; Raila’s People, the Luos, voted over 90% for his ODM Party. All the others including William Ruto brought in their Tribal grouping in the mix with Kalenjins voting 80% for ODM on behalf of Ruto. The same went for Mudavadi and the rest. Raila and Uhuru are both egocentric maniacs, but front runners.


Both Uhuru’s Father and Raila’s fathers loved Tom Mboya, but politics always took the best of them. Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was afraid that Tom Mboya was getting too much attention and would eventually dethrone him from the Luo Community. Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s Kikuyu inner circle were afraid that Tom Mboya was too close for comfort and would eventually maybe inherit the Kingdom.


Having studied the writings and followed the story of Tom Mboya closely, I have a different take. Tom Mboya did not love Jomo Kenyatta for political gains. He honestly idolized him as an elder brother whose stature was necessary in helping build the nation Mboya dreamed about. This love does not exist between the sons of the women who are part of the Kenyan political foundation today. If it did, both Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta would travel together to the birthplace of Tom Mboya. I traveled to Mboya’s birth place to connect with this great Kenyan. I was disappointed to find a miserable town with nothing reflecting the stature of Tom Mboya’s March 7th 1960 cover on Time Magazine.

These Presidential aspirants should have a fund raising day of reckoning to build a lodge there with a study room for historians of Tom Mboya’s legacy. In every room, there should be a picture frame of Tom Mboya’s 1960 Time Magazine cover. This would be better than the political statue on Tom Mboya Street, which is nothing but a political stunt! I would attend such a meeting on behalf of my father who invited Tom Mboya to Kijabe High School’s graduation sometime before his death to speak to the graduation class. I would also offer the picture of them standing together as Kenyan men, not tribal men, for the Library. On that day, Raila Ondinga and Uhuru Kenyatta should throw a coin and let heads or tails decide whether one will run as president and the other will be vice president, on one party.


Teddy Njoroge Kamau, PhD, SYR/Radio/TV/Director: International Desk. Diaspora Messenger Contributor.

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