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Kenya’s most powerful Ministers et al in the country’s successive governments



The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Interior Karanja Kibicho is easily the most powerful State official in Kenya today, after President Uhuru Kenyatta and Dr Kibicho’s boss, Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i.

Every so often, you hear members of Deputy President William Ruto’s unofficial Tangatanga political team crying foul.

They talk about State officials whom, they say, are “abusing power, disobeying court orders and frustrating the deputy president”.

Elimination of the Deputy President

On a number of occasions, they have come out openly, to mention Kibicho and Dr Matiang’i. At one point, last year, they alleged there was a plot to physically eliminate the deputy president.

The DP himself is believed to have written a complaint to the police. Ironically, when arrests were made, it was his Tangatanga side that was hit.

Matters remain before the courts, with officials from his office facing the law. That is how power behaves. The complainant easily becomes the villain.

One boss

Matiang’i makes no bones about his clout generally and scorn for the deputy president in particular. He openly tells public gatherings that he only recognizes one boss – President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Today Matiang’i is, of course, a super Cabinet secretary. He was always rather special from the start of the Jubilee regime.

First CS appointed

In April 2013, he was the first CS appointed, even as Uhuru and Dr Ruto haggled over who else they should bring on board and where.

Then, Uhuru and Ruto were regarded as equal shareholders in the Jubilee Coalition Government of 2013. Uhuru was only the first among equals.

Their appointees dared not disdain either of the two principals. With Uhuru now securely in his second term, things have changed.

Sweeping powers

In January last year, he gave Matiang’i sweeping powers through Executive Order No 1 of 2019. The order gave the Interior CS the mandate to co-ordinate development matters in the Cabinet.

The appointment signaled the start of the DP’s declining fortunes. Conversely, it also made Matiang’i the most powerful person in government, after the president.

According to the arrangement, which is still in place, he reports directly to the president. Safely barricaded behind the president, there is nothing the DP can do about Matiang’i, except to complain.

Exercising of power

Both Matiang’i and his PS enjoy not only the exercising of power but also displaying it. They especially enjoy the opportunity to taunt the DP and the circle around him.

In this comportment, they represent a phenomenon that Kenyans have lived with since independence.

Throughout the life of the republic, there have come to the centre of power men who call the shots beyond their official square.

Untouchable breed of leaders

They are an untouchable breed of leaders whom everyone in Government, and sometimes outside, is afraid of.

Their word is law unto itself. You cross their path at your own peril and risk. With impunity, they can ignore court orders and summonses by Parliament.

They fear nobody and hold no one in high regard, except the appointing authority. Once in a while, there has been the extreme maverick who forgot to honor even the appointing authority.

The price

He went on to pay the price. Kenyans of age will recall the ‘Expatriate Leaving’ era. It was the grand season of Africanization of the public service in a newly independent African country.

The African was taking over from the foreigner (often a white) expatriate, in a country that was being marketed to the outside world as the Eldorado of East Africa.

The great irony was that while it was branded as the place to go, the white community that had so far rod roughshod through it was leaving.

Departing expats

The departing expats were selling off their personal effects. Accordingly, they placed notices in newspapers, inviting buyers for their presumed quality stuff.

This passing on of their domestic and, especially, motorized items signified more than just the passing on of symbols of social status.

It also signified the handing over of power to the next set of leaders. Africanisation of personnel was government policy and programme.

Mixed package

It came as a mixed package of the good, the bad and the ugly. The legacy of that age (1960-1982) lives on.

It has retained many of the old trappings. Africanization brought to the public space and office competence and merit.

Also packaged was cronyism, mediocrity and incompetence. In either case, it often converted the public office into a powerful and dreaded personal tool.

Parallel system of government

The people privileged to occupy that space have run an almost parallel system of government, to the established constitutional Executive arm of government.

Because of their might and style, they have been loved and dreaded in almost equal measure. Through the decades, they have ranged from permanent secretaries to provincial administrators.

Flowing in the same stream with them have been functionaries with no known specific office, or authority, around the centre of power.

Early 1960s

Africanisation was in the early 1960s spurred by an almost desperate move to bring African professionals into government. The pace was painfully slow, however.

The famous Sessional Paper No 10 of 1965 on African Socialism and its Application to Development lamented the shortage of Kenyan African professionals.

Not just in the public service, but everywhere else. Some of the citizens arriving in these positions, therefore, went on to consolidate their presence.

How government works

They become exceptionally powerful and untouchable. Knowing best how government works and how to pull strings and to get everyone do their bidding.

Even politicians newly arrived at the centre of power after a successful election cycle learned that they would depend on them to run government.

Among the first Africans to occupy these powerful offices was Geoffrey Kariithi, who served as head of the civil service from 1967 to 1979, having grown in the system.

Duncan Ndegwa

Ahead of him was Duncan Ndegwa, who served from independence to 1967, when he went to work for the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) as the governor.

The CBK governor remained a close confidant of President Jomo Kenyatta’s to the very end of Jomo’s life.

He was part of the power axis in the Kenyatta years, as is made manifest in his biographical writing, Walking Through the Kenyatta Struggles. 

Real Centre of power

The real centre of power in the public service, however, was Kariithi. Virtually everything in government gravitated around Kariithi.

The migration of the legal system from a white-dominated entity was undertaken under his watch, with the visible hand of Attorney General Charles Njonjo.

Mr Njonjo often resisted the effort, however, preferring instead to have white judges. Kariithi was, through most of the journey, the kingpin in the Africanisation process.

1970 – 1971

The Duncan Ndegwa Commission Report of 1970-71 was made under his watch. It opened up strategic business opportunities for politically-correct individuals with the government.

New African millionaires were made overnight. An Alliance High School alumnus, Kariithi was both powerful and very highly respected.

His record was almost impeccable, with the exception of the recurrent complaint that the public service was top heavy with one tribe. A matter that has remained the curse of the nation to date.

Office of the Head of Civil Service

He was, however, more respected than dreaded. Some of the later occupants of the office of Head of the Civil Service would be more feared than respected.

Kariithi belonged to a category of Kenyans whom the British had deliberately groomed as an alternative elite to the dominant white.

Others were individuals like Charles Njonjo, John Michuki, Jeremiah Kiereini, Robert Ouko, Charles Koinange, Matere Keriri, Kenneth Matiba, Simeon Nyachae and Paul Boit.

First generation of African technocrats

They became the first generation of African technocrats and power wielders in government. It is also instructive that all of these people became leading investors.

And successful entrepreneurs in finance, money and banking. They also developed vast interests in industrialization, agriculture and farming, health, education and in many other sectors.

Much of this happened under Kariithi’s watch. Initially, they each led beautiful lives away from direct political limelight.

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Ouko and Koinange

While also influencing the direction and shape of things in the country. With the exception of Ouko and Koinange, the rest also went into politics, with differing fortunes.

Daniel arap Moi’s ascendance to power came with the concurrent retirement of Kariithi from the public service and his replacement with Jeremiah Kiereini.

Kiereini had already occupied powerful and sometimes even dreaded and controversial positions, right from the colonial times.

Mau Mau years

During the Mau Mau years (1947 to 1960) he served as a rehabilitation officer and a member of the dreaded home guard fraternity.

Later worked in provincial administration, rising to the position of provincial commissioner, before becoming permanent secretary and later head of the public service.

Was remarkably close to the powerful Attorney General Njonjo. He is reputed to have been the other hand of the all-powerful Njonjo tenure in the AG’s office.

1983 – 1984 traitor drama

Instructively, he was caught up in the 1983-84 ‘traitor’ drama that saw Njonjo fall from grace to grass.

Kiereini, however, went into management of his vast business empire, while Njonjo retreated into the shadows.

Earlier, Kiereini had been one of the key people in State security services in the Kenyatta regime. Together with the police bigwigs that were Bernard Hinga and Ben Gethi.

James Kanyotu and Kiereini

As well as head of intelligence, James Kanyotu, Kiereini was one of Jomo’s principal advisers on security matters. He served in the Defence ministry at the time.

This team is credited with cracking a ring associated with a coup plot against the Kenyatta government in 1970-71.

Together with Njonjo and Vice President Moi, they worked for the removal of Gen Ndolo as chief of military staff and Kitili Mwendwa as Chief Justice. The two were alleged to have been complicit in the coup plot.


Simeon Nyachae succeeded Kiereini as chief secretary and head of public service from November 1984. He was another power broker who visibly enjoyed the feel of power.

Mr Nyachae’s narrative in his autobiography, Walking through the Corridors of Service, gives an elaborate exposé of how the system worked.

After his training in the United Kingdom, Nyachae returned to Kenya to take up a job with East African Breweries as a labor relations officer in 1959.

Senior Chief Musa Nyandusi

This did not go down well with his father, Senior Chief Musa Nyandusi, as well as other persons in the power brokerage of the time.

He was literally blackmailed into giving up a lucrative position in the private sector to become a district commissioner (DC) in Kang’undo and, later, in Makueni.

He worked both as a DC and a first-class district magistrate. It was the start of a journey that would eventually place him at the very top of the public service. Domiciled in the Office of the President.

Tenure in Harambee House

During his tenure in Harambee House, Nyachae was both respected and feared. A workaholic who did not know such a thing as a break.

Or working without clearly defined goals and processes; he was not the kind of person joyriders and hunters of fortune in government would be comfortable with.

He is remarkably remembered for spearheading the District Focus for Rural Development programme of the mid-1980s.

Policy and the public service

He drove the policy and the public service with zeal. That he was very close to President Moi was never in doubt.

Their closeness saw them get into business partnerships, apart from working together in government.

Nyachae’s temporary fall from grace (1987-1992) was sudden and shocking. When he retired from the service in February 1987, aged 55, the political guns from his own native Kisii focused on him.

Kisii professionals

This was despite the perception that he had fixed Kisii professionals in prominent positions in government and opened up business opportunities for many more.

As soon as he stepped out of power, however, the political class in Kisii District assembled in Keberigo in 1987 to make hostile pronouncements against him.

They wormed their way to the centre of power in the Kanu government. They made Nyachae an outlaw and a veritable outcast.

Nyachae’s temporal downfall

From that moment, it was a downward spiral and loneliness for the next five years. He would only bounce back after the restoration of multiparty democracy in 1991.

The great irony was that Nyachae had been one of the powerful hidden hands in the removal of multiparty democracy a decade earlier.

The Mwakenya incarcerations took place under his watch as the head of public service. The monster he had helped to create in these sunny days returned to haunt him after 1987.

Ogongo Oyugi

Hezekiah Ogongo Oyugi, a man of small stature, sharp penetrating eyes and a shrill voice, easily remains the most dreaded individual at the centre of government in Kenya, after Nicholas Biwott and Njonjo.

Njonjo, who turned 100 years a few weeks ago, began exercising State power before he became attorney general.

Charles Njonjo

He worked in various positions in the colonial State Law Office before independence. He was popular with the colonial establishment and earmarked early for great things.

The jury remains out on whether he did a good job or a bad one at the time and after. Njonjo was reputed to have had a file on virtually every notable individual in the country.

If you began going astray, they said, he would summon you to his office and give you time to peruse your file. He then allowed you to go and think things through.

Msaliti Affair

Did you want to continue in the direction you were going, or did you have a change of heart? Yet Njonjo would himself fall from grace in the purge that was the ‘Msaliti Affair’ of the mid 1980s.

Back to Oyugi, the former provincial commissioner, turned permanent secretary, turned head of the public service, was a man who took no prisoners.

Dr. Robert Ouko

He was the head of the service in 1990, when Dr Robert Ouko was killed in circumstances that remain a mystery to date.

He was arrested and arraigned in court for suspected complicity in the mysterious murder. Like about a dozen or so other people whose names were linked to the Ouko death, Oyugi died suddenly, before the matter could be determined.

In the golden era of his power and authority, senior public servants were said to always salute and speak to him while standing, even when the conversation was on the phone.

Excessively wealthy individual

An excessively wealthy individual whose fortunes came from mysterious sources, Oyugi was said to have no regard for anybody.

He splashed and flaunted his massive wealth, when one of his daughters was married off at a lavish wedding at his home in Oyugis (named for his grandfather).

Oyugi was the proverbial bird that attempted to wrestle with his personal spirit at the end of a sumptuous meal.

Ambassador Francis Muthaura

When he reached this point, even the president was nothing before him. He would arrive at functions after the president, including at his daughter’s wedding. That was the beginning of the end for him.

Ambassador Francis Muthaura, came in at the start of the Mwai Kibaki presidency. He was a quiet and soft-spoken power wielder.

He was not popular at all with the political opposition, but was loved by the establishment and by his compatriots from Mt Kenya.

State system

He presided over a State system that was unashamedly Mt Kenya dominated. While he was not himself showy, those around him behaved like power peacocks.

Former Kibwezi MP, and a Kibaki loyalist, Kalembe Ndile, lamented about these people, “Each time they open their mouths, Kibaki loses 10,000 votes.”

Some of these individuals are still active in politics, with diverse fortunes in the post-Kibaki era. Mr Muthaura was the powerful man behind the mask that they were.

Post election violence 0f 2007/8

Muthaura himself got into trouble following the post-election violence of 2007-08, which saw him indicted before the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

His risen star faded suddenly, as he gave way to Francis Kimemia, who enjoyed exercising power and demonstrating that power was good. Mr Kimemia served under both President Kibaki and President Kenyatta, before going into politics.

After Kimemia, power has now shifted to Matiang’i and Kibicho. They are the latest stars in what can be sometimes a very treacherous Milky Way. How they will end up is anybody’s guess.


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Raila Odinga, the 1982 coup and multipartism achievement



The Coup

At 3am on Sunday, 1 August 1982, a group of soldiers from the Kenya Air Force led by Senior Private Hezekiah Ochuka, attempted to overthrow the government.

The then president was Daniel Arap Moi. After the failed attempt to overthrow him, President Moi re-organized Kenya’s security architecture.

Staffing it with his loyalists. And then he ensured a law was passed in parliament that gave him emergency powers. Placing the provincial administration under the president’ office.

Odinga’s Arrest

Odinga was arrested and charged with treason after being accused of being among the masterminds of the 1982 coup.

He was released six years later in February 1988 but detained again in August of the same year to be released in June 1989.

Detention Without Trial

In an era of unrelenting human rights abuse by the Kenyan government, Odinga was placed under house arrest.

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For seven months after evidence seemed to implicate him along with his late father Oginga Odinga.

Accused for collaborating with the plotters of a failed coup attempt against President Daniel Arap Moi in 1982.

Death of Civilians and Soldiers

Hundreds of Kenyan civilians and thousands of rebel soldiers died in the coup. Several foreigners also died. Odinga was charged with treason and detained without trial for six years.

A biography released 14 years later in July 2006, apparently with Odinga’s approval, indicated that Odinga was far more involved in the attempted coup than he had previously admitted.

After its publication, some Members of Parliament in Kenya called for Odinga to be arrested and charged.

Statute of Limitations

But the statute of limitations had already passed and the information contained in the biography did not amount to an open confession on his part.

Among some of his most painful experiences was when his mother died in 1984 but the prison wardens took two months to inform him of her death.

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He was released on 6 February 1988 only to be rearrested in September 1988 for his pro-democracy and human rights agitation.

Poor Governance

At a time when the country continued to descend deep into the throes of poor governance. And the despotism of single-party rule.

Multi-party democracy Kenya, was then, by law, a one-party state. His encounters with the authoritarian government generated an aura of intrigue about him.

And it was probably due to this that his political followers christened him “Agwambo”, Luo for “The Mystery” or “Unpredictable” or “Jakom”, meaning chairman.

1989 Release and Incarceration in 1990

Odinga was released on 12 June 1989, only to be incarcerated again on 5 July 1990, together with Kenneth Matiba.

And former Nairobi mayor Charles Rubia, both multiparty system and human rights crusaders. Odinga was finally released on 21 June 1991.

And in October he fled the country to Norway amid indications that the increasingly corrupt Kenyan government, was attempting to assassinate him without success.

Multi-party politics

At the time of Odinga’s departure to Norway, the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD), a movement formed to agitate for the return of multi-party democracy to Kenya, was newly formed.

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In February 1992, Odinga returned to join FORD, then led by his father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

He was elected Vice Chairman of the General Purposes Committee of the party. In the months running up to the 1992 General Election, FORD split into Ford Kenya.

Raila’s father

Led by Odinga’s father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and FORD-Asili led by Kenneth Matiba. Odinga became Ford-Kenya’s Deputy Director of Elections.

Odinga won the Langata Constituency parliamentary seat, previously held by Philip Leakey of KANU. Odinga became the second father of multi-party democracy in Kenya after Kenneth Matiba.

When Jaramogi Oginga Odinga died in January 1994 and Michael Wamalwa Kijana succeeded him as FORD-Kenya chairman, Odinga challenged him for the party leadership.

Member of Parliament

The elections were marred by controversy after which Odinga resigned from FORD-Kenya to join the National Development Party (NDP).

In his first bid for the presidency in the 1997 General Election, Odinga finished third after President Moi, the incumbent, and Democratic Party candidate Mwai Kibaki.

He however retained his position as the Langata MP.


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Tom Mboya, the first among equals in Kenya’s independence cabinet 1930 – 1969



Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya (15 August 1930 – 5 July 1969) was a Kenyan trade unionist. Educator, Pan-Africanist, author, independence activist, and statesman.

He was one of the founding fathers of the Republic of Kenya. He led the negotiations for independence at the Lancaster House Conferences.

And was instrumental in the formation of Kenya’s independence party – the Kenya African National Union (KANU).

First KANU Secretary General

He served KANU as its first Secretary-General. He laid the foundation for Kenya’s capitalist and mixed economy policies.

This was at the height of the Cold War and set up several of the country’s key labor institutions.

Mboya’s intelligence, charm, leadership, and oratory skills won him admiration from all over the world.

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Mboya’s Global Activities

He gave speeches, participated in debates and interviews across the world, in favor of Kenya’s independence from British colonial rule.

He also spoke at several rallies in the goodwill of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.

Mboya was elected Conference Chairman in 1958 at the age of 28 at the All-African Peoples’ Conference, convened by Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.

Mboya the Trade Unionist

He helped build the Trade Union Movement in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. As well as across Africa.

He also served as the Africa Representative to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).

In 1959, Mboya called a conference in Lagos, Nigeria, to form the first All-Africa ICFTU labor organization.

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Engagements with US Presidents

Mboya worked with both John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. to create educational opportunities for African students.

An effort that resulted in the Kennedy Airlifts of the 1960s enabling East African students to study at American colleges. Notable beneficiaries of this airlift include Wangari Maathai.

The other beneficiary is Barack Obama Sr. Mboya was the first Kenyan to be featured on the front page cover of Time magazine in a painting by Bernard Safran in 1960.


His parents were Leonardus Ndiege from the Suba ethnic group of Kenya. He hailed from Rusinga Island and Marcella Onyango from the Luo ethnic group of Kenya.

Both of whom were low-income sisal cutters working on the colonial farm of Sir William Northrup McMillan, at today’s Juja Farm Area.

Thomas (“Tom”) Joseph Odhiambo Mboya was born at this colonial sisal farm on 15 August 1930, near the town of Thika, in what was called the White Highlands of Kenya.

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His father’s career

Mboya’s father Leonard Ndiege was later promoted as an overseer at this sisal plantation and worked for 25 years.

Eventually Leonard and Marcella had seven children, five sons and two daughters. When Mboya was 9 years old, his father sent him to a mission school in Kamba region.

Mboya was educated at various Catholic mission schools. In 1942, he joined St. Mary’s School Yala – a Catholic secondary school in Yala.

Mboya’s Education

His secondary school is located in Nyanza province where Mboya began his education in English and History.

In 1946, he attended the Holy Ghost College (later Mang’u High School), where he passed well enough to proceed to do his Cambridge School Certificate.

In 1948, Mboya joined the Royal Sanitary Institute’s Medical Training School for Sanitary Inspectors at Nairobi, qualifying as an inspector in 1950.

Expertise in Economics

He also enrolled in a certificate course in economics at Efficiency Correspondence College of South Africa.

In 1955, he received a scholarship from Britain’s Trades Union Congress to attend Ruskin College, University of Oxford, where he studied industrial management.

After his graduation in 1956, he returned to Kenya and joined politics at a time when the British government was gaining control over the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, Mau Mau uprising.

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Time in Politics

In the newly independent country, Mboya, who was a pre-independence Minister of Labour since 1962, was appointed by the New Prime Minister, Jomo Kenyatta.

He became the MP for Nairobi Central Constituency (today, Kamukunji Constituency). And became Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

A post he held from 1 June 1963, until December 1964. He created the National Social Security Fund, Kenya’s social security scheme.

Proactiveness in Cabinet

He also established an Industrial Court to hear labour-management cases.

When Kenya became a republic on 12 December 1964, the new President Kenyatta appointed Tom Mboya to the Economic Planning and Development Ministry.

And transferred all functions of his former Justice ministry to the office of Attorney General under Charles Mugane Njonjo.

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Sessional Paper 10

Together with his deputy then Mwai Kibaki, he issued Sessional Paper 10, which defined Kenya’s form of economic policies, when it was debated and passed by parliament in 1965.

Mboya presented the Sessional Paper No. 10 for debate in parliament in April 1965 covering the period of 1964 – 1970.

Under the title African Socialism and its Application to Planning in Kenya. Kenyatta and Mboya were known advocates of a non-aligned international policy.

Position on Capitalism

Not wanting blanket application of capitalism, while completely abhorring scientific socialism. In 1966,Tom Mboya was removed from the economic planning ministry.

And Kibaki was appointed for the first time as full Minister for Commerce and Industry.

Mboya’s development plans at the Economic Planning Ministry were credited for Kenya’s development rate of 7%. Which was sustained during his tenure as the Planning Minister.

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He retained the portfolio as Minister for Economic Planning and Development until his death at the age of 38.

When he was gunned down on 5 July 1969 on Government Road (now Moi Avenue), Nairobi CBD. After visiting Chaani’s Pharmacy.

Nahashon Isaac Njenga Njoroge was convicted for the murder and later hanged. After his arrest, Njoroge asked:

Big man behind Mboya’s death

“Why don’t you go after the big man?” Due to such statements, suspicions arose that Mboya’s shooting was a political assassination.

Outrage over his assassination led to riots in the major cities of Kenya. President Jomo Kenyatta gave a eulogy at Mboya’s requiem mass.

Saying of his colleague, “Kenya’s independence would have been seriously compromised were it not for the courage and steadfastness of Tom Mboya.”

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Mboya’s remembrance

A statue of Mboya was installed on Moi Avenue, where he was killed, and the nearby busy Victoria Street was renamed Tom Mboya Street in his honor.

Mboya left a wife and five children. He is buried in a mausoleum on Rusinga Island, which was built in 1970.

Mboya’s role in Kenya’s politics and transformation is the subject of increasing interest, especially with the prominence of American politician Barack Obama.

Links to Barack Obama Senior

Obama’s father, Barack Obama, Sr., was a US-educated Kenyan who benefited from Mboya’s scholarship program in the 1960s.

Going on to get married during his stay there, siring the future Illinois Senator and President. Obama Sr. had seen Mboya shortly before the assassination.

And testified at the ensuing trial. Obama Sr. believed he was later targeted in a hit-and-run incident as a result of this testimony.

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Marriage and Family

Tom Mboya married Pamela Odede on Saturday, 20 January 1962 at St. Peter Claver’s Catholic Church on Racecourse Road, in Nairobi.

Pamela, a graduate of the University of Makerere, was the daughter of politician Walter Odede. They had five children.

Their daughters are Maureen Odero, a high court judge in Mombasa and Susan Mboya, a Coca-Cola executive, who continues the education airlift program initiated by Tom Mboya.

Links to Evans Kidero

And is married to former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero. Their sons included Lucas Mboya, and twin brothers Peter (died in a 2004 motorcycle accident) and Patrick (died aged four).

After Tom’s death, Pamela had one child, Tom Mboya Jr, with Alphonse Okuku, the brother of Tom Mboya.

Pamela died of an illness in January 2009 while seeking treatment in South Africa.


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The man Wafula Chebukati, the controversial electoral Chairman



Wafula Chebukati – IEBC’s current boss is the subject of this article as we look into his biography, educational background, career journey, and personal life.

Kenya’s elections regulatory agency, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) established in 2011 is mandated with conducting or supervising referendum.

And elections to an elective body or office established by Law and other legal elections in Kenya.


Wafula W. Chebukati was born in 1961 and celebrates his birthday on 22nd December. He hails from Trans Nzoia County and later moved to Bungoma County.

Mr. Chebukati began his academic journey in St. Peters Primary School in Mumias where he excelled in his certification exams.

Because of his success, he secured a place in Lenana School after Bokoli Secondary school. Chebukati later went on to join the University of Nairobi Law School in Parklands.

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Undergraduate degree

He spent four years in his undergraduate degree and two more in the Kenya School of Law as he built his Law career.

Additionally, Mr. Wafula enrolled at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) for his MBA.

Chebukati’s career spans over thirty years with specialization in litigation and dispute resolution, company mergers and acquisitions, maritime, conveyancing, and labor laws.

Cootow and Associates

The IEBC boss is the founder of a law firm named Cootow and Associates Advocates based in Nairobi and has been operational since 2006.

Chebukati also has a political background having vied for a parliamentary seat in the 2007 general elections to represent the people of Saboti.

Chebukati lost in the elections and from then went on to resign from his life-long membership to Hon. Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement.

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Non Party

Chebukati has since then affirmed his non-affiliation to any political party, despite some analysts citing his likely bias towards the Building Bridges Initiative.

Chebukati took up his position as the IEBC chairman in 2017. He was placed in charge of ensuring that the country would undertake a free, fair, and credible general election.

He worked with IEBC commissioners in the elections which later on had to be repeated for the presidential seat.

2022 General Elections

Mr. Chebukati is currently tasked with establishing new systems and improving existing ones in preparation for the highly anticipated 2022 general elections.

Wafula W. Chebukati is an avid golf player being a member of the Kenya Golfing Society. He has also held leadership positions in the golf clubs of Nyali and Mombasa.

The IEBC boss keeps details on his family away from the public and private. Mr. Chebukati is however married and has children.

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