Who Fought the Other – Thomas Joseph Mboya or Jaramogi Oginga Odinga?

Posted on October 26, 2011

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· Some (specific) Kenyan politicians are known for peddling falsehoods; distorting and dislocating historical facts; advancing dangerously destructive mob mentality and engulfing their supporters in constricting satanic strangleholds. One such falsehood concerns the relationship between Tom Mboya and Jaramogi. Kenyans have been fed/made to believe that Mboya fought Jaramogi, viciously, finally edging him out politically “on behalf of President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.”

· Well, let us walk together and interrogate tangible facts. Maybe then you can make up your mind about who, in actual fact, fought the other. Is it Mboya or Jaramogi? Sir Michael Blundell wrote in his book, “In love with the sunshine” that “before the colonial period, Siaya, the heartland of the Luo people was a self-contained area with a subsistence economy…Land was adequate. The people of the districts were nudists.” He went on to say that those who ventured out “into the outer world to earn money and get education”, undoubtedly, “wore clothes.” Differences started showing between those who ventured out (in search of greener pastures) and those who remained behind (at home).

· According to Blundell, Mboya represented and identified (or stood for) the adventurous lot, those “who had ventured out”, while “Jaramogi represented, identified and stood for those who remained at home”; Mboya yearned for “progress and represented a modern and sophisticated Kenyan society”, while Jaramogi “represented African traditions, old customs, (servitude), and wanted people to remain as remote and unsophisticated” as possible. Jaramogi resisted change. This was a precursor to the current backwardness in Luoland.

· A British MP, John Stonehouse, put it more bluntly: “Oginga Odinga hated Tom Mboya. Odinga felt that (as the elder) he should have the respect and submission of Mboya…But Mboya was intellectually superior.” After the Lancaster House Conference, Blundell observed that “Mboya created the image of a reasoned operative”, while Jaramogi came out “as incoherent, with the suspicions that he was influenced by support from communists further denting his image.”

· As a member of the Legislative Council, Jaramogi vehemently opposed/resisted soil conservation and terracing of cultivated land, dismissing the strong support for soil conservation as “colonial tyranny!”; Blundell later went on to say that when he (Blundell) was Minister for Agriculture, “one of the measures proposed was to increase the mesh size of fishing nets so that the young fish could escape and grow on to maturity. Oginga Odinga would have none of it and condemned it as an infringement on the people’s right to fish how and where they liked.” Jaramogi also opposed the campaign by agricultural officers to destroy the dangerous parasitic weed called ‘stiga’ which was ruining crops in the maize fields of Western Kenya and which remains a menace to date, courtesy of Jaramogi’s intransigence!

· In 1957, during the first general elections in which Africans contested, as candidates and voters, Jaramogi opposed Mboya’s candidature in Nairobi. Nevertheless, Mboya defeated Jaramogi’s candidate Argwings Kodhek to become the first African to be declared elected member of the Legislative Council (Legco) of Kenya. Due to emergency (repressive) laws, Africans were still not allowed to form nationwide political parties or organisations. Mboya’s first agenda in the Legco was to introduce a motion to overturn that draconian piece of legislation and the restriction thereupon.

· After a “reasonable time period”, following Mboya’s motion, the restriction was lifted; and African nationalists’ first order of business was to form KANU, in Kiambu. Jaramogi was in Kiambu to ensure that his enemy, Tom Mboya, was not elected to any of the national posts in the new party, KANU. He (Jaramogi) sponsored Arthur Ochwada against Mboya and “spent heavily bribing delegates.” Mboya was “distressed” by the conspiracy but weathered the storm, winning by only one vote to become KANU’s first Secretary General! Odinga did not give up.

· A year later, Mboya intended to stand in the newly created Nairobi East constituency. About 70% of the registered voters (in the new constituency) were Kikuyu and Jaramogi smelt another chance to try and humiliate Mboya: he sponsored Dr. Munyua Waiyaki to stand against Tom Mboya. Waiyaki was beaten spectacularly: Mboya got over 30 thousands votes to Waiyaki’s over 1 thousand!

· One year later, as Mboya was visiting Ghana at the invitation of President Kwame Nkurumah, and to attend the first All African People’s Conference, Jaramogi “quickly organised the removal of Tom Mboya as Secretary General of African Elected Members Organisation (AEMO).” This “attracted furious all-round resistance; and Mboya was re-instated by unanimous consensus upon his return from Accra!” Jaramogi who had to leak his wounds, yet again, was said to be “burning with rage.” Jaramogi never gave up! He tried something more daring, dramatic but fraught with danger.

· On 5th July, 1965, Jaramogi, used his disciple Wanguhu Ng’ang’a, then a lecturer at Lumumba Institute, to stage a coup de tat, at the KANU headquarters, to kick out Mboya for him. Using raw violence, Ng’ang’a stormed KANU headquarters, then situated along Mfangano Street, accompanied by 27 goons/supporters of Jaramogi and declared that Tom Mboya had been ousted as Secretary General of KANU! Upon receipt of the news of the “attempted coup”, President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, who was also the President of KANU, was said to have become “very angry!”

· On Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s instructions, the entire group of 27 (goons) was arrested, charged and sentenced, pronto, to imprisonment of one year each, for the “breach of the peace.” To show the seriousness of the matter, Mzee Kenyatta ordered the (then) Attorney General, Charles Njonjo, to appear in Court and to personally prosecute the case. In his brief remarks, Njonjo, told the court that the violence had been “masterminded by someone in high circles in this country.” Njonjo meant Jaramogi!

· Tom Mboya’s patience snapped after the violence of 5th July, 1965! He decided to teach Jaramogi elementary lessons in political coup de tats, some organisational skills, some political good manners, etc. A special delegates’ conference of KANU was (hurriedly) convened at Limuru, in 1966: Jaramogi’s portfolio of Vice-President, which he had used to undermine both Mboya (and Mzee Jomo Kenyatta) was abolished and 8 new Provincial VPs created! A bitter Jaramogi walked out and went on to form the Kenya People’s Union (KPU).

· In 1968, as a sign of acute desperation, Jaramogi sought external assistance, albeit of a macabre variety, to “finish Tom Mboya!” Through (then) President of Uganda, Apollo Milton Obote, Jaramogi brought “a West African magician from Senegal into the country for weeks of consultations!”

· A few months later, ON 5TH JULY, 1969, a lone gunman accomplished what Jaramogi had failed to achieve through Wanguhu Ng’ang’a’s abortive coup against Thomas Joseph Mboya ON 5TH JULY, 1965. NB: NOTE THE SIMILARITY IN THE DATES!

· In his statement to the police, Nahashon Isaac Njenga Njoroge, claimed that on the fateful day, 5TH JULY, 1969, he “was with Wanguhu Ng’ang’a standing a few metres from the scene of the crime!” Wonders will never cease. SO, THEN, WHO IS THE BIG MAN NAHASHON ISAAC NJENGA NJOROGE WAS REFERRING TO?? The jury is still out! Alluta Continua.

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