- Politics and Social Issues»
- Africa Political & Social Issues
Biography of Uhuru Kenyatta: The Fourth President of Kenya
Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta is the son of the first Prime Minister and later President of the Republic of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta.
Kenyatta was born on October 26, 1991. His first name ‘Uhuru’ is a Swahili word which means ‘Freedom.’ Kenya gained independence in 1963 therefore he was called that name as an indication Kenya will gain independence very soon from the iron hands of her colonialist.
Despite the fact his father was the president of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru spent less time in State House. In fact, during the reign of his father as the president Uhuru spent his growing years in his father’s hometown, Gatundu.
Education And Career
Mr. Kenyatta commenced his early education at Loreto Convent, Nairobi from 1965-1968 and later at St. Mary, a Roman Catholic school situated in Nairobi from 1969 to 1980. His favorite sport being rugby, Uhuru played as a winger for Saint Mary's Nairobi Rugby team.
Sadly, his father died on August 22, 1978 whilst learning at St. Mary.
After completing his learning at St. Mary, he attended Amherst College located at Massachusetts, United States. He graduated from the college in 1985 with Bachelor in Political Science and Economics.
Uhuru Kenyatta’s Political Career
Before entering into politics, Uhuru worked as a bank teller at the Kenya Commercial Bank, Nairobi from 1978-1980; thereafter, in the year 1981 he founded his own first company, Wilham Kenya Ltd which dealt with exportation of horticultural products. In 1994, he sold his company as he wanted to concentrate in politics.
Uhuru Kenyatta met his wife, Margaret in 1978 in Mombasa, later proposing to her in Karen in Nairobi. In 1989 they got married. They are blessed with three children, two sons and one daughter. The sons are Jaba and Jomo Kenyatta, the daughter is Ngina Kenyatta.
His political career started in the early 1990s. During this period, Daniel Torotich arap Moi, the second president of Kenya, did not allow multi-parties as only one political party was reigning in the country, KANU, the state political party. His political party, KANU, was the only political party functioning in the country.
Along with other political leaders ‘fighting’ for political pluralism, Uhuru Kenyatta together with other four young Kenyans joined the ‘fight’ demanding for freedom of forming political parties. In their late twenties including Kenyatta, they were: Mr.Argwings Ceaser Kodhek, Mr. Peter Mboya, Mr. Alfred Gitonga and Mr. Francis Michuki.
Finally, when president Moi gave in to multi-party elections in 1992, Uhuru Kenyatta campaigned for Keneth Matiba as the next president. Nonetheless, Matiba never won the presidential seat.
Before the General Election was to be held on December 1997, Uhuru Kenyatta had built enough foundation of supporters sure of a win as a member of parliament for Gatundu South. Even so, he lost the seat of Gatundu South to Moses Muhia.
Conversely, in 1999 he was appointed by the then President, Daniel Moi, as the new chairman of Kenya Tourism Board. In 2001 he was nominated to parliament by the same president and appointed Minister for Local Government.
In the year 2002, Uhuru contested for presidency on the KANU ticket (after President Moi gave a thumb up Uhuru would be his successor) but was defeated by Mwai Kibaki. He came at second place. He was defeated due to the fact different political parties had merged to form a coalition, NARC (National Alliance Rainbow Coalition), to dethrone KANU from ruling the nation any further.
In 2005, Uhuru leading his team of KANU which teamed up with Liberal Democratic Movement (LDP) wing of NARC campaigned against the draft constitution which Kenyans were to vote for or against. The opposition prevailed. The LDP members had decamped from the NARC coalition as they alleged that the Memorandum of Understanding they had agreed on with Mwai Kibaki before the General Election was never fulfilled.
In December 2007, Mr. Kenyatta backed up Mwai Kibaki for a second term. He withdrew from contending the seat of presidency instead he concerted his sight in competing for the seat of Gatundu South, a constituency which he had lost in 1997. This time around, he won the Gatundu South seat.
Despite the fact the General Election was smooth during the voting day, the results were not comforting. There were a lot of irregularities during vote counting as it was later found out votes were manipulated or falsified. The two principals, Mwai Kibaki and his opponent Raila Odinga were blamed for contributing to the violence that ensued.
Post-election violence erupted when president Kibaki was declared the winner for a second term. It was majorly a war between the Kikuyu and Luo tribe. The violence claimed over 1,000 lives, over 500,000 people were displaced and properties worth millions of shillings were destroyed.
After the former Chairman of United Nations (UN), Koffi Annan, and President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, brokered peace negotiations between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga; a new office was established under the Grand Coalition Government. Kibaki remained as the president while Raila took charge of the office of Prime Minister. Consequently, Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi were named as Deputy Prime Ministers. The Koffi Annan-led talks resulted to the end of post-election violence.
Uhuru Kenyatta was named Finance Minister in 2009 but in January 2012 he resigned due to pressure from the opposition leaders. Jointly with Ruto, they were indicted by the ICC as masterminds of post-election violence. The two principals, Kenyatta and Ruto, and four other Kenyans were named as suspects of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on December 15, 2010.
The six were: Uhuru Kenyatta (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance), William Ruto (Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology), Henry Kosgey (Industrialization Minister), Francis Muthaura (Cabinet Secretary), Joshua arap Sang (Head of operations at KASS FM), and Mohameed Hussein Ali (Police Commissioner).
The charges against Mohammed Ali and Henry Kosgei were not confirmed. The charges against the remaining four were withdrawn for lack of evidence from the prosecution side.
Talk Africa:Live interview with President Uhuru Kenyatta
The Fourth President of Kenya
On March 2013, Uhuru was declared the winner in the hotly contested seat of presidency. He was vying for the seat of presidency on the ticket of JUBILEE coalition. His opponent, Raila Odinga filed a petition case at the Supreme Court on March 11th citing there was rigging of votes during the election and he had evidence to prove.
The Supreme Court at the end of hearing ruled Uhuru Kenyatta was legally the winner. His running mate, Ruto became the Deputy President.
Second Term as President of Kenya
On August 11, 2017 Kenyatta was sworn in as the elected president for the second term by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). He garnered 8,221,094 votes (54.17%) against his opponent, Raila Odinga who got 6,819,456 (44.94%) votes.
Nonetheless, Raila Odinga refused to accept the results. He stated hackers had tinkered with IEBC’S system. He pointed out he was the one leading with Kenyatta following closely behind.
His Memorable Quotes
1) We need to appreciate that we can have different shades of opinion.
2) As large parts of the world age, Africa grows younger by the day. The youthful sons and daughters of Africa are our incredible source.
3) We go into politics for leadership. Politics is not about making enemies, but respecting choices.
4) This country, this continent, does not claim perfection - but we can claim progress.
5) Kenya is aligned to neither East or West; we are, firmly and irreversibly aligned to progress.
6) The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different.
7) Let us walk together to grow the economy. The government, although willing, cannot achieve everything at once.
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Uhuru-Kenyatta > Uhuru Kenyatta < Accessed December 01, 2013.
http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/uhuru-kenyatta-5848.php > The Inspirational Life Story of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta < Accessed December 01, 2013.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30347019 > ICC drops Uhuru Kenyatta charges for Kenya ethnic violence < Accessed March 07, 2015.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/05/crimes-humanity-charges-kenya-president-dropped-uhuru-kenyatta > ICC drops murder and rape charges against Kenyan president < Accessed March 07, 2015.
© 2013 Alianess Benny Njuguna