Biography of Uhuru Kenyatta - The Fourth President of Kenya
Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta is the son of the founding father of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. He was born on October 26, 1961; two years before Kenya Kenya independence. He was born in the year October 26, 1961; two years before Kenya gained independence from her colonialist, Britain.
‘Uhuru’ is a Kiswahili word which means ‘freedom.’ Jomo Kenyatta, one of the freedom fighters for the realization of independence in Kenya from the oppressive hands of the British rule called his son by that name to signify that expectation.
Despite the fact his father was the president of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru spent less time in the State House. In fact, during the reign of his father as the president, Uhuru spent his growing years in his father’s hometown, Gatundu.
The only birthday Uhuru ever to celebrate in State House was when he was seven years-old in the year 1968.
Education And Career
Mr. Kenyatta commenced his early education from Kindergarten to standard two at Loreto Convent, Nairobi from 1965-1968. From 1969 to 1980 he attended St. Mary, a Roman Catholic school situated in Nairobi. As a student in this school, Uhuru played as a winger for Saint Mary's Nairobi Rugby team.
Sadly, his father died on August 22, 1978 whilst studying at St. Mary. Later, he attended Amherst College, Massachusetts, United States. He graduated from the college with Bachelor in Political Science and Economics in 1985.
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 best friend, 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 time, the then second president of Kenya, Daniel Torotich Arap Moi did not allow the freedom of political pluralism. His political party, KANU, was the only political party functioning.
Therefore, in the mid-1990 among other political leaders ‘fighting’ for political pluralism, Uhuru Kenyatta together with other four young Kenyans joined the ‘fight’ demanding for the freedom of forming political parties. Mr. Kenyatta together with his friends were in their late 20s. The four young Kenyans including Uhuru were Mr. Argwings Ceaser Kodhek, Mr. Peter Mboya, Mr. Alfred Gitonga and Mr. Francis Michuki.
Finally, when president Moi allowed multi-party elections in 1992, Uhuru Kenyatta campaigned for Keneth Matiba in the position of presidency. 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. He lost the seat of Gatundu South to Moses Muhia.
However, 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 a KANU ticket (after President Moi gave a thumb Uhuru would be his successor) during the General Election but was defeated by Mwai Kibaki. He came at second place. He was defeated as a result of different political parties that had merged to form a coalition, NARC (National Alliance Rainbow Coalition), to defeat KANU from continuing ruling the nation. Mwai Kibaki was the coalition's presidential flag bearer.
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 it. 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 decided to contend for the seat of Gatundu South, a constituency which he had lost in 1997. 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 so many irregularities as it was later found out the election was rigged. 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 tribes. Also, some tribes contributed to the ensuing violence by supporting either Kikuyus or Luos, or their hatred with other tribes. The violence claimed over 1000 lives, over 350,000 people were displaced and properties worth millions of shillings were destroyed.
After the former UN Chairman 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. Kibak remained as the president while Raila took charge of the office of Prime Minister. Consequently, Uhuru and Ruto 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. This was as a result of Uhuru Kenyatta named as one of the masterminds of post-election violence together with William Ruto. He was named as a suspect of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on December 15, 2010.
He was charged of the crimes against humanity by ICC along six others.
Currently, only three are facing the crimes against humanity linked to the 2008 post-election violence – Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy president, William Ruto and former local radio presenter.
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 after General Election was held on that month. 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 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.
UPDATE: The prosecutors withdrew the charges against the three starting with Uhuru Kenyatta on December 5, 2014; the others following months later. As of date there are no new charges against any of the three.
His Memorable Quotes
The following are some of the quotes that were uttered by Uhuru Kenyatta during his reign as president during his first term in the office. The quotes have been extracted from Nation, BornRich, and MukuriMax.
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