From ArticleWorld

Jome Kenyatte was an acclaimed African politician. He first joined politics in his late twenties and went on to become Kenya’s first prime minister and president.


Kenyatte was born Kamau wa Ngengi in British East Africa (present-day Kenya) on October 20, 1982. The exact year is unclear and has been estimated from 1889 to 1895. Kenyatte’s parents died when he was very young, and he was sent to work for his medicine man grandfather.

Kenyatte was educated at the Scottish Mission Centre at Thogoto and converted to Christianity in 1914. His name was changed to John Peter, and he later changed it again to Johnstone Kamau Kenyatte.

In 1920, Kanyatte married Grace Wahu and worked for the Nairobo City Council water department. Kanyatte and Grace had a son in 1920 named Peter Muigai.

In 1924, Kanyatte joined the Kikuyu Central Association and worked on Kikuyu tribal land disputes in 1928. Also in 1928, Kanyatte began editing Muigwithania, a regional newspaper.

In 1931, Kanyatte started studies at the Woodbrooke Quaker College in Birmingham. He also studied at the University of the Toilers of the East in Moscow, University College London, and the London School of Economics where he studied social anthropology.

In 1943, Kanyatte married Englishwoman Edna Clarke. Her left her and their son, Peter Magana, in 1946 when he returned to Kenya.

Upon his return to Kenya, Kanyatte married a third time and founded the Pan-African Federation. He headed Kenya Teachers College and the Kenya African Union.

Kanyatte’s third wife, Grace Wanjiku, died in childbirth in 1950. He married a forth time to Ngina Muhoho.

In 1952, Kanyatta was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Mau Mau Rebellion and spent several years in prison.

Upon his release, Kenyatta was elected Kenya African National Union president and served on the Legislative Council. The 1963 elections gave Kenyatta’s political party won majority – 83 out of 124 seats. Kenyatta was named prime minister. Upon Kenya’s independence on December 12, 1963, Kenyatta was named executive president.

While Kenyatta was criticized for owning the largest amount of land and giving choice land to his family and favoring his tribe, the kikuyu, in many decisions, Kenyatta is also responsible for Kenya’s involvement in the United Nations and for keeping a relatively peaceful nation.

Kenyatta died on August 22, 1978. His body is buried in Nairobi.