In the footsteps of his father – Uhuru Kenyatta

Posted: April 18, 2015 in Africa, Kenya
Tags: , , ,

Love him or hate him, the fourth président du Kenya rocks! He’s easily the coolest president in the world right now. Save for the scandals and terror attacks tarnishing his able leadership, he’s proven himself a performer, democrat, and a leader.
Kenyatta
Mzee Kenyatta is acclaimed from all quarters of the world as a true son of Africa, a visionary leader. During his tenure, Kenya enjoyed political stability, and economic progress. His success despite such heavy odds is why he will forever be immortalized in African and World history books alongside other black nationalists like Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, and Marcus Garvey, just to mention but a few. In 1974, he declared free primary education up to primary grade 4. He is also remembered for urging Kenyans to preserve their culture and heritage. Very few people are aware that Jomo Kenyatta acted in the movie Sanders of the River (1934) as an extra. The movie was.directed by Alexander Korda and starring Paul Robeson. While his son may not be acting in movies any soon, he’s definitely starring in selfies.

Forgiving nature
Jomo Kenyatta will be remembered for his contributions in fighting for independence, one he paid for after being imprisoned for seven years hard labour for his part in the organisation of the rebel Mau Mau movement. It would have been expected that he would be very bitter with the whites settlers for this. However, armed with some knowledge he had acquired from his stay and study in the UK, he, just like Mandela, acquired a reconciliatory tone and asked them to remain to help in efforts of rebuilding a better, free Kenya that would stand out as the pride of Africa.

Just like his father, Uhuru Kenyatta clinched the presidency on the back of pending court case at the International Criminal Court at the Hague. The West will be remembered warning Kenyans that ‘choices have consequences’ urging them to vote for his competitor instead, a typical colonial hubris. Despite all odds Uhuru won with an overwhelming majority attaining the threshold required. He has since been vindicated, and has also adopted a reconciliation tone with his accusers whom he maintains strong working relations with. US president Barack Obama, whose father was a Kenyan will also be visiting the country in June which is a further proof of improved relations between Uhuru’s administration and the west.
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Presidential Standard Flag
Just like his father, Uhuru presidential standard flag is very much the same as his fathers. Jomo Kenyatta had a blue presidential standard which he adopted in 1970 after changing the initial one.
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But unlike his father’s which was dark blue with a yellow cockerel, Uhuru’s presidential standard is light blue, bearing the shield emblem and the two spears with a dove
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Pan Africanists
Kenyatta has been referred to as an Epitome of Indigenous Pan-Africanism. He was a pioneer and giant African Pan-Africanist, nationalist and intellectual. As a pan-Africanist, the late Kenyatta together with other founding presidents Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Patrice Lumumba of the Republic of Congo, Leopold Senghor of Senegal among others joined hands in spreading the message and values of pan-Africanism which emphasized a form of intellectualism, and political and economic co-operation that would lead to the political unity of Africa. The pan-Africanist spirit, advocated that riches of Africa be used for the benefit, upliftment, development and enjoyment of African people. It is the outstanding African scholars, political scientists, historians and philosophers living in Africa and the Diaspora who developed pan-Africanism that was conceived in the womb of Africa and a product made in Africa by Africans.
Kenyatta with Nkurumah
As a true Pan-Africanist it’s reported that on Friday, October 24 1969, Jomo Kenyatta during his tour on Western Province to familiarise himself with the development in the province, upon reaching Nyanza and was shown Broderick Falls as a major key attraction became angry that after independence of Kenya the prominent tourist spots continued to bear names of foreigners. He told the people ““I want to tell people of Western Province that I felt ashamed trying to pronounce….Bro…bro…bro…derick falls. These are names reflecting servitude…Why can’t you look for better local names with local content, names we know of their origin?” There and then, the President issued a directive that both the leaders and locals look for a substitute name for the tourist feature.
He caused laughter when he asked: “Which Luhya man was called Broderick? Broderick was whose relative? A name is very important for identity. Which foreigner adopts your African names? If you want to domineer someone, conquer his intellect first and you will suppress him wholly.”

Like his father, on the back of pending ICC case regarding his role in 2007/2008 post-election violence in Kenya which left more than 1,000 people dead, Uhuru traversed the continent mobilising the African diplomatic community to oppose the court and its perceived biases against Africans. This was a rare instance of genuine pan-African unity, even if its motivation was leaders’ own self-interest. Kenya’s vehement position on international justice also led to the resolution in June to give African leaders and senior officials immunity from prosecution at the proposed new African Court of Justice and Human Rights. In doing so President Uhuru Kenyatta became the first President in the history of Africa to marshal all the 54 nations in Africa to support a cause that displayed Africa’s intent to be treated as equals in the community of nations.

Uhuru’s efforts hasn’t gone unnoticed. According to a secret annual journal published by the White House, US President Barrack Obama described Uhuru as an “African leader who is loved by all Africans”. He said the African Union (AU)’s support for his case at the ICC is a good indication that Uhuru may onetime become one of the greatest leaders in Africa.

“Europe has Winston Churchill, America has George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Russia has Stalin and Khrushchev and Africa in the next decade will have its pairs of great leaders,” Obama wrote in the journal. “It is not easy to marshal the whole content to support your course. He is a leader that the world deserves,” Obama added. He also said that Kenya’s President possesses an extra-ordinary quality of leadership which is hard to get in a dozen of leaders all over the world.
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He also said he was moved when he saw South African citizens cheering Uhuru during Mandela’s requiem mass last year. “He was an ICC indictee and he managed to beat his political rivals. That is a show of commitment and hard work,” Obama said. Also notable is the zeal with which he has galvanized the East Africa Community.

Politics
Constantly seen with his father in the pictures available, Uhuru seems to have copied his charisma from his father. Jomo Kenyatta was a charismatic figure, capable of mobilizing the country.
kenyatta giving speech

Like his father, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is charming, intelligent and charismatic! There are many reasons to think that the Kenyatta case was truly exceptional. In Eastern Africa, Kenyatta is like John F. Kennedy, John D. Rockerfeller, and Dick Cheney rolled into one. Charismatic and wily, Kenyatta has an unparalleled personal pedigree and investments that touch nearly every major industry in Kenya. Groomed for political office since he was a child, Uhuru Kenyatta draws on his social connections with people from all walks of life, and an extensive business empire that provides economic and political leverage to make or break the personal future of many Kenyans. Kenyatta is also deeply loved for his family’s many contributions to building a democratic independent Kenya.
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Development
The founding father with no doubt helped lay a strong pillar for economic development of Kenya. It will be remembered that during his era, Kenya was at par with Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. In 2002, for instance, Kenya’s Per Capita Income was $280 while Singapore’s was $10,000 but it 1969 they were both at par. Kenya’s declined while Singapore rose due to poor leadership and corruption.

Jomo will, however, be remembered for his economic contributions. Some of the landmark buildings to date were built during his time, like the KICC tower which was opened in 1973, and was the tallest building in East and Central Africa that retained the onus for over 30 years. He also brought UN’s only headquarters in Africa. Largely as a result of his policies, Kenya’s gross national product grew almost fivefold from 1971 to 1981, and its rate of economic growth was among the highest on the continent in the first two decades after independence.
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Under Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration tenure, a re-evaluation of the Economy of Kenya was conducted and found the economy to be 25% larger than was previously thought. Kenya is therefore now a lower middle income country with a GDP of USD 55.2 billion and has the ninth largest economy in Africa. Under President Kenyatta, the economy has grown at the rate of 5.7% per annum and is expected to retain this rate of growth. The World Bank has stated that the economy is resilient and sentiments positive following a successful Eurobond issue in June 2014 which raised $2 billion. On 22 September 2014, the Kenyatta Administration concluded its Article IV consultation with the IMF, and the overall assessment on debt sustainability and other indicators was found to be positive and IMF lauded Kenyatta’s economic polices. Kenyatta will be remembered for launching several major development projects in Kenya including the world’s largest Geothermal power plant at Olkaria. The plant is expected to bring down power costs in Kenya by 30%.

The President, together with other East Africa leaders, also launched the Standard Gauge Railway running from Mombasa to Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda, notably the existing railway network, once called the ‘Lunatic Express’ was laid from 1895-1901. Once complete, the railway line promises to be his single biggest landmark in the country. It’s also during his tenure that has seen foreign companies scramble to set foothold in Kenya owing to the good economic climate and policies they have instituted. In 2014, Kenya ranked as the second most preferred destination in Africa and fifth in the world for multinational corporations seeking to set up shop, according to Frontier Strategy Group, a US data vendor that tracks emerging markets. Companies such as Google, Visa, MasterCard, KFC, Pepsi, Travelport, IBM, General Electric, CCTV, Toyota, Airtel and Dow Chemicals are some of the multinationals corporations that have chosen the capital city as either their regional or Africa headquarters.
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Abroad Study
Jomo Kenyatta was, despite many challenges,a well learned man. He become a resident pupil at the Church of Scotland Mission (CSM) at Thogoto and studied amongst other subjects: the Bible, English, mathematics and carpentry. He paid the school fees by working as a houseboy and cook for a white settler living nearby.In 1931 he enrolled in Woodbrooke Quaker College in Birmingham, England. From 1932-33 he studied economics at the Comintern School, University of the Toilers of the East in Moscow, USSR. In 1934 he studied at University College London and in 1935 he studied at the London School of Economics.

Uhuru Kenyatta also went on to study political science at Amherst College in the United States after his high school education.

KANU factor
Both Uhuru were staunch supporters of the first ruling party in Kenya, KANU, Kenya African National Union. Both vied for presidency using the same party, although Uhuru subsequently lost and quit the party. It is also quite interesting that both had Kalenjin Vice Presidents, one who took over from Kenyatta upon his death (Moi) and the incumbent one who seems destined to take over if all goes according to their plans (Ruto).

Kenya-Somalia battles
Jomo Kenyatta grappled with secessionists groups calling for return of Northern Frontier District. The country was entangled in what was called the Shifta War. Presently Uhuru Kenyatta has his troops in Somalia battling the ragtag militia, Al Shabaab.

Both combed the hair backwards
Uhuru used to keep long hair like his father Jomo, brushed backwards like Jomo used to.
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Uhuru’s year 2002 campaign team advised against this and Uhuru complied. Uhuru has not kept long hair like his father Jomo since 2002.
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Strong family men
Jomo Kenyatta had four wives namely Grace Wahu, Edna Clarke, Grace Wanjiku, and Ngina Kenyatta with whom he bore eight children. Kenyatta must have instilled strong values in them as evidenced by the fact that the family is still united unlike other families which scramble for their parents wealth after their demise.

Uhuru on the other hand is married to the lovely Margret Kenyatta with whom he’s blessed with three children. Their family’s affection for each other is a true role model for the nation
Uhuru-Kenyatta-Family

Love for Wildlife
Jomo Kenyatta recognized the role the wildlife & tourism as a whole contributed to the Kenyan economy. Cognizant of that fact, he gazetted many national parks and nation reserves we have currently. He also loved to go for a game drive whenever he could.
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Uhuru has also publicly shown his affection to the wild beauties of Kenya. He recently burnt 15 tonnes of recovered poached ivory. He had also accompanied dignitaries such as Richard Branson, William Ruto and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on a game drive in Nairobi National Park.
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Military Regalia
The founding father at times wore the military uniforms and I must say looks cool for a commander-in-chief.
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Not to be left behind, his son recently stepped out in military regalia to the excitement of many, maybe to show who’s in charge in the face of threats from political circles and terror threats.
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