05-07-2019 by Freddie del Curatolo
Exactly fifty years ago, on 5 July 1969, Kenya lost in a tragic and violent way one of the most fervent and young political minds in the country, a symbol of intertribalism and democratic ideas. Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya, better known as Tom Mboya, was not yet 40 years old and was already considered one of the most influential political leaders of the country and possible successor to the old "mzee" Jomo Kenyatta.
Kenyan Kennedy, of the Luo ethnic group, was born near Nairobi and grew up and grew up in Catholic missionary schools in Kisumu. At the age of 23 he was elected Secretary General of the KFL, the first political organization recognized by the British Government, although it was Labour-inspired.
Unlike most of his colleagues, he opposed the multiracial policy of political representation proposed by the British colonial government in the late 1950s and embraced the nationalist ideas of the Mau Mau movement. He then helped form Kenya's independence movement in the People's Convention Council and Party in Nairobi. In the decade that would lead Kenya to independence, he spent a year at Oxford University and visited the United States twice. Thanks to his friendship with Martin Luther King and his meeting with John F. Kennedy, in 1959 he helped found the African-American Student Foundation to raise funds to send East African university students to the United States on charter flights, thus making it possible for many other students, including Barack Obama's father, to study abroad.
At the age of 30, Mboya was a founding member of the Kenya African National Union (KANU). He was Minister of Labour in the coalition government before Independence. In the first administration of Jomo Kenyatta he was Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, from 1964 to the day of his death he was Minister of Economic Planning and Development, laying the foundations for a turnaround in the country's economy, with policies oriented towards capitalism, diverging with his fellow countryman Oginga Odinga, who had ideas more imprinted on socialism.
On the morning of July 5, 1969, he was shot and killed by Nahashon Njoroge, an ethnic Kikuyu man who was later suspected of being the perpetrator of a politically motivated murder.
Precisely for this reason, and for the lack of close investigations by Kenyatta, the death of Mboya upset the nation and exacerbated the tensions between the Kikuyu in power and the Luo. Kenya had lost its innocence, nothing would have been the same as before.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
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