With President Obama in Kenya meeting Kenyan supremo Uhuru Kenyatta, son of Jomo Kenyatta, the American newsmedia are full of think pieces on the Meaning of It All, almost none of which mention that Barack Jr.’s dad was the anchor witness in the trial of the hired gunman in the most traumatic assassination plot in Kenya’s history, the murder of Luo statesman Tom Mboya, an assassination many Luo believe may have been ordered by Uhuru’s dad.
That would be too interesting.
Although the New York Times has been running essays drawn from Obama’s Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, nobody seems to have noticed a line in the book suggesting that the Obama clan hated Kenyatta.
The African news media has a less constricted view of what’s interesting. The Standard writes:
How Obama’s father witnessed Tom Mboya’s murderTom Mboya was America’s guy in Kenya, while Kenyatta had reconciled with the Brits, and Oginga Odinga was cozying up to the Soviets. The youngish Mboya, a Luo, had graciously stepped aside in favor of the old Kenyatta, a Kikuyu, becoming the first president. Many Luos thus felt that Mboya deserved to eventually inherit the presidency. But the Kikuyus around Kenyatta were not pleased by the idea of losing their moneymaking privileges. Obama Sr. was ideologically closer to his fellow Luo Odinga than to Mboya, but Mboya had done him a lot of favors, such as helping him get to Hawaii to study on the Americans’ dime.
By Silas Nyanchwani Updated Monday, July 20th 2015 at 13:20
Uhuru Kenyatta will meet President Barack Obama. Interestingly, their fathers’ lives were entangled in power play in the 1960s. Back then, both Uhuru and Obama were infants, and so was Kenya as an independent country where the life of Barack Obama Sr (pictured), a bright economist was complicated for three reasons.
One, he criticised the economic policies of President Kenyatta. Two, he openly ranted how he would have made a better governor of Central Bank of Kenya.
Three, and most important but least discussed, Obama Sr witnessed the assassination of Tom Mboya in July 1969. That he even gave police the name of Mboya’s assassin further muddled his image in the eyes of those keen on covering up the murder of the most ambitious politician of his day.
In the bio, The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama’s Father, published in 2011, Sally Jacobs, informs us that Obama Sr met Mboya at Channi’s Pharmacy on July 5, 1969. Mboya had just returned from a summit in Ethiopia. Obama Sr joked how Mboya had parked the car wrongly and thus risked getting a ticket from the City Council. Mboya laughed and walked into the pharmacy, only to begunned down by Nahashon Isaac Njenga Njoroge, who was later hanged at Kamiti Prison on ‘orders from above’ that saw to it that no priest performed the last rites on him.Many Luo think Obama Sr.’s career was sidetracked by the squeeze put on the Luo after the murder of their champion.
Obama Sr told a friend how he gave Njenga’s name and description to the police. During Njeng’as hasty trial, Obama Sr was the final prosecution witness, notes Jacobs. Njenga, who had received military training in Europe was often used as a bodyguard by politicians and when questioned on the murder, he replied: “Why don’t you go after the big man?”
Obama Sr obtained a First Class Honours at the University of Hawaii and was awarded a scholarship to pursue a PhD at Harvard. He was later deported for fooling around with white women. …Or, to be more precise, on suspicions of bigamously marrying a couple of American women while still being married back home in Kenya.
The various connections Obama’s father, mother, and stepfather had to American power abroad is not a subject considered interesting either.