Home / Leadership / Tom Mboya: A Man Kenya Wanted to Forget by David Goldsworthy

Tom Mboya: A Man Kenya Wanted to Forget by David Goldsworthy

The mysteries surrounding political assassinations!

Thomas Joseph Odhiambo Mboya known as Tom Mboya by many Kenyans left Kenya a dark country on 5th July 1969 when a gun man made his life short and his legacy shortened. Without any prejudice or choreography Tom was a man liked by many Kenyans. He climbed in ranks within his early days. At 23 he was already a world star known to JF Kennedy and the entire world as a very intelligent, focused and visionary African young leader. He was known also for his loyalty to his boss, President Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of the Republic of Kenya. Mboya pioneered the Lancaster House Constitution that was repealed on 27th August 2010. He was brilliant and very eloquent diplomat whose speeches moved the PanAfricanists during his time. He rubbed shoulders with Dr. Kwame Nkurumah and many of his peers.

However young he was, his mind demonstrated a person with brilliant future leadership. His role in forming the Organization for African Unity the defunct OAU in 1963 was exemplary. His words were taken as the words of a future leader and a model for the future of Kenya. His book, The Independence and After is widely read. However, the book by David Goldsworthy, entitled, “Tom Mboya: A man Kenya wanted to forget” published in 1982 has been the bestseller but less famous in Kenya.

During President Mwai Kibaki’s regime 2002-2013, a monument was erected in memory of Tom next to Naitonal Archive where Mboya used to have his office, and another one in memory of Dedan Kimathi at the end of Kimathi street next to Hilton Hotel.

His murderer did not act alone. He acted under certain conspiracy that was not comfortable with Mboya. Social media is full of all stories surrounding his unfortunate premature death. The bullet switched off his dreams and indeed, good vision for Kenya. His campaign for nation building, his dreams for a better Africa, and his diplomatic ideas on how Africa could relate with the Western imperial powers went with the bullet of one Mr. Nahason Isaac Njenga Njoroge. This was the most suspicious political assassinations in the young nation that left Kenya polarized, wounded, bleeding, and, of course, divided.

Odhiambo was from Luo community. His assassination brought about conspiracy story that Kenya is still learning how to cope up with till today. His elimination was nothing other than fear to have a Luo in leadership. Despite the fact that his constituency was the metropolitan Nairobi and his chief political supporters were not from Luo community, Mboya was regarded as an impediment to some control and power. He had to leave way!

This is just a glimpse into political assassinations but this was not the last. So many followed. Gama Pinto, Argwings Kodhek, JM Kariuki, John Robert Ouko, and recently Chris Musando and many others have been systematically eliminated. No any retributive justice has ever brought the suspects to book and the mystery of such killings is still haunting the nation. As the nation-building slogan went silent, politicians gear more towards power and control other than social justice and fixing the past errors.


About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

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