Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta
Date of Birth: 26/10/1961
Commentary: Uhuru Kenyatta is the first son of founding President Jomo Kenyatta by his fourth wife, Ngina Kenyatta. Born at the dawn of Kenya’s Independence, he carried in his name, Uhuru (Freedom), the aspirations of his father, recently freed from gaol, and his country’s approaching freedom from British rule.
Uhuru attended the strictly Roman Catholic Saint Mary’s School in Nairobi and then Amherst College, Massachusetts, United States, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in politics and economics. Despite his privileged background, Uhuru’s sociability and fondness for the national favourite Tusker beer has cast him as a man of the people.
In the early 1990s, Uhuru stood with the sons of the Independence nationalists in calling for democratic reform. Among them were Peter Mboya (son of the late Tom Mboya, assassinated in 1969, many say by men close to Kenyatta) and Gem Argwings-Kodhek (son of the late CMG Argwings-Kodhek, himself killed a year earlier in the first of the infamous and politically instigated ‘tragic road accidents’. However, Uhuru remained loyal to the ruling Kenya African National Union and got closer to the then President, Daniel arap Moi, culminating in his failed run for the presidency on the KANU ticket in 2002, which badly split the party.
At first strongly critical of President Mwai Kibaki’s government, Uhuru helped Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement to win its constitutional referendum victory. However, in the run-up to the 2007 presidential election, he declared open support for Kibaki. After the December 2007 election violence, Uhuru changed his rhetoric; dropping the inclusivist talk of the Independence nationalists, he became a staunch defender of conservative Kikuyu interests.
Kenyatta was charged along with six others by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity linked to the electoral violence. Nonetheless, he stood in the 2013 presidential elections and beat his opponent Odinga (50.07% to 43.28%). Despite pleas by Odinga – who believed the vote had been rigged – for a recount, the Supreme Court judged the election free and fair and Kenyatta was sworn in as President on 9 April 2013.
Kenyatta and his Vice-President, William Ruto, who is also charged with crimes against humanity, are due to appear at the ICC later this year.
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President Uhuru Kenyatta has belatedly moved to stem the violence over land ownership in Coast Province but the delay has allowed conflict to become entrenched...
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The spectre of a breakdown in Kenya's national security faces President Uhuru Kenyatta in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the north-eastern coast that claimed more than 50 lives...
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AFRICA | CHINA
On 11 May, Li joined Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House to witness the signing of an agreement for the financing of a Mombasa-Nairobi railway...
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After a string of increasingly serious terrorist attacks, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed his security mandarins to take decisive action...
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Three other East African presidents were there: Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, Somalia's Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan...
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What was unsaid was the fact that ethnic conflict is also a factor in the crisis in South Sudan and that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta faces trial at the International Criminal Court, charged with involvement in ethnically-based mass murder...
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EUROPEAN UNION | AFRICA
Another ICC target, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, looked relaxed, despite a spat with Brussels over a visa for his head of security, Edward Mbugua...
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At the presidential inauguration of Uhuru Kenyatta last April, few would have predicted the chaotic current state of the Jubilee Alliance government...
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KENYA | UNITED STATES
Following the Westgate attacks, his responsibilities were downgraded after President Uhuru Kenyatta accused him of creating a 'parallel centre of power' within the government...
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UGANDA | SOUTH SUDAN
His regional colleagues – Ethiopia’s Hailemariam Desalegn, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta – smile knowingly but for now accept their elder’s dominant role...