Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta

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. 


Displaying 1-10 out of 152 results.

Vol 55 N0 22


An executive not executing

While confusion reigns in Kenya's public service, the patterns of governance under President Uhuru Kenyatta are becoming clearer...

Vol 55 N0 21


Bad time for an oil boom

President Uhuru Kenyatta awarded the ministry to Davis Chirchir, who was appointed Cabinet Secretary in April 2013 (AC Vol 54 No 9, Rise of the professionals)...

Vol 55 N0 16


Who owns what?

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...

Vol 55 N0 13


Confused response to terror attacks

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...

Vol 55 N0 10


Red flag over Africa

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...

Vol 55 N0 9


Alarm over terror swoop

After a string of increasingly serious terrorist attacks, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed his security mandarins to take decisive action...

Vol 55 N0 8


Kagame mourns – and warns

Three other East African presidents were there: Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, Somalia's Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan...

Vol 55 N0 8


Militant remembrance

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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Vol 55 N0 7


Some partners are more equal than others

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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Vol 55 N0 6


A year of living precariously

At the presidential inauguration of Uhuru Kenyatta last April, few would have predicted the chaotic current state of the Jubilee Alliance government...

Displaying 1-10 out of 152 results.