Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta
Kenya

Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta

President

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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FREE article
Vol 55 N0 7

EUROPEAN UNION | AFRICA

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...

FREE article
Vol 55 N0 6

KENYA

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...

Vol 55 N0 5

KENYA | UNITED STATES

Warning shot or loose cannon?

Following the Westgate attacks, his responsibilities were downgraded after President Uhuru Kenyatta accused him of creating a 'parallel centre of power' within the government...

Vol 55 N0 4

UGANDA | SOUTH SUDAN

Why Uganda refuses to withdraw

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...

Vol 55 N0 4

KENYA

No way to run a railway

Opposition to the SGRP has mounted steadily since the contract was awarded to CRBC in July 2012 and President Uhuru Kenyatta formally inaugurated construction work last November...

Vol 55 N0 3

SOUTH SUDAN

A deal under duress

President Uhuru Kenyatta was the first regional leader to back Salva personally in Juba after fighting had broken out...

Vol 55 N0 3

SOUTH SUDAN

A deal under duress

President Uhuru Kenyatta was the first regional leader to back Salva personally in Juba after fighting had broken out...

FREE article
Vol 55 N0 2

ECONOMY | AFRICA

Making the best of the boom

Political worries persist among some investors, who point to Kenya’s involvement in Somalia and South Sudan, as well as the political row over President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto’s International Criminal Court trials...

Vol 55 N0 1

KENYA

Chickens come home to roost

Will President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vice-President William Ruto win their confrontation with the International Criminal Court...

Vol 55 N0 1

SOUTH SUDAN

The state cracks

The alacrity with which regional leaders such as Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta sprang to the defence of Salva shows how the dynamics of East Africa’s new move to regional unity mean mutual respect for leaders, above all else...

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