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MOI’S UNKNOWN SON

By Special Correspondent

Someone has inquired from me to expound why I keep referring to Uhuru as Moi’s son. Is it because Moi made Uhuru his project in 2002?

NO!
Its deeper than that.

Moi is Uhuru’s adoptive father, almost literally. Gideon is Uhuru’s adoptive brother. Jomo Kenyatta died in 1978. Uhuru was barely out of his teenagehood.

President Kenyatta and the late Mzee Moi

Mama Ngina was a very young lady and a 4th wife. Jomo Kenyatta married four wives, Wahu Kenyatta, Edna Clarke, Grace Wanjiku, and Ngina Kenyatta.

Now, I don’t come from a polygamous family myself, but for those who do, and according to what’s common, polygamous families are normally very polarised. And the youngest wife and her children are always disadvantaged. It doesn’t help that Mama Ngina was younger than some of her co-wives’ children, e.g Margaret Kenyatta, the first and only female Mayor of Nairobi, and daughter to Grace, Kenyatta’s first wife.

Mzee had married Mama Ngina when she was 18 while he was an older man of 54. He was what Gwen, my head massage consultant at my barbershop calls, Dzadzy. By the time he married her, Grace Wahu, his first wife was 51 and her firstborn daughter Margaret was 23… so, you can make an assessment of how that was taken.
Naturally, Mzee developed family drama Jackson Kibor style, and his youngest wife was always being treated with suspicion. However, Mama Ngina, or Ngina was a very loyal and good wife who loved her older husband truly.

Jomo’s family issues were so depressed that when he was incarcerated in West Pokot, its only Ngina who used to visit him. He had been isolated by sections of his family and inlaws especially since he was seen as disloyal to the Mau-Mau cause.

Unfortunately for Ngina, Jomo Kenyatta was jailed just one year after she married him, and so as a young wife, she had no option but to make the arduous journey, through a perilous terrain to Kapenguria to visit her husband. If West Pokot is as harsh now, in 2020, now imagine back in the 50’s. For 8 years he was a prisoner, Ngina visited her husband regularly and was very loyal and supportive.

When Kenyatta was released, he went into exile in Lodwar where they got their first two children, Uhuru, and Muhoho. One thing to note is that many relatives believed that Kenyatta would die in prison and others worked with his detractors to disinherit his youngest wife.

But fate worked differently for Kenyatta. He won his battles and became Prime Minister and later President of Kenya. As a going concern, he had to disown the other wives families’ and mostly, his extended family for what he believed was betrayal during the years of his imprisonment.
As he garnered land wealth and power to protect and shield his young wife and young children, his greatest fear was that upon his death, she would face untold battles from his first marriages and other Kikuyus. Kenyatta was scared for his family.

Mama Ngina had no education, nor support system to survive internal family wrangles, where no external party would have helped her since this would have been deemed a family affair. It didn’t help that many politicians from central Kenya were also eyeing his political seat and to be honest, Kenyatta was a disturbed man.

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By the time the likes of Kihika Kimani were discussing his death, many didn’t know that a bigger part of that conversation emanated from within his own family. Kenyatta then through Njonjo, decreed that imagining the death of a sitting president was a treasonable offense punishable by death.

It wasn’t a political statement. He was trying to scatter all the vultures circling his young family. They couldn’t have stood a chance to fight the wars. how could they?

Extended family, first wives and their kids and the politicians who could have absoluted Mama Ngina into destitution, and just as the first wives are obscure in our national conversations, that’s how Uhuru right now could have been; a bitter son of a former president from an unloved young wife.

When Kenyatta knew he had nowhere to go, he consulted some of his Maasai elders who had mentored him when he had lived amongst them earlier in his youthful days. They had adorned him with their regalia that made him change his names from Johnston Kamau to Jomo Kenyatta. The Maasai elders advised him to watch Moi closely.

They told him how the Kalenjins don’t break any oaths and abide by a promise until its delivery. As a militant community, oathing, command and structure meant that if Moi swore an oath to protect Kenyatats’s family, Moi would die keeping that oath.

Kenyatta was convinced. He was getting old, and he felt that he didn’t have more than ten years around. His children were still very young. He was hellbent on teaching his enemies a lesson. He was indebted to Ngina who kept him sane and believed in him when no one else did. He would leave her with power and hope. Moi, would be that hope.

He appointed Moi his Vice President.

With only Charles Njonjo the only Kikuyu he trusted, Kenyatta, Moi, and Njonjo drove in two nondescript vehicles to Narok, where he had lived early on in 1917 and the purpose of this trip was for traditional oathing. Few Tugen elders from Baringo and some Maasai elders were present.

The oath was taken.

Moi swore his allegiance to Kenyatta that he would take over the presidency from him upon his transition to heaven, and use his power to protect his family until his firstborn son from his youngest wife was old enough to protect his mother and siblings.

Njonjo did what he could do in his power to reorganize the constitution to safeguard Moi’s ascension to power because Kenyatta didn’t want to take chances. After studying the Kalenjin culture, he knew that Moi was the only one capable at that time, in stamping authoritarianism without breaking an oath, he knew that Moi would not be selfish to want it for himself or his son.

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When Mzee Kenyatta died in 1978, Moi knew he had big shoes to fill. No, not the presidency, but to be the guardian of Kenyatta’s youngest family until the son was old enough.
Kenyatta died without any money. He had all the land, but Kenya had not created an environment for money-making yet.

Moi told his wife Lena Bomett-Moi about his oath and why she needed to accept Kenyatta’s children as her own as well as Mama Ngina as family, not in a marriage sense, but as part of an extended family.

All hell broke loose.

Lena Moi’s family had been the family that assisted Moi when he was a mere teacher at Tambaach. She came from a privileged and strictly conservative family. She could hear none of it. An Oath? is it even Christian? then, how does one adopt another man’s wife and children without marrying them? Was Moi inheriting Ngina from Kenyatta?

No, he wasn’t. But it looked like he was. The very next year, Lena Moi separated from Moi and he went with all his children, it’s only her firstborn son, Jonathan, the late rally driver, who stuck by with his mother.

Kenyatta died in 1978, Moi divorced Lena in 1979.

Moi undertook his role as guardian and protector of Kenyatta’s family. His first task was to protect her from marauding relatives. This is where some Kikuyu’s begun loathing Moi early on in his presidency because he was stopping them from grabbing all land that was left to the young wife and her young children.

These Kikuyu’s are the ones who supported the Luo led coup. They didn’t understand how this Kalenjin man was the only one between them and untold wealth. The Luo’s were simply just being egotistical about their shot at power.

The coup was only 4 years into Moi’s presidency.

Moi then realised that he was dealing with those who wouldn’t bat an eyelid to kill him. They didn’t care about his life. And he instantly knew, he was an innate warlord and was going to show them who boss was. The rest is history. And his innate instincts were born. He remembered the oath he had sworn and why he couldn’t let go of that seat.

In one swoop he diminished all his opponents and cleared all of Mama Ngina’s liabilities. He placed red berets all over Mama Ngina’s property and he moved her from her Muthaiga home to Dennis Pritt road, where Uhuru currently lives. That house has a back access pass into the State House. It was part of State House. As Uhuru and siblings were going through school, sending his report cards to Moi, Mama Ngina was protected more than any other of Jomo Kenyatta’s family. Moi was the father figure Uhuru and siblings had.

You never hear of Uhuru’s’ paternal relatives. The likes of Muhoho the former Airports Chairman are all maternal uncles of Uhuru. Moi injected money, tonnes of it to companies he formed with Joshua Kulei which he incubated for Mama Ngina. He started banks, logistical companies, etc. He wanted the sons of Jomo Kenyatta to inherit them once they were of age.

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Moi continued to stay in power, not because he was power-hungry, but because he wanted Uhuru to be of age to take over, as per the oath made by a fallen white he-goat.

Moi held on to power and created a protective shield around Mama Ngina and her children and in 2002 when the center could no longer hold, he gave Uhuru the gateway to the presidency.

Unbeknown to many at that time, as it is now, Moi’s wealth in Africa was at par with Gadaffi and Mobutu. the man is so wealthy, he can refinance the entire Kenyatta’s money 10 times. However, like all despots, such wealth is not measurable through formal indices like Forbes.
The same way you won’t find Arabian emirs’ financial might being measured.

Moi’s mantra was simple.

Money, Power, Respect.

Make the money, which acquires your power, then you earn your respect. The reason Uhuru always runs to Kabarak is because Moi is the only father he knew in his entire adulthood and his siblings only know of Moi and their maternal uncles. Mama Ngina was protected.

Moi finished his oath, by ensuring Uhuru became president, but there was one small problem. A problem called Ruto. Ruto was a thorn in Moi’s flesh. And all the wars Ruto is facing is Moi’s wars.

There’s no Mt Kenya Mafia too big or too powerful for Ruto. Kalenjin system of politics doesn’t pander to such fears. Ruto was being fought by Uhuru’s father, Moi, who managed to bring Raila to the fold to manage Ruto.

Moi’s other problem is that Gideon, his son, spent most of his life living the life of a prince, and playing polo that all he knows is wealth, not politics. So Moi has to try and use Uhuru yet Uhuru owes Ruto more than the dynasties do, plus, Moi is the one who connected Uhuru and Ruto anyway.

Senator Moi (On the left) and President Uhuru Kenyatta

That’s why our beloved president would rather make friends with more reliable characters such as Johny Walker or Jameson. It’s complicated I tell you.

Uhuru is Moi’s son, literally. The old man raised him and gave him everything he has, other than his name. Otherwise, Kenyatta’s early families would be the ones on the limelight. They live in obscurity. His children from the first marriages aren’t doing so well. Uhuru Kenyatta cannot blindside Moi. He owes him his life. Yet Ruto, his Deputy and friend in arms, is Moi’s nemesis.

Moi undertook his role as guardian and protector of Kenyatta’s family. His first task was to protect her from marauding relatives. This is where some Kikuyu’s begun loathing Moi early on in his presidency because he was stopping them from grabbing all land that was left to the young wife and her young children.

What would you do if you were Uhuru?

About Whispers from the North

Whispers from the North is an online platform that appreciates the ecological, cultural and socio-economic diversities of Northern Kenya. We also acknowledge that the lives of the communities of northern Kenya has been shaped by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors which have led to complex challenge that calls for a multifaceted approach.

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