The Man Who Forced Jamhuri Day to be On December 12

  • Today, Kenya marks 54 years since gaining independence from the British on December 12, 1963.

    The birthing of the first independece Day began with intense haggling for the date, with then parties playing a hidden card.

    As we celebrate Jamhuri Day, Kenya owes the day to Tom Mboya, one of the political aide of Kenya's first President Jomo Kenyatta.

    [caption caption="Jomo Kenyatta"][/caption]

    Upon the swearing-in of Kenyatta as the Prime Minister of Kenya in June 1963, Kenyan leaders led by Jomo Kenyatta saw a need for the country to be named as an independent nation before the end of that year, 1963.

    The Governor in charge of the country then bought Kenyatta’s views and called British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan who also saw the need for Kenya’s independence with the proposed date being Dec 30.

    Despite Prime Minister MacMillan agreeing to the 30th date, Tom Mboya objected.

    Being a skilled negotiator, he convinced the colonial office that for Kenya to join the United Nations in 1963, she had to apply at least two weeks before expiry life of that year’s General Assembly, which was December 31.

    The British leadership had to find a compromised date which turned out to be December 12, and so it became Kenya's Jamhuri Day.

    After being declared independent, Kenyatta's first major step was in the machination to outsmart Minister of Home Affairs Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, who was so far the biggest threat to Kenyatta’s grip on power. 

    [caption caption="Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Jomo Kenyatta"][/caption]

    With the latter granted the instruments to lead the new independent nation, he could deal with Odinga from a point of strength and eventually politically cripple him.