Joseph Murumbi: Jomo Kenyatta's Vice President Who Resigned Over Failed Speech

  • Joseph Murumbi (left) and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga (centre) Twitter
  • A memoir has laid bare dramatics from the Jomo Kenyatta regime including a vice president who was forced to resign after his speech failed to reach a set mark.

    According to the first Head of Civil Service Duncan Ndegwa's memoir, Walking in Kenyatta Struggles, former veep Joseph Murumbi stepped down after a disagreement with officials from the Foreign Affairs ministry.

    The dispute arose over a speech he had contributed for presentation at the United Nations General Assembly.

    The ministry had overruled his opinion but his controversial resignation was fed to the public as resulting from a medical condition he experienced.

    "Still smarting over the death of Pio Gama Pinto in February 1965, Joseph Murumbi assumed the vice-presidency only to relinquish it in a huff.

    "The public was told that the Vice-President had resigned on medical grounds, while, in fact, the real cause was a signal made from the Foreign Affairs office overruling his opinion in a draft speech to be delivered at the UN General Assembly that October," wrote Ndegwa.

    Former Vice President Joseph Murumbi

    All the events took place at the height of a dispute between the president and former VP Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

    Murumbi's resignation gave former President Daniel Arap Moi a smooth sail into power to replace him rendering Tom Mboya, who was the Secretary General of KANU, a general without command.

    "That was how Daniel Moi became vice president. He marched into the heart of government as VP. As a result of all the shifting and shuffling, Tom Mboya, the Secretary-General of KANU, was rendered a general without command," he continued.

    Murumbi's prowess in serving the president was questioned by a ministry he had led in 1966 for two years immediately before assuming the VP post.

    After he left politics, he became the Acting-Chairman of the Kenyan National Archives and co-founded an art gallery 'African Heritage' with Alan Donovan that became the biggest on the continent.

    Left to right: Jaramogi Oginga, Joseph Murumbi, Jomo Kenyatta and Tom Mboya at JKIA, Nairobi in Oct 1965.