Day Mzee Kenyatta Ordered Confinement of Visiting President

  • An undated photo of Kenya's first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta speaking at an event Facebook
  • Kenya's first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta once ordered a president not to leave Mombasa because of a pact that he had made with his friend Haile Selassie who was the Emperor of Ethiopia.

    Former CBK Governor Duncan Ndegwa wrote in his book, Walking In Kenyatta's Struggle: My Story, that the president had promised Selassie that he would be the first Head of State to visit Kenya after independence. 

    This pact meant so much to Kenyatta that on May 23 1964, when Liberian President William Tubman docked in Mombasa, he was ordered to confine his stay to Mombasa. He had docked en route to Madagascar. 

    Kenya's first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta (L) and Ethiopia's former Emperor Haile Selassie on 6/5/64

    Kenyatta had so much admiration for Selassie that the only flight Mzee ever took as president was to Ethiopia. 

    In a book titled Miss Uhuru 1963: Working for Mzee Jomo Kenyatta by former Social Secretary Elizabeth Madoka, she wrote that Mzee hated flying. 

    Mzee also had a fear of frogs that made him go to great lengths to avoid them.

    It was this reason that Kenyatta only slept at State House once during his 14 years as president. 

    “He would not sleep at State House because he said there were ghosts of white people and frogs were croaking… he thought they were saying he should not be there,” Duncan Ndegwa told Nation during a past interview.

    Unknown to many, the former president was not fond of keeping animals as pets. However, when his close friend,  Emperor Selassie gifted him a white dog, he adopted an entirely different attitude.

    According to biographer Jeremy Murray- Brown in his 1972 book, Kenyatta, Mzee was initially angered by the gift adding that he would have preferred a cow.

    Lee Njiru, who worked as an Information Officer at State House, would later reveal that the president ordered a brand new luxury Mercedes Benz 280S to chauffer the dog whom he named Addis

    "Addis had his own driver and normally sat back left whenever he accompanied Mzee during his long working tours around the country,” Njiru stated in an interview.

    Kenya's first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta speaking in Nairobi in 1978