Clash That Made Jomo Kenyatta Stop Wearing Beaded Cap

  • In the famous image of former President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta receiving the independence documents from the governor general, he was wearing a beaded Luo cap similar to one worn by his ally Jaramogi Odinga.

    Kenyatta wore the cap as a symbol of national unity.

    He wore it till 1966 when he dropped it after a cabinet meeting went wrong and never had it again after that.

    Duncan Ndegwa, who at the time was the secretary to the cabinet writes on the details of that meeting in his book Walking in Kenyatta's Struggles.

    Ndegwa writes, "Jaramogi came into the meeting looking distraught. His eyes were red and bulging with rage and when he spoke it was a hysterical and weeping Odinga berating the president over the culmination of events that were to see his downfall.

    "He told Mzee,"you have done it! You have made Tom (Mboya) the man behind the throne. Why have you done it? After that meeting, Kenyatta ceased wearing the beaded Luo cap similar to Odinga's."

    Odinga was decrying the fact that Mboya had just passed a legislation in parliament that decreed any MP who defected from the party that sponsored him to parliament automatically lost their seat. Jaramogi was planning on leaving KANU but wanted to retain his post of Vice President.

    This meeting would be Jaramogi's last Cabinet meeting. He went on to resign from KANU and lost his seat in parliament. He formed Kenya Peoples Union which was outlawed by Kenyatta in 1969.