Day Tom Mboya Got Special Ride in US VP's Vehicle

  • Various ministers and country leaders often visit US White House but very few get accorded the luxury of taking a trip inside the vehicles of the country's top leaders.

    One outstanding leader who got a special drive after his aide confessed to being late to a meeting was former Minister for Economic Planning, Tom Mboya.

    In his detailed report inside the Daily Nation, writer Odhiambo Levin Opiyo described Mboya as a frank critic whose line of thought earned him praise from the then deputy president of the United States Richard Nixon.

    Mboya, who was accompanied to the US by his aide George Hauser, was scheduled to receive an honourary doctorate degree at Howard University but paid a visit to Nixon hoping their discussion would last for only 30 minutes.

    Citing a transcript of the meeting, Opiyo explained that the discussion lasted for an hour as Mboya began criticising US policy towards Africa while Howard students and dignitaries waited for him.

    “I trust that I have not spoken too frankly and too candidly with regard to my criticism of your policies,” apologised Mboya.

    It was at that point that George Hauser interrupted their discussion telling Nixon that they were late for another event.

    “That’s alright. I am late for an appointment too. I’ll drive you to Howard,” offered the VP. The two got to ride inside Nixon's official Limo together with their friend William Scheinman.

    So smitten by Mboya was the VP that three days later, he praised him before a committee as one of the clearest thinkers he had ever met.

    "On Saturday, I had a very important visitor from Africa. Of the various leaders of the world who have come to my office, and whom I have met in other countries in the last five or six years, he is one of the ablest, one of the clearest thinkers of any it has been my privilege to meet,” Nixon told the President’s Committee on Government Contracts at the Sheraton Hotel in Washington DC. 

    Nixon served as the VP from 1953 to 1961 before becoming the 37th President between 1969 and 1974.