Mzee Kenyatta's Secretary Who Lost Ksh 2B Asset to Uhuru's Team

  • The Jomo Kenyatta era-spanning 15 years between 1963 and 1978 had only a handful of real movers and shakers. Many who now lay claim to have been at the centre of the action during Mzee’s era.

    Of them all, Geoffrey Karekia Kariithi’s tenure at the heart of Kenyatta's inner circle offered him an open cheque to wield immense power and influence but instead, the late GK, as he was popularly known, seemed to have bear-hugged his high moment with an unusual sense of grace, duty and loyalty.

    His 12-year perch at the peak of the civil service was not without its share of drama and crises. 

    Geoffrey Kariithi curated an honorary parade organized by the administrative police, Embakasi in Nairobi, in 1971.

    According to Walking in Kenyatta Struggles by former CBK Governor Duncan Ndegwa, what really stood out about Kariithi was his presence of mind and the astuteness with which he navigated around the numerous landmines of his time.

    As head of the civil service, the late G.K. Kariithi had to deal with scores of the pickles, tight spots, dilemmas and predicaments to ensure his boss and the government did not lose face.

    Some of his headaches included the fall-out between former Vice President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Mzee Kenyatta, and the nuisance caused by remnants of the Mau Mau guerrilla fighters, some still hiding in the forest demanding a proper reward. 

    Kariithi also had to deal with the backlash that the government faced after the deaths of Pio Gama Pinto, Tom Mboya and Josiah Mwangi Kariuki, popularly known as JM.

    According to Daily Nation of Sunday, March 31, 2019, during his tenure at the helm of the civil service, he was also a pioneer trustee of the Public Service Club in Upper Hill, Nairobi, which originally drew its membership from civil servants who later ran it down after independence.

    It was during this time that Kariithi managed to curve 3.5 acres of the club and registered it in his name with an LR number 209/9629.

    This would come back to haunt his family after his death in 2012, as the National Land Commission started investigating how his estate acquired the land, then valued at Ksh2 billion.

    In June 2016, the Court of Appeal barred the family from taking possession of the land on the basis it belonged to the Public Service Club.

    Further misery came the family's way after the NLC repossessed another piece of land from the in the same place worth Ksh500 million.

    Former NLC chairperson Mohamed Swazuri, the NLC repossessed land worth Ksh2 billion from the Kiriithi family