The Ghost that Made Mzee Jomo Kenyatta Never to Sleep at State House

  • It's been the normal culture in the country that when any person is elected as the President of Kenya, they move to State House, Nairobi, from where they conduct daily operations as they lead the country.

    Previous Heads of State Daniel Moi, Mwai Kibaki and current President Uhuru Kenyatta have all lived at the powerful house after they ascended to power except for the founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

    One of the close associates of Mzee Kenyatta, Duncan Ndegwa, revealed that during his 14-year rule, the founding President only slept at State House on one night in January 1969. Even so, those who were close to him say that he never slept a wink on that night but he instead forced his aides to drive him to his Gatundu home in the middle of the night.

    Mr Ndegwa, while narrating how the founding President ruled after he ascended to power, revealed that among all things, one thing that stood from Mzee Kenyatta is that he never slept at State House.

    According to Ndegwa, Kenyatta would not sleep in the House on the Hill because he said there were 'ghosts of white people and frogs' that croaked the whole night.

    “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,” Ndegwa stated.

    Regardless of how late it was, Kenyatta was driven every night to his home in Gatundu, Kiambu County where he slept and spent time with family when he was not on official duties.

    It became a custom every night and when he was not in Nairobi, he loved spending time at State House in Mombasa until he died on August 22, 1978.

    During Moi's reign, State House was considered a powerful place and many people had limited access and was mostly used to hold crucial meetings and discussions with his ministers serving in the government.

    When he was not in Nairobi, Moi loved spending most of his time at State House in Nakuru County. 

    For Mwai Kibaki, he had made State House more of his residence and a confidential meeting place between him and his cabinet ministers. Like Moi, Kibaki ensured access to State House was highly restricted.

    Non-essential visits other than the official Cabinet meetings had been restricted, with ministers who wanted to consult Kibaki being forced to follow the ordinary protocol of booking appointments.

    Unlike his predecessors, Uhuru has made State House more accessible to ordinary citizens by holding forums at the President's residence to discuss different issues affecting the country.

    President Uhuru spends most time at State House and rarely works from his Harambee House office.