Kenyatta is the son of Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's founding father and first president (1964–1978). Uhuru attended St Mary's School in Nairobi. Between 1979 and 1980, he also briefly worked as a teller at the Kenya Commercial Bank.
After St. Mary's, Uhuru went on to study political science at Amherst College in the United States. Little is known of his time in the United States, and the paucity of information has been fertile ground for rumour and speculation.
Upon his graduation, Uhuru returned to Kenya, and started a company Wilham Kenya Limited, through which he sourced and exported agricultural produce.
Nominated to Parliament in 2001, he became Minister for Local Government under President Daniel arap Moi and, despite his political inexperience, was favoured by President Moi as his successor; Kenyatta ran as KANU's candidate in the December 2002 presidential election, but lost to opposition candidate Mwai Kibaki by a large margin.
He subsequently became Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. He backed Kibaki for re-election in the December 2007 presidential election and was named Minister of Local Government by Kibaki in January 2008, before becoming Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade in April 2008 as part of a coalition government. Subsequently Kenyatta was Minister of Finance from 2009 to 2012, while remaining Deputy Prime Minister.
Accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of committing crimes against humanity in relation to the violent aftermath of the 2007 election, he resigned as Minister of Finance on 26 January 2012.
He was elected as President of Kenya in the March 2013 presidential election, defeating Raila Odinga with a narrow majority in a single round of voting.