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Njiru’s interview great, but he got some crucial facts wrong



I write in regard to the first instalment of Lee Njiru’s interview by Salim Amin appearing on NTV and in the Daily Nation last week.

As a patriotic Kenyan, I appreciate the effort he is making to inform us about how fearless the fight for independence was, the determination by our first two presidents and the sacrifices made to free Kenya from the yoke of colonialism.

However, I would wish to raise my objection to some distortions in Njiru’s version of history.

With all his experience of serving Presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi in a senior position, he should have done better research for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

I was taken aback when Njiru insinuated that it is only the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru who suffered under the colonial rule in Kenya, and only they fought during our struggle for independence.

Kenyans all over the country were arrested, tortured and detained with their property confiscated and destroyed.

I recall, as a small child, seeing pictures of some Mt Kenya elders taken together with leaders from my Nyanza backyard, including Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Tom Mboya, Argwings Kodhek, Achieng Oneko among others.

They constantly held meetings which. even as a child, I knew were very important.

We also know of Kenyans from Coast, Ukambani, Rift Valley, Western regions who lost their lives agitating for the freedom of our country.

Mau Mau was not entirely a Kikuyu affair as the full Kiswahili meaning of the acronym indicates — “Mzungu Aende Ulaya, Mwafrika Apate Uhuru”. Even among the Giriama, there was Mekatilili wa Menza. Kenyans of Asian extraction also fought for independence led by Pio Gama Pinto.

No one should deny the role Masinde Muliro and Esau Khamati Oriedo played. Martin Shikuku from Western was the youngest member of the Kenyan delegation at Lancaster independence talks. Otenyo Nyamaterere from Kisii is a renowned freedom fighter who paid the ultimate price.

Lastly, I don’t understand how Njiru never learnt that Tom Mboya was a Kenyan with his roots in Asembo Kanyingoro in Siaya County and whose ancestors crossed over to settle on Rusinga Islands within Lake Victoria.

Let us all who have got a story to tell about our beloved country tell it truthfully and accurately, in a manner that fosters understanding and unity among us.

Omondi Mulwan, former MP, Alego-Usonga.

Editor’s Note: Watch the second part of the series on NTV tonight with the transcript published in the Daily Nation tomorrow