Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta was born on October 26, 1961 to Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya's first Prime Minister, and subsequently, President) and Mama Ngina Kenyatta (Kenyatta's fourth wife) as their second born child.
'Uhuru,' is a Kiswahili word for 'Freedom.' Possibly, his father called him by that name is anticipation of Kenya gaining a sovereign rule of its own territory which was realized two years later in 1963. In 1964, the country gained the status as Republic of Kenya.
Education And Career
Uhuru Kenyatta commenced his early education at Loreto Convent, Nairobi, from 1965 to 1968,and later at St. Mary from 1969 to 1980.
As a student at Saint Mary, Uhuru played as a winger for the school's Nairobi Rugby team.
After completing his learning at St. Mary, he attended Amherst College at Massachusetts in the United States. He graduated from the college in 1985 with a Bachelor in Political Science and Economics.
Uhuru Kenyatta’s Political Career
Before entering into politics, Uhuru worked as a bank teller at the Kenya Commercial Bank, Nairobi, from 1978 to 1980. In 1981, he founded Wilham Kenya Ltd. The company dealt with exportation of horticultural products. In 1994, he sold his company so that he could concentrate in politics.
When Uhuru entered into politics, Kenya had, and was run, by a state party, Kenya African National Union (KANU). The then president of Kenya, Daniel arap Moi, was against existence of multiparty system.
Uhuru Kenyatta together with other four young Kenyans - Mr.Argwings Ceaser Kodhek, Mr. Peter Mboya, Mr. Alfred Gitonga and Mr. Francis Michuki - joined political and religious leaders in demanding for political pluralism.
In 1992, the country witnessed the first multi-party elections. Uhuru Kenyatta campaigned for Keneth Matiba as the next president. Matiba didn't win the presidential seat. Instead, Moi reclaimed his presidential seat.
Prior to the following next General Election in December 1997, Uhuru Kenyatta had built enough foundation of supporters sure of a win as a Member of Parliament for Gatundu South Constituency. He lost the seat to Moses Muhia.
Conversely, in 1999, he was appointed by Daniel Moi as chairman of Kenya Tourism Board. In October 2001, he was nominated as a member of parliament, and a month later, as Minister for Local Government.
Following Moi's choice of Uhuru Kenyatta as the one who would succeed him, Uhuru contested for presidency on KANU's ticket in 2002 but lost it to Kibaki. His defeat resulted from Kibaki's party merging with several others to form an umbrella political party, NARC (National Alliance Rainbow Coalition), to dethrone KANU from ruling the nation any further. Consequently, Uhuru became the Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
In 2005, Uhuru was elected as chairman of KANU. He, and KANU, teamed up with Liberal Democratic Movement (LDP) wing of NARC in a campaign to oppose the draft constitution which Kenyans were to vote for or against. They prevailed. The LDP members had decamped from the NARC coalition as they alleged that the Memorandum of Understanding they had agreed on with Mwai Kibaki before the General Election (2002) was never fulfilled.
In December 2007, Mr. Kenyatta withdrew from contending the presidential seat. Instead, he backed up Mwai Kibaki for a second term, and concerted his sight in competing for the seat of Gatundu South constituency which he had lost in 1997. In the 2007 elections, he won the seat for the first time. He served as the Member of Parliament for Gatunsu South from 2002-2013.
Talk Africa:Live interview with President Uhuru Kenyatta
2007 Post-Election Violence and Indictment
Despite the fact the 2007 General Election ran smoothly during the voting day, the results were not comforting. There were a lot of irregularities during vote counting as it was later found out votes were manipulated or falsified. The two principals, Mwai Kibaki and his opponent Raila Odinga, were blamed for contributing to the violence that ensued.
Post-election violence erupted when president Kibaki was declared the winner for a second term. It was majorly a war between the Kikuyu and Luo tribe. More than 1,000 Kenyans were killed, and more than 500,000 were displaced with properties worth millions of shillings destroyed.
After the former Chairman of United Nations (UN), Koffi Annan, and President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, brokered peace negotiations between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga; a new office was established under the Grand Coalition Government. Kibaki remained as the president while Raila took charge of the office of Prime Minister. Consequently, Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi were named as Deputy Prime Ministers. The Koffi Annan-led talks resulted to the cessation of the violence.
Prior to being appointed as Deputy President in April 2008, he was named as Minister of Local Government in January 2008. In 2009, he was named Finance Minister but in January 2012 he resigned due to pressure from the opposition leaders who alleged he was involved in post-election violence. The six Kenyans who were indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on December 2010 as having played a major role in 2007 post-election violence - named as suspects of crimes against humanity, were:
- Uhuru Kenyatta (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance)
- William Ruto (Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology)
- Henry Kosgey (Industrialization Minister)
- Francis Muthaura (Cabinet Secretary)
- Joshua arap Sang (Head of operations at KASS FM)
- Mohameed Hussein Ali (Police Commissioner).
The charges against Mohammed Ali and Henry Kosgei were not confirmed. The charges against the remaining four were withdrawn for lack of evidence from the prosecution team.
The Fourth President of Kenya
In April 2012, Uhuru left KANU and formed his own party, TNA (The National Alliance). Later in the year, he teamed up with other parties, including that of Ruto, URP (United Republican Party), to become Jubilee Coalition.
In March 2013, Uhuru was declared the winner in the hotly-contested seat of presidency. His opponent, Raila Odinga, filed a petition case at the Supreme Court in March 11 citing there was rigging of votes during the elections day. He stated that he had evidence to prove his utterance.
The Supreme Court at the end of hearing ruled Uhuru Kenyatta was legally the winner. His running mate, Ruto, became the Deputy President.
In 2016, the parties that formed the Jubilee coalition disbanded, and came together as one party, Jubilee Party.
In 2017, Uhuru contested for the second, and last term, as President of Kenya. His major contender was Raila Odinga. He emerged as the winner but once again Raila wasn't satisfied with the presidential election result. He challenged the authenticity of of Uhuru having won the seat before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court nullified the results of the election. It ordered the election board to hold a presidential election within 60 days. Uhuru won the presidential election and was sworn in for his second (and final) term. Raila had withdrawn from the race as the demands he had asked for were not met by the electoral body, IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission).
Uhuru met his wife, Margaret Gakuo, in Nairobi, and got married in 1991. They have three children: two sons - Jomo and Muhoho - and one daughter - Ngina.
Uhuru has received several awards.
- Order of the Republic of Serbia, Second Class (Serbia, 2016)
- First Class of the Order of the Most Ancient Welwitschia Mirabilis (Namibia, 2019)
- Honourary Member of the Order of Freedom of Barbados (Barbados, 2021)
- Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (Kenya)
His Memorable Quotes
- We need to appreciate that we can have different shades of opinion.
- As large parts of the world age, Africa grows younger by the day. The youthful sons and daughters of Africa are our incredible source.
- We go into politics for leadership. Politics is not about making enemies, but respecting choices.
- This country, this continent, does not claim perfection - but we can claim progress.
- Kenya is aligned to neither East or West; we are, firmly and irreversibly aligned to progress.
- The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different.
- Let us walk together to grow the economy. The government, although willing, cannot achieve everything at once.
© 2013 Alianess Benny Njuguna
Chinga on October 21, 2017:
Good for Kenyans, here in Tanzania I'm not proud for my president but I do proud for natural resources that my country has, thinking about how make a good use of them and how can tanzanian enjoy them and keep them for our children....
chander mehra on May 25, 2016:
I am u3, cancer suvivor and survivr of three detentkns under
juddy ngina on January 27, 2016:
I like ur life history
alfred 0702657681 on October 12, 2015:
Its true that a good leader is known by his traits am 100% sure that the qualities of Uhuru Kenyatta r pure if all leaders will emulate this man then Kenya will meet her target God blez u Ounye
joseph ololtulenyi on July 05, 2015:
I am proud of you mr president. Relly you are the man of kenyans, God bless you.
Bonface Moriasi on April 11, 2015:
Live longer our president and let GOD guide you as a president
Gideon kipkemoi koech on March 12, 2015:
Mr.president you are a man of promising and doing we are great about u Mr.president and your Deputy i have something to share with but it is so long to speak face to face what can i do? my email is email@example.com tell me using this email
Thank you Mr.President
Christine on January 24, 2015:
I salute you mr president for your ruling...how you humble yourself teaches a lot...,its true you are a hero....
Samwel N. on January 20, 2015:
may God bless you .
H on January 17, 2015:
I love my president His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta for his true love of kenya and serve the people of kenya surely he is a gift from God and may God continue to give him good health to serve the people of kenya
student at kenyatta university
Chander Mehra from Delhi on April 20, 2013:
I personally know Uhuru Kenyatta, A do-gooder with a pleasant personality.
Uhuru came to my house in Nairobi one evening without announcement, driving his Land Rover.
He invited me to be the Editor-in-Chief of a newspaper he was to launch. At the time, Daniel ap Moi was the President of Keya, who had had officially declared me as "PROHIBITED IMMIGRANT" for my writings which were declared to be "subversive".
I informed Uhuru about my status and he said he would be in touch with me again the moment was able to do something about my status.
Meanwhile, I was diagnosed with Cancer and returned to India, where I survived. But no job.