A little known Goan pioneer

http://www.kisii.com/abagusii-history/430-bibi-masikiniq-a-goan-pioneer

If anyone has any photos would appreciate them via skipfer@live.com.au

More Kenya History




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Celebrating our African historical personalities,discoveries, achievements and eras as proud people with rich culture, traditions and enlightenment spanning many years.
kwekudee-tripdownmemorylane.blogspot.com|By kwekudee
With thanks to the authors.


The late Oscar D'Mello


With Thanks to Coastweek


Oscar De’ Mello - A Former International Goalkeeper

he played along with  Elijah Lidonde, Joe Kadenge,
Stephen Ochieng, Isack Lugonzo (who later became
the mayor OF Nairobi
) and Alfred Okoth
Oscar was a family friend. My brother Johnny hero-worshipped to the point of following his goal-keeping style. I worked for a year at Oxo with him. He was something of a big brother.
.

CONTRIBUTED BY CORRESPONDENT WILLIAM FARIA IN DUBAI

Coastweek -- Oscar De’ Mello, Kenya’s former International football Goalkeeper and a man with immense sense of humour, is no more.

The grand old man died last Thursday, aged 79 at a Nairobi hospital after a short illness.

In mid 1940s to late 60’s, Oscar was the only non-African Goalkeeper to have played for Kenya and Tanganyika.

A month before he passed away, he had the opportunity to give his soccer experience to guest writer WILLIAM FARIA.

Oscar, a Kenyan of Goan-Portuguese descent, developed a love for soccer at a very tender age and his interest developed more in the sport than in academics, though he was also good at his studies.
Born on 21st August, 1930 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (then Tanganyika), Oscar’s life, hasn’t been a bed of roses like the rest, as he was orphaned at a very young age, but later he rose to become a soccer legend.
He was however raised and brought up at St Joseph’s Convent in Dar, when the then Bishop Edgar Miranta took custody of the siblings who included his brother and four sisters.
Oscar spent most of his time while in school, on the field and whenever teachers found him absent in the classroom.
http://www.coastweek.com/obit/090605-16.JPG
Coastweek -- Oscar during
a recent interview at his Kileleshwa home, Nairobi.

They would look for him at the playground, knowing that he would be there and sometimes on his own, so much so that soccer seems to run in his veins.

He started off his career in the forward line, but at the age of eleven, a bout of Asthma attack forced him to switch to the goal, as his colleagues insisted that it was a better place to rest between the goal-posts, to prevent him from consistent coughing after running.

When he was 14, his eldest sister got married and so the new family decided to take care of the remaining siblings and they left the convent.

After schooling, Oscar got employed as an apprentice with the then East African Railways and Harbours (EAR&H), doing clerical work in Dar, earning a meagre 100/- per month, this amount was however quiet reasonable in those years, he recalled.

He first approached the Goan Institute in Dar, but they declined to accept him, prompting him to instead form a club called Dar Wanderers in 1945, making it a multi-racial team comprising of all his ex-school mates.
.

He made a major breakthrough in his career at SIXTEEN

At 16 years of age, Oscar made his first major breakthrough in his career.

This was when he played his first international match representing Tanganyika against a UK team that visited the country.

From here on, it was no looking back, as he kept playing international matches for Tanganyika for the next ten years.

http://www.coastweek.com/obit/090605-17.JPG
Being a non-African, Oscar was not selected to represent the country for the East African challenge Cup, which was called Gossage Cup then, as it was only meant for Africans and Arabs.
When a naval war ship H.M.S Kenya from England docked at Dar, they had semi-professional soccer players on board.
The foreign team played three matches with African combine, Asia and European, they played Africa and beat them 1-0, they had a barren draw with Asia and trounced the European team 11-0.
The European combine requested they meet again and wanted to make a change, bringing in Oscar as their guest goal-keeper.
Asked how he was exclusively selected to play?
He remarked: “Goans were never considered as Asians in the pre-colonial era, they were categorised as Europeans, because of their western lifestyle and the Portuguese relationship they have”.
Coastweek -- Oscar De’Mello
demonstrates how he
did it in his hey days.

In the first half of the match, the opponent’s goal-keeper never had a chance to handle the ball, in fact the foreigners dominated the match and a constant threat at their host goal-mouth, where Oscar was the custodian and he pulled several magnificent saves.

“At the end we settled for a 1-1 draw and the sailors carried me shoulder high, saying that I was the man of the match, a thrill I never experienced in life.

“They even hosted a party in my honour at the club they were staying and I felt overawed,” he reminisced.

While still a member of the Referees Association as a third class referee, Oscar abandoned Dar Wanderers in 1950 to join Sunderland FC, whose patron, Ali Bin Said saw the potential in him requesting that he plays which he obliged.

He was thus the first non-African to play for an African team in those days.
.

In 1956 Oscar moved to Nairobi

“In 1956, an ex team-mate, Peter Pinto approached me saying that OXO EA Ltd an agent for Tanganyika Packers had a vacancy for a clerical officer in Nairobi and asked me if I was interested to take up the offer which I whole-heartedly did and decided to travel to Nairobi.

The same year, I joined one of the top teams in the City called Nairobi Heroes which was a multi-racial team and I felt comfortable here,” he said.

Pinto and self steered Nairobi Heroes to a success and the Football Association of Kenya (FAK) spotted Oscar’s myriad talents and he was soon selected to represent Kenya in all its international matches.

“I played along with prominent big names like Sir Stanley Matthews from Blackpool, England who was also knighted by the Queen of England,” he recollected.

In 1960 he organized Nairobi Heroes to play outside matches in Tanzania and Mozambique.

Oscar however admits that the team never performed well in Lorenco Marques, as he claims he had too much on his head.

“One of the main reasons was that at that time, I was busy courting my long time girl friend, Zelia, whom I later married and she bore me two beautiful daughters, Louisa and Valerie,” he said with a broad smile.
.

daughters, Louisa and Valerie, were Kenyan tennis aces

Louisa and Valerie later grew up to become Kenya’s international Lawn Tennis stars in mid 70’s and brought Kenya fame by representing the country in several international events.

Today both sisters are still active tennis players in Canada.

“Nairobi Heroes were second in the Commercial league table, but in 1965, there was a mass exodus of Nairobi Heroes players due to Africanisation.

“Around or about the same period, I also acquired Kenyan Citizenship.

“I had to quit the club and join Nairobi Spurs and the same year became a member of the FA of Kenya, he disclosed.

In the early 60’s, Oscar recalls that while officiating as a match referee, during the Abaluhya FC (now AFC Leopards) v/s Luo united (now Gor Mahia), he was stoned by spectators at the then Doonholm road stadium (Nairobi Stadium today) for not favouring one of the teams.

“During my hey days in football, a white man who watched my performance in between the goal, approached me and requested that I travel to Europe to play professional soccer.

“To tell you the truth, I was really confused and didn’t know what to do, but on the other hand, the person never opened up to tell me how much was involved and what I was worth and hence I turned down the offer,” Oscar affirms.

In the early 70’s Oscar’s soccer career came to an abrupt halt, when he suffered a serious knee injury through a torn cartilage.

This prompted a major knee operation, causing the Kenyan champion to hang his boots forever.
.

Government appointed Oscar as FAK treasurer in 1973

There is still more reason to exalt, when in 1973, the Government appointed Oscar the treasurer of FA of Kenya, with Martin Shikuku (who later became the Butere MP) as Interim Chairman to sort out the mess in the Federation.

The late Michael Kijana Wamalwa was also appointed in the committee.

He says that ten percent of the gate proceedings at the FA Cup never reached the federation.

All clubs affiliated to the FA of Kenya were asked to appoint a new committee to ensure the fair running of soccer in the country.

“In fact FA of Kenya, had experienced similar problems of what is currently going on today in KFF- mismanagement,” he explains.
.

Oscar represented Kenya at FIFA 1974 Congress in Mexico

In 1974, Wamalwa proposed that Shikuku and I represent the country in the FIFA congress in Mexico during the World Cup matches.

“I was overwhelmed and proud to represent Kenya.

“This was my most rewarding task in my football career, to attend a congress of this magnitude and also have the opportunity to watch the World Cup matches live, which included the finals played between Argentina and Germany.

“Not many people were happy with me heading the treasury of the FA of Kenya, because I was conscientious with money and every cent had to be accounted for.

“At the next AGM, the members ganged up and oust me as the treasurer, as they wanted someone who was more flexible with the funds.

“I did not complain, but quit honourably, knowing that I left behind a legacy of trust and honesty, accepting defeat,” he adds.

During his soccer career, he played along with other famed players like Elijah Lidonde, Joe Kadenge, Stephen Ochieng, Isack Lugonzo (who later became the Nairobi mayor) and Alfred Okoth.

Oscar said he represented Kenya in many foreign matches including Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi, and Ethiopia.

He also played against All India (which fielded at least nine Olympic Games players), played against England, Sweden.
.

Oscar hit by tragedy as wife, Zelia, dies in a car crash

Oscar’s worse time in life came in 1980, when his wife Zelia died in a tragic road accident near the Museum Hill road in Westlands.

“My wife had just come from Parklands Sports club, to find out when the girls will be playing their next Under-18 match.

“She was driving her Honda Civic car, when suddenly an over speeding bus failed to stop at the junction and rammed into my wife’s car throwing her metres away and she was later pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, he says with tears rolling down his cheeks.

Zelia’s death was a big blow in Oscar’s life as she was a driving force behind his success and this totally shattered the family.

“I considered Zelia as the pillar of my life and she was good in everything, giving me every encouragement in life,” says Oscar.

This prompted him in later years, to marry a young Kenyan woman, Ambia, with whom he has a son, Tony who is 11 years old and a pupil of St Mary’s school in Nairobi.

Like father like son, Tony is already fully active in sports and loves to take an advice or two from his dad’s rich football experience.

The man who had immense sense of humour looked younger than his age, because his diet was very simple.

He loved to have fruits with corn flakes and honey for breakfast every morning.

His day started off at 5 a.m. On getting up, he would first pray to God for having given him another bright day, before he could get into his sports gear and jog a little within the compound of his posh Kileleshwa mansion, which was built 40 years ago.

Besides soccer Oscar had been also active in Hockey having played in the Gold Cup. 

His hobbies also included playing Table-tennis, Cricket, travelling, stamp collecting etc but soccer superseded everything in life for him.

He spent most of his time watching soccer on television and loved to fill the Suduku crossword puzzles in the newspapers every day.

The former soccer star received a lot of guests from abroad who stayed at his home, where he was always available to provide the necessary hospitality.

He went through his archive with nostalgia, as he showed this writer a heap of scrap-books and albums with the many press-clippings and photographs of himself, which he collected over the years.

In his sporting days, he met personalities from other fields and also came across other soccer stars like Sir Stanley Matthews of England and Brazil ’s Pele , Kenya ’s Seraphino Antao among others.
.

The star’s popularity on Nairobi streets

I was marvelled by Oscar’s popularity in Nairobi.

Though many would not know that the grand old man, was once the pride of Kenya’s soccer, he was still a respected figure in the public.

He was not only a household name in the soccer fraternity, but in the entire Nairobi city. 

Wherever I went with Oscar, places like the malls or the Casinos, both the old and young loved to crack a joke or two with this jovial character.

He said Kenya is inhabited by a people with natural affinity to Sports and the country can excel well in professional soccer if the right mechanism is put in place. 

“We can become a super-power in the sport, not only in Africa but the world at large,” he asserted.

He observed that it is distressing to see the standard of soccer deteriorating in the country, adding that something is flagrantly wrong with the management.

Oscar believed that for a country to have a strong and successful team there is need for politicians to keep off meddling in soccer activities.

“They should however give other technical and financial assistance but not run the affairs of the soccer body, “explained the once ardent former goalkeeper.

Oscar has held numerous positions in 1981.

He was a council member of the KLTA and was in the sub-committee of the Junior Tennis and the Public Relations officer.

Besides playing active soccer, Oscar worked for Brooke Bond in 1963 and later joined Lufthansa Air Cargo in 1974 where he was appointed as the Cargo Sales representative and retired as the Deputy Cargo manager in mid 90’s.

He later ventured into private business, but due to numerous obstacles for example mistrust by his clients he decided to wind up his business.

Oscar transversed across the Globe during his hey days, but kept repeating time and again that there is no better place to reside than Kenya.

This he believed was due to the friendly and undiscriminating attitude of the indigenous Kenyans and also the country’s climatic conditions, that has made Kenya to be considered as the paradise of Africa, and indeed here he finally rest in eternal peace, ultimately making Kenya his permanent home in abode.

Oscar will be sadly missed not only by his family members, but to the huge Kenya populace his name is engraved in nostalgic history.

He will be mourned by the whole community.

A circle of his friends at the Casinos in Nairobi where he spent most of his time, described Oscar as a “perfect gentleman”.

Oscar’s remains were cremated in a private funeral ceremony on Wednesday, after a church service at the Holy Trinity Church in Kileleshwa, Nairobi.

We pay our last respect to the fallen soccer legend and wish his family the strength during this trying time.

May God rest his soul in eternal Peace. Goodbye Oscar!

Nairobi Heroes

With thanks to Goacom

THE NAIROBI HEROES SPORTS CLUB

1950 - 1968

[FOOTBALL TEAM]

Nairobi Heroes Football Team
Photo Courtesy of John Lobo.

1950 Soccer Season Champions

Standing: Luis Pereira, Anthony Raposa, Cajetan Fernandes, Billy Gomes, Aselmo D'Souza
Billy Gomes, S. Soarers and Anthony Fernandes.
Sitting: George D'Souza, Xavier Santiago, Johnny Lobo (Captain) George Rodrigues, and Santos D'Souza
Floor: Robert Santiago and Marshall Fernandes
Trophies: Top - Nazareth Brothers Cup - Left Seychelles Cup - Right Salus Cup Middle Dev Dutt Shield

By: John J. D'Souza
Following the post-war period, Nairobi had a number of Goan clubs which had been in existence for decades. These clubs had their own buildings, hockey cricket and football grounds, badminton and tennis courts, and a host of other facilities. However, membership into these clubs was often depended on what one, or one's father, did for a living !

In the early fifties a group of young Goan Turks formed the Nairobi Heroes Sports Club. Admission into their ranks was open to all, with one simple proviso; to be outstanding in playing the game of football. Within a few years they were able to challenge the established clubs and win innumerable trophies..

The "Mother " of cup final match in Goan sports history, took place one sunny evening in 1950 when the Heroes squared off against the renowned Goan Institute (founded in 1905). The pre-game formalities were spectacular. The Goan Institute (GI) team in their azure blue shirts lined up in one corner of the field. In the opposite corner the Heroes did the same, wearing their distinctive flaming red shirts. Each team, led by a mascot, a young girl in white dress with a sash of the team colours, filed along the side lines, and to the centre of the field where they were greeted by the guest of honour, the Portuguese Consul. The referee for the game was none other than the football loving, friend of all Goans, Irish Father Leahy.

The game met all the expectations of the real Hero's fans, the young boys of the community. The main action was in the GI half, the team playing hard to defend it's reputation. The few GI scoring efforts in front of the Hero's goal were quickly stifled by spectacular diving saves of goalkeeper and team captain, Johnny Lobo. The game is especially remembered for the way it ended. The Heroes no doubt won convincingly, but towards the end referee, Fr. Leahy got kicked by a GI player. Heroes fans, to this day claim it was deliberate, while those of the GI, swear it was accidental.

The Heroes grew in stature, and in 1950 alone won all the four football trophies in tournaments that season. To be playing for the Heroes was an honour. They were soon joined by the best players of the established clubs, who were only able to field token teams in subsequent years.

The Heroes began as rebels in our community. Their cause was that of our unrepresented youth. They achieved what they had set out to do with dare and determination and became Our Team & Our Heroes.. and are remembered for all time.

By 1967, in the post independence era, times had changed. The once thriving community was being dispersed to various parts of the world. The Nairobi Heroes Sports Club was wound up at a Gala Dance held in a prominent Nairobi Hotel, with the same sense of style as when they came into being.
Acknowledgement:
To: John Lobo, first Captain of the Heroes, for his help in reviewing this article

Moi: quiet, invisible but very cunning

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Modest but cunning, no one played better political chess than Daniel arap Moi


Retired president Daniel Moi (left) and former Nominated MP Mark Too at a Kanu rally at Kurgung High School in Nandi North District on January 15, 2011. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA
Retired president Daniel Moi (left) and former Nominated MP Mark Too at a Kanu rally at Kurgung High School in Nandi North District on January 15, 2011. FILE PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP
By PHILIP OCHIENG
More by this Author
Daniel arap Moi probably does not know the exact day, month or year of his birth — for he comes from a time and clime when Africa’s bucolic people did not put any premium on birthdays.
We can, nevertheless, agree that on Tuesday the former president of Kenya will have clocked 90 years.
Why? Because, from records, from circumstantial happenstances and from many of his own statements, we can accurately calculate that Moi’s birthday coincided — give or take a handful of  years — with the British government’s declaration of Kenya as a Crown Colony in 1920.
What that means is that when Kenya’s colonial and post-colonial history comes to be written comprehensively, Moi’s name will loom much larger than practically everybody else’s. He will be seen to have made the most spectacular escape from the most dangerous political game park.
Despite his many shortcomings and failings, Moi will stand out in a cut-throat environment. Jaramogi Oginga Odinga — one of Moi’s most important later adversaries — was the first person to remark upon Moi’s “fitness” to survive in the ruthlessness of such a Darwinian terrain.
Said Jaramogi: “Moi is like a giraffe: he sees very far.” It was a powerful metaphor.
The giraffe’s tall neck enables it, among other things, to see its environmental enemies from very far away.
Moi’s well-placed political “eyes” could also be likened to the antelope’s environmental alertness.
It was what enabled the young man to arrive so safely at the apex of power in 1978 and rule for a quarter of a century in a political Amboseli infested with some of the world’s most dangerous predators.
However, good luck also frequently intervened. Indeed, luck was what triggered the rise to the top of this humble stripling, wielding nothing more than bucolic cunning.
In a situation where the European form of education had become all-important for career and for preferment into colonywide leadership, Moi was armed with nothing more than primary education and only a smattering of English.
Many commentators do not see that this was a blessing in disguise. His years as a herdsboy in a predatory terrain were what had put him in excellent stead. They had equipped him with the alertness which most of his later competitors had lost through too much European-style classroom and book learning.
NEVER LOOKED BACK
This was what the British government itself did not see when, reacting to the rising indigenous pressure for franchise and to the Mau Mau fillip it had received in 1952, London ordered the colonial regime in 1955  to nominate a handful of indigenes into the whites-only Legislative Council.
London assumed that their lack of academic learning would make them safe as legislators. Moi — a semi-literate lad — was among the nominees.
But he arrived in Nairobi never to look back. In 1958, the nationalists scored a constitutional mark when eight indigenes were elected by direct franchise. They included Tom Mboya, Masinde Muliro, Ronald Ngala, Jaramogi and Moi.
But in 1960 colonywide nationalist parties were first legitimised. The Kenya African National Union (Kanu) was formed with Jaramogi, Mboya, Arthur Ochwada and James Gichuru (standing in for Jomo Kenyatta, the chairman in absentia).
But Ngala, Moi, Muliro and others walked out to form their own Kenya African Democratic Union (Kadu).
Their claim was that, through Kanu, the “big tribes” — the Kikuyu and the Luo — had ganged up to grab power with which to suppress the “small tribes” after Independence.
London, a master divide-and-rule tactician, rushed in to dredge this rift, openly favouring Kadu against Kenyatta’s more genuinely nationalistic Kanu. But a mere year after independence in December 1963, Kanu had so tampered with the Lancaster Constitution that majimbo — the Kadu-sponsored provincial interests which dominated it — had been scrapped.
The majimbo system had been imposed against Kanu’s preference for an all-powerful central authority with only a ministry of local government (itself controlled from Nairobi). The majimbo document was verily akin to the present 2010 Constitution, only that — as the personification of devolved power — the eight provinces have been replaced by 47 counties.
In 1964, Kadu was dissolved and its leaders decamped back to Kanu. In the meantime, within Kanu itself, the conflicting personal ambitions of the leftist vice-president Jaramogi and the right-wing Mboya had also come to a head. Jaramogi came off worse, and Moi was the chief beneficiary.
A DEATHLY BLOW
In 1969, after Mboya had played the most crucial role in expelling Jaramogi from the sanctum sanctorum of power, Mboya himself was dealt a deathly blow. But, although Kenyatta appointed Joseph Murumbi as the vice-president, it was Moi who replaced Jaramogi at the sensitive Home office.
In this way, Moi had embarked upon the final leg of his journey to State House. But, in the same process, he had also acquired the most redoubtable opposition in his political career. According to pundits, it was through then Attorney-General Charles Njonjo that London prevailed on Kenyatta to appoint Moi as the next VP when Murumbi resigned.
Moi’s longevity in that position worried what came to be denigrated as “the Kiambu Mafia”. Kenyatta was getting on in years, and people had begun to discuss his succession, despite Njonjo’s ban on such talk.
It was in that climate that something called Change-the-Constitution Movement was announced by leaders of an equally new name Gema (an acronym for the consanguine Gikuyu, Embu and Meru ethnic communities), demanding an immediate change in the constitution.
Spearheaded by Jackson Angaine, Njenga Karume, Kihika Kimani, Mbiyu Koinange, Njoroge Mungai and Paul Ngei, their chief aim appeared to be to remove the constitutional section which said that, if anything happened to the president — such as death — the vice-president would act for 90 days to organise the next presidential election.
But most observers interpreted the Change-the-Constitution Movement as motivated only by fear that if given even a mere week, an acting president would ensure he remained in that position.
What both sides did not seem to appreciate was that “Kiambu” was not one vast landscape of Lassallean homogeneity. At least one centrally placed administrative giant — AG Njonjo — saw things quite differently and was determined to follow the law.
The assumption seemed to be that even if Moi became the successor, he seemed too deficient in intellectual resources to last for long in that post, and any clever king-maker could use Moi as the ladder for self-promotion. Thus Koinange had described Moi’s ascendancy as a “passing cloud”.
PERSONIFICATION OF MOI’S TYRANNY
But Moi, who had been keen never to show his hand in this deadly game of cards, accepted Njonjo’s help and thereafter even made him his de facto prime minister.
Njonjo went on to throw his weight about so tactlessly that he, not Moi, became the personification of the tyranny that soon characterised the regime.
For his part, Moi seemed to be deploying the practical wisdom he had acquired as a herdsboy to purposefully give Njonjo enough rope to hang himself.
It was only when he thought the time was ripe that Moi used others to raise the “traitor” issue in the early 1980s in which Njonjo was finally found guilty — rightly or wrongly — of planning to overthrow the government, among other things.
Njonjo’s misfortunes raised Moi’s image for a time. But, meanwhile, the president had turned Kanu into a personality cult machine, through which he expelled all possible challengers and, given the single-party law, silenced them.
This finally led to the anti-Moi rebellion that culminated in the Saba Saba contretemps of 1991 and a constitutional change reinstating multiparty politics.
In 2002, Moi and Kanu were swept from power by Mwai Kibaki’s Narc. But history has a way of recapturing some of its own past. That election locked out a candidate alleged to be Moi’s. But in 2013 that candidate romped squarely into State House: his name is Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta.
Daniel Toroitich arap Moi’s Press Secretary Lee Njiru has worked for the former Head of State for just over 36 years. On Tuesday when Mr Moi turns 90, read Mr Njiru’s interview of the 24-year presidency that shaped a nation and the dramatic moments in Mr Moi’s involvement in international diplomacy as told by former Vice President and one-time Moi Cabinet minister Kalonzo Musyoka.

How Moi plotted Njonjo's downfall

President crafted Charles Njonjo’s downfall over fear of another centre of power


Charles Njonjo during an interview on August 20, 2010. FILE PHOTO | JENNIFER MUIRURI
Charles Njonjo during an interview on August 20, 2010. FILE PHOTO | JENNIFER MUIRURI |  NATION MEDIA GROUP
By NATION REPORTER
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Former powerful minister Charles Njonjo’s career ended in a public and noisy way.
This was due to President Daniel arap Moi’s resolve to entrench himself in power by getting rid of leaders he thought would become so powerful that they would create another centre of authority.
It all started with a presidential rally in Kisii District.
President Moi, who was touring the region, told the gathering that some Western countries were grooming a traitor to take over the country’s leadership.
This resulted in an orchestrated assault on the Constitutional Affairs Minister with his political enemies ganging up to condemn the “traitor”.
Mr Njonjo had joined elective politics in 1980 after retiring as Attorney-General.
He used the networks he had formed as AG and his closeness to Mr Moi to become one of the most powerful politicians in the country.
Some went to the extent of describing him as co-president.
In the process, he made many enemies.
'A STUMBLING BLOCK'
To his admirers, Mr Njonjo was a constitutionalist and a key figure in the peaceful transition from the Jomo Kenyatta era to that of Mr Moi.
According to Mr Moi’s biographer Andrew Morton, the President realised that the minister’s star was fast rising.
“Njonjo represented a stumbling block if Moi was ever to be recognised as an effective head of state both at home and abroad. A parting of ways became inevitable,” says Morton in his book Moi: The making of an African Statesman.
The entry of Mr Njonjo into politics brought him into conflict with Vice-President Mwai Kibaki amid local and international reports that there were rifts in the Moi Cabinet.
Two days after the Kisii rally, Kerio Central MP Francis Mutwol, then secretary of Kanu’s Parliamentary Group, narrowed down on the “traitor who wants to be installed president”, who “travelled a great deal” and had “a lot of money” outside Kenya.
On the same day, Mr Kibaki said the traitor would be “shown no mercy”.
On June 29, Mr Martin Shikuku tabled papers in Parliament alleging that Mr Njonjo had business links to apartheid South Africa, had smuggled arms into the country and had bribed MPs to support him.
While Mr Njonjo dismissed the accusations as “witch-hunting”, he was on the same day suspended from the Cabinet and a Judicial Commission of Inquiry appointed to investigate the allegations.
The following day, he was suspended from Kanu and quit his parliamentary seat.