Aug 9, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Charles Njonjo, Odingas never saw eye to eye before failed Air Force coup

Senior Counsel Paul Muite, who represented Njonjo on the Judicial Commission set up to investigate allegations he was plotting to overthrow President Moi’s government, told of a meeting yesterday between Mr Odinga’s father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and Njonjo, who subsequently thawed relationships even with the younger Odinga.

But Jaramogi and Njonjo weren’t always best friends either. During their time, Njonjo and Jaramogi served the same government of President Jomo Kenyatta, but articulated different political ideologies.

While Jaramogi advocated social democracy, Njonjo favored a capitalist approach. This, coupled with the power struggle, led to a bitter argument in which Njonjo said nasty things about Jaramogi.

But Muite, a former Kabete MP, says she would despite the bad blood between the two later enjoy a good relationship with Mr. Raila Odinga.

“It’s not just the late Njonjo who has a good relationship with Mr. Odinga. It started in 1983 with Mr Odinga’s father, ”says Mr Muite, recalling an unusual demonstration of camaraderie between the two at the site of the Commission’s negotiations.

Read: Charles Njonjo, Jomo Kenyatta insider who made and ruined careers

The commission, chaired by Justice Miller, had started its sessions in October 1984 in the Old Chamber of the House of Parliament.

Hugged Njonjo

< p> “Oginga came to parliament for an examination and I was there when he gave Njonjo a warm hug. They had a warm conversation just before the trial began, “says Muite, one of Njonjo’s lawyers on the commission alongside William Deverell, who later became a High Court Judge.

” In 1990 Jaramogi became asked me to arrange a meeting with Njonjo at his residence in Muthaiga. I did that and the two met and talked, although I can’t tell what they were saying because I didn’t attend that meeting, “recalls Muite.

It’s not clear why Njonjo and It took Oginga about seven years to meet after the “hug” in Parliament. Nonetheless, according to Muite, the Muthaiga meeting took place.

This happened despite the fact that Njonjo had said very bad things about Mr. Odinga’s father, including that he could not imagine shaking hands with Oginga and vowed not to visit Kisumu for fear of infecting cholera. The disease was widespread in the sea region in the 1960s and 1970s.


Due to his position and influence in the government, Njonjo became closely involved with the dire events against Mr. associated Odinga and his father, including imprisonment without trial, the father and son were subjected.

The hostilities between the two politicians boiled over in 1982.

Information from the court-martial that the Air Force officers involved in the attempt to overthrow President Daniel Moi’s government revealed that two coup attempts were planned – one by the breakaway Air Force officers and another by Njonjo.

The Njonjo putsch was supposed to take place on August 1st. 1982, as Mr Odinga testified before the Miller-led commission. The Air Force was scheduled for August 9, 1982.

However, when the Air Force heard of Njonjo’s coup plan, they decided to bring their famous failed coup to August 1. Mr Odinga, who was arrested for his alleged role in the planning and implementation of the coup, who was testified as a state witness against Njonjo.

The Commission’s report captures Mr Odinga’s content from the four statements he made to the police against Njonjo.

Read: Charles Mugane Njonjo and the emergence of a political power broker

“I stated that I had received information that Mr Njonjo had plans to overthrow the Kenyan people Government with the help of South African and Israeli mercenaries and the General Service Unit (GSU), “says Odinga. “Considerable amounts of weapons were smuggled into the country. Some of these weapons were stored somewhere in the Aberdares and the coup in question was” planned on August 5, 1982.

“I also stated that the same source d said several South African and Israeli agents had come into the country to make arrangements for the coup. “

At the time of Mr. Odinga’s testimony on July 26, 1984, he had been lawfully detained since March August 1983. He was picked up for interrogation by police after the riot of August 1, 1982. Mr Odinga told the commission that he had a conversation in the gym with a Kiprono arap Keino, deputy spokesman for the National Assembly, at the Hilton Hotel, Nairobi, in March 1982.

They were friends and had met in Germany in the early 1960s. The two began to discuss politics in general. Mr Odinga told Keino that there were certain cliques in the government g who tried to intimidate parliament and silence it, “which was not in the best interests of the country”.

Keino replied: “I know that you don’t do it like Njonjo.”

By “you guys”, Keino meant the Luo community, the report explains.

The report shows Mr Odinga saying Keino that Luos has no reason to like someone who once said had that he could not shake hands with them.

“No answer whether the Luos liked it or not, Njonjo would make it as the next president of this country,” says the report. But how did Mr. Odinga reconcile with Njonjo? Ms. Ruth Odinga, the younger sister of Mr. Odinga, said that she couldn’t remember the events of that time since she was young to understand what was happening.

“I can’t tell you know exactly what happened because I was young, “said Ms. Odinga, referring to this author to Mr. Oburu Oginga, her eldest brother.

” The person who tells you everything is our e elder Brother, oburu. Just give him a call. ”

However, we could not reach Mr. Oburu because his phone was switched off at the time. He also didn’t respond to text messages.

Trigger of reconciliation

But according to Mr. Muite, who later became a close confidante of Oginga, also as his deputy chairman of the Ford Kenya party, after meeting Oginga, “it was only natural that Njonjo would extend the hug to Mr. Odinga.”

“Afterwards there seemed to be a cooling off between Mr. Odinga and Njonjo. Although I was never able to discuss this with Njonjo. But I can say that Njonjo has supported Mr Odinga morally, financially and otherwise in his political career, ”says Mr Muite.

It was around 2003 when Njonjo and Mr Odinga’s friendship became public. Occasionally they were seen together in public places. In 2007, Njonjo elected Mr Odinga in the presidential election over President Mwai Kibaki.

And Njonjo had no qualms about supporting Mr Odinga against his longtime political rival Mr Kibaki. The conflict between Njonjo and Kibaki had intensified in the early days of Mr. Moi’s presidency.

Njonjo, who defeated a clique that tried to succeed President Kenyatta after Mr. Moi’s death in 1978 and Little Deputy Minister GG Kariuki drove in the presidential limo, prompting some moi handlers to point out that the two were disregarding the president.

“People were asking, ‘Who is the president ? Is it Moi, Njonjo or Kariuki, ”John Keen, then Deputy Minister, told Moi’s biographer Andrew Morton.

At that point, according to Morton, there was talk of Mwai Kibaki, the then Vice President, could one Taking up a position at the World Bank.

Njonjo, who had entered parliament at the time as a Kikuyu MP, an election that made his appointment as Minister of Constitutional Affairs possible, cemented his power base.

< p> By 1980, two groups had emerged in Kanu – one from Mwai Kibaki and another from Njonjo. “Of course, Kibaki was very nervous because he thought I would take his job. I didn’t want the position of vice president, ”Njonjo told Morton.

He claimed that the bad blood between him and Kibaki started the day he proposed to Moi that Kibaki should be vice president. That evening he went to Kibaki’s house in Muthaiga to bring the news. “From that day on, Kibaki became my enemy,” claimed Njonjo.

2007 polls

Apparently it was contempt for Kibaki that led Njonjo Odinga to vote in the 2007 presidential election Supported.

Former Subukia MP Koigi Wamwere says that Mr Odinga and Mr Njonjo reconciled, just as politicians would, because after all, Njonjo was after President Moi was dismissed from the cabinet fallen from power.

“He was in the opposition with Mr Odinga and the two no longer fought each other,” says Mr Wamwere.

“If you hold such a position and the Government arrests people, wants to get rid of them Then you are definitely part of it! The crimes against the detainees were collective and not individual, “says Wamwere of Njonjo.