Jan 25, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

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Controversial book that sought to unmask Leakey’s dark side

Imagine this book tells your supposed “dark side” on all of its 281 pages, which contain copies of letters, photos, memos and so on.

Now you should stop introducing yourself because a book like it ever came out – and it was about Richard Leakey, the paleoanthropologist, conservationist, and politician who died last Sunday at the age of 77.

Richard E. Leakey: The Master of Deceit, in print on glossy paper and launched in London in April 1995 was a devastating attack on the often adored man.

When you finish reading the book, you get a completely different picture of Dr. Leakey. The image of a committed archaeologist and conservationist fades, leaving behind at best the silhouette of an opportunist and, at worst, a manipulative pretender. His humorous side dissolves in the lake of alleged vengeance portrayed in the book about him.

The book paints the picture of a Dr from Kenya (NMK) and went to great lengths to locate aspiring local archaeologists to suffocate; how he held archaeological sites in a stranglehold to ensure that every discovery was attributed to him; how he created espionage mechanisms for his employees; how he gave away precious artifacts at will; how he benefited from the sale of “rationalized” museum properties, especially on the coast; how he gave lectures abroad and pocketed the money; how he lived big while the locals digging the ground in search of fossils were underpaid and poorly cared for; alleged embezzlement of donor funds and his involvement in conquering a forest reserve along Ngong Road, among others.

The authors of the book are Eustace Gitonga and Dr School.

Mr. Gitonga worked at NMK until December 1987 when he was forced to retire early (before he turned 40) from his position as exhibition director, allegedly due to a mistake in Dr. Leakey the book delves into – loathes anyone who did something that pulled the headlines off the famous archaeologist.

The book says Mr. Gitonga is the man who does most of the work at the Creation of the lifelike diorama by Early. Mann did at the Nairobi National Museum, and there are photos of him working on the structure.

It is also noted that Mr. Gitonga was the first artist to work on the construction of the giant dinosaur model before Museum was involved – weighs 40 tons as in the original plan and is designed to withstand the weight of children climbing all over it. The concrete and steel dinosaur model, the construction of which began in 1985, was the “excuse” that Dr. Leakey planned to remove Mr. Gitonga.

Dr. Pickford worked at NMK from 1980 to 1984 as head of the Site and Monument Documentation Department. He was formerly a member of the British Army before switching his career to a scientist with an interest in archeology.

The book says that after her disintegration, again because of Dr. Leakey’s mistake of not admitting his juniors to shine would make Dr. Pickford is banned from entering Kenyan museum facilities.

In 2006, Dr. Leakey asked about the contents of the book in an interview with the nation and he declined.

“I never read it. I looked at a few pages and was disgusted why anyone could have such a dirty mind There are many falsehoods and the book didn’t matter to me, “he said.” If some people who had plans of their own found me inconsiderate, shauri yao. My evidence is all there – in the buildings and structures They weren’t built with government money. “

Shortly after the book was published, Dr. Leakey entered politics as a member of the Safina Party. Although other newspapers were careful with it, the book was taken by Kenya Times, which was controlled by the ruling Kanu party.

Mr. Gitonga was interviewed by The East African in June of that year and said there was no political motive in the publication.

” The publication of the book coincided roughly with a poli There was a great deal of excitement sparked by Mr. Leakey’s announcement that he would be joining forces with Mr. Paul Muite and other opposition leaders to form a new political party, ”the leading regional newspaper for the Nation Media Group reported. “Mr. Gitonga said he and his co-author had no connection to the political events surrounding Dr. Leakey. “

A newspaper said that Dr had the book. Reviews of the book when it came out focused on its lack of objectivity and defamatory material.

The East African wrote in the above article: “An objective reading of the Master of Deceit seems to leave little doubt The authors’ complaints against Mr. Leakey are essentially personal. ”

The Daily Nation reported in its April 13, 1995 issue of the book’s publication: The reader wonders how the authors might access it to what they believe to be facts. ”

The bold remarks in the book could“ only be the result of a great certainty about your sources ”from information or unusual naivety on your part”.

< In the Sunday Nation lifestyle magazine on June 18, 1995, Andrew Ngwiri criticized the approach of the authors, particularly the way they dragged the edge of the story into the narrative.

“There is, too there s feeling that no one is getting out of the book entirely, except for the authors themselves and the other scientists Leakey is alleged to have fired. Life is just not like that. There is no such thing as pure black and white in human existence, just shades of gray, “he explained in the book department.

” This is an immature book full of vitriol and poison, and one that gets close to garbage. But it is by no means rubbish. The irony of the whole situation is that Master of Deception is apparently so well researched and documented that it would be absurd to claim that everything in it is a web of lies, ”he added.

Dr. Leakey never sued the authors, and in 1995, Mr. Gitonga told The East African that Dr. Leakey couldn’t dare because “he understands that the authors know too much”.

Before the book was published, Mr. Gitonga had asked Dr. Leakey was brought to court in high-profile legal proceedings in which he quit NMK and defamed his name at the behest of Dr. Leakey had contested.

One standout point in the lawsuit was Mr. Gitonga argued that Dr. Leakey couldn’t force anything to tell the truth under oath for being an atheist.

“In his autobiography, One Life, he says, ‘I believe it is man who God created after his own picture and not the other way around. I see no reason to believe in the afterlife. ”A staunch atheist like Dr. Leakey will not feel obliged to tell the truth by an oath to God, “he argued.

The book tells the story of the undercurrents behind the departure of people like John Onyango Abuje, Prof. Bethwell Ogot and Tim White and others from the NMK.

Incidentally, several chapters of the book explain how Mr. Leakey enlisted the help of a former attorney – General Charles Njonjo in his battles. Mr. Njonjo and Dr. Leakey died that same day, and their bodies were disposed of shortly afterwards – without even a formal funeral.

Dr. Leakey succeeded in placing NMK under the ministry of Mr. Njonjo and thereby the AG helped him lead some of his battles, including the removal of Prof. Ogot from the institution. He also helped pass laws that touch a number of things, including the application process for research stays in Kenya.

“The passing of these laws has put all power in the hands of one person, Richard Leakey. This was because the National Museum was made the only interested party in matters of antiquities and monuments, ”says the book, which further describes in detail how Dr. Leakey used this to his advantage.

The book says it Not only Mr. Njonjo has Dr. Leakey, who is repeatedly referred to in the book as a “great organizer”, committed to his tricks. A number of prominent personalities are named, princes from two European countries.

Of all the scenes in which Dr date to have them as the oldest, perhaps the worst blow in his branch was that of him Brought fame. For example, one of the fossils found at Koobi was dated 2.6 million years ago, but other scientists put it at 1.8 million.

“Richard Leakey didn’t like that at all because he recognized it that if the later date became known, he could no longer claim to have found by far the earliest hominids and stone tools, and it would violate his sensibility to proclaim that his specimens were only as old as fossils the team made his father’s found in Olduvai 15 years earlier, “the book says.

The authors later went into the excavations on their own and dug the remains of Orrorin Tugenensis, also Millennium Man, in Kabarnet in 2000 called, from.

“It was one of the first great finds in Kenya that was not associated with either the national museums or the Leakey family,” reported the nation on June 4, 2009.

By the way, in March 2000, Dr Pickford was confirmed Taken and charged in a Nairobi court for engaging in unauthorized archaeological research in the Turkana district I denied before being released on a loan of Sh50,000.

At the time of this writing, were themselves Mr. Gitonga and Dr. Pickford disagreed as they spoke out about the “disappearance” of the Millennium Man.

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