The Genesis of the Uthamakism lie and betrayal by our fake “founding father” Jomo Kenyatta that we’re still grappling with to-date.
#UkweliKE by Gabriel Oguda
The only book Jomo Kenyatta ever wrote was ‘Facing Mount Kenya’. That was in 1938.
The second industrial revolution began in Europe in late 1870s. It was characterized by the build-out of railroads, large-scale iron and steel production, widespread use of machinery in manufacturing, increased use of steam power, widespread use of the telegraph, use of petroleum and the beginning of electrification.
These industries needed raw materials to run, raw materials that were increasingly running out in continental Europe. Raw materials that could be sourced from outside markets. Outside markets that were in a world never discovered before. That world was Africa.
Before the second industrial revolution, very few Europeans had set foot on this dark continent let alone know of its existence. They never knew how it looked like, who inhabited it, what they fed on, how they dressed, aliens or man. To bring light into this information darkness, each European country decided to send a team of explorers, mostly via the sea, to land in Africa and send back word on three things; (i) Are there people there? (ii) If so, can we sweet talk them to allow us cart away whatever we could find for our industries? (iii) If yes, where are these raw materials found, and in what quantities?
Your 8-4-4 history classes told you that the first Christian missionaries to enter Africa from the Indian Ocean coast were Johann Ludwig Krapf and Johannes Rebmann. You also remember they were Germans. Rebmann and Krapf was the first European explorers to find Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya, that’s what they told you. They drew maps, wrote daily field notes of their encounters in Africa. When they returned home, they shared those details with the German government.
Germany called Britain. Told them they had good news from the dark continent. Britain couldn’t believe what they were seeing. East Africa had snow-capped mountains, even a cool climate just like in the United Kingdom. Their people would find that place hospitable. The British government reacted by sending a team of explorers and geographers to corroborate these reports. Richard Burton, John Hanning Speke, and David Livingston were instructed by the palace to leave for East Africa at first light.
John Hanning Speke was the first to reach Lake Victoria (If you’ve ever been to Kampala, Speke Resort, in Munyonyo, is named after him). David Livingston is credited for discovering the Source of the Nile River in Jinja. Sir Richard Burton, part-explorer, part-geographer, part-translator, part-writer, part-soldier, part-cartographer, part-ethnologist, part-spy, part-linguist, part-poet, part-fencer, and part-diplomat, is the guy who first discovered Lake Tanganyika. Or so they claim.
This story is long, but let’s make it short.
After all European explorers had returned with a treasure trove of useful information back to their governments, the major European powers were called to a conference in the German capital of Berlin for the famous Berlin Conference of 1884, which your 8-4-4 history correctly themed; ‘The Scramble and Partition of Africa’.
The rudimentary map of Africa was spread on a table. Germany, as the hosts, were the first to pick which territories they wanted to exploit for raw materials. They annexed Tanganyika. Britain annexed Kenya and Uganda. Italians picked Somalia and Ethiopia. France picked Rwanda and Burundi. Belgians hit the jackpot when they picked the Congo basin. After shaking hands, each country was told to sort themselves out. And off they sailed to Africa to begin the plundering conquest.
The Christian Missionaries came to Africa with a bible and a gun, you’ve heard that famous quote before. If pacifying you into Christianity failed, they would blow your heads off into submission. Conquering Africa was going to be by force, by fire.
So these guys arrive in the Kikuyu District to find an ethnic community too protective of their land and would be willing to die for it. The British guys had fallen in love with the White Highlands – cool breeze, majestic scenery, snow-capped mountains, cold weather, perfect for agriculture. They would farm cash crops and export to Britain for processing. Kenya was now their colony, they would do whatever they wanted with its raw materials. Kikuyus were many and would offer free slave labor. But for them to farm the land they have to own them first. Kikuyus refuse to part with their land, they draw a line on the sand. Told the white chaps to go hug a porcupine. It was Motherland Or Death.
Jomo Kenyatta finds himself in London at this crucial time when this revolt is beginning to brew back home. The British government are itching to find any Kenyan who could shed light on the Agikuyu and their way of life. For you to rule over me, you have to learn my language and culture and seek to use them to your advantage. Branislaw Malinowski, the father of Social Anthropology, happens to be at the London School of Economics at that time. He invites Jomo Kenyatta over, convinces him to study Anthropology, and tells him to ground his Thesis on the Kikuyu Culture. He would be his Thesis supervisor.
Facing Mount Kenya is an ethnographic account of the Kikuyu culture, with finer details regarding the Agikuyu tribal origin and kinship system, the Agikuyu system of land tenure, their economic life, their traditional industries, system of education, initiation of boys and girls, sex life among young people, their marriage system, traditional system of government, religion and ancestor worship, magical and medicinal practices. The works.
Facing Mount Kenya becomes an instant hit. Everyone leaving the British Isles to Kenya is told to grab a copy. And by the time they dock at the port of Mombasa, they have already known how to approach the Agikuyu tribal chiefs to surrender their community land to white settlers. Missionary schools and churches are constructed, sons and daughters of aristocracy are cherry-picked to study there. The African chiefs are showered with goodies. They surrender their land to the white settlers. The renaming of the Central Highlands to The White Highlands completes the takeover.
It begins a protracted struggle by agitated Kikuyus to reclaim their lost community land. They declare war on any white settler and their local sympathizers. The butchery begins, the white settlers can’t cope with the virulence coming at them from the Mau Mau guerrilla fighters. They look for Jomo Kenyatta to go and pacify his people. The Mau Mau almost kill him for treachery. He denounces the Mau Mau. Tells them no one will be given back their land unless they work for it.
The prime land is partitioned by Kikuyu home guards as spoils of war. Those who fought and got killed in the bush get nothing. They try to raise their voice in front of Jomo. They’re told to try that bullshit again and they will know what Siri Kali is. They limp back home. Watch traitors get feted. Angry at their naivety. Cursing their ignorance. Too frail to fight anymore. Because this country isn’t worth dying for.
And for obvious reasons.