Charles Njonjo’s shining moment in the exercise of power in Nairobi

Edited by Admin
Charles Njonjo’s shining moment in the exercise of power in Nairobi

As we prepare to celebrate Charles Mugane Njonjo’s 100th  birthday on January 23, 2020, we shall be sharing some of his most remarkable exploits during his 15 years as one of the most powerful and influential Kenyans and, perhaps, Africans.


To me the high point of his masterful exercise of power was in 1976 when, faced with a succession crisis in the late evening years of President Jomo Kenyatta’s life, Njonjo, in his capacity as Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya, declared:


“In view of the recent sudden wave of statements at public rallies about the alleged need for amendment of our constitution, I would like to bring to the attention of those few who are being used to advocate the amendment, that it is a criminal offence for any person to compass, imagine, devise, or intend the death or the deposition of the president. Furthermore, it is also an offence to express, utter, or declare such compassings, imaginations, devices or intentions by publishing them in print or writing. The mandatory sentence for any such offence by a citizen is death, and any person who aids in any such offence by being an accessory after the fact of it is liable to imprisonment for life. Anyone who raises such matters at public meetings or who publishes such matters does so at his own peril.”


The discussion came to a rather screeching halt. Kenyatta died on August 22, 1978 and was succeeded by Vice-President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi.

The above quotation of Njonjo is as published by Weekly Topic (Nairobi), no. 87 (October 11, 1976)

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