• Short Summary

    On December 12th, Kenya will be celebrating the anniversary of its Independence Day -- twelve years since it was led to freedom by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

    "Mzee" is a Swahili term of respect and affection meaning "the old man".

  • Description

    On December 12th, Kenya will be celebrating the anniversary of its Independence Day -- twelve years since it was led to freedom by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

    "Mzee" is a Swahili term of respect and affection meaning "the old man". Even Kenyatta himself does not know his exact age; but the evidence is that he is round about eighty. And since the deposition and death of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, his position as the elder statesman of Africa is unchallenged.

    When, as Prime Minister, Kenyatta received the constitutional documents of independence from Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Philip, on 12 December, 1963, he already had behind him forty years of struggle for national independence.

    As a young man, he was active in the Kikuyu Central Association, became its general secretary and editor of its newspaper. He went to Britain in 1931 to put his people's grievances before the Colonial Office -- and stayed there for fifteen years, studying and campaigning for African rights. He also visited Germany and the Soviet Union.

    Back in kenya after the Second World War, he became President of the Kenya African Union. And when the violence linked with the secret society Mau Mau led to a state of emergency, Kenyatta and other nationalist leaders were arrested -- though he insisted that the Kenya African Union had nothing to do with it. He spent the next nine years in prison or under restrictions, being finally released in 1961 to enter the Legislature and play a leading role in the independence negotiations.

    When Kenya became a republic a year after independence, Kenyatta was elected its first President. He was re-elected in 1969 and again in 1974.

    Though his party, the Kenya African National Union has remained in unbroken control, and indeed in recent elections has been the only one permitted to stand, the politics of Kenya have not been uniformly smooth during President Kenyatta's tenure of office. The scene has been marred by two mysterious political assassinations: of the popular Cabinet Minister, Tom Mboya in 1969, and then early this year of Josiah Kariuku, a leading member of Parliament who had been an outspoken critic of the government. There was rioting in Nairobi around President Kenyatta's car as it made its way to the funeral service for Mr. Mboya.

    Internationally, President Kenyatta has been the moving spirit in promoting closer co-operation with his immediate neighbours. He called a meeting with Presidents Nyerere of Tanzania and Obote of Uganda to set up an East African Federation in 1963, even before Kenya's independence had been formalised. Subsequently, he has worked to keep the East African Community together, in spite of the strains that developed between Tanzania and Uganda after the overthrow of President Obote by General Amin. His intervention with President Amin in the case of the British lecturer, Mr. Dennis Hills, under sentence of death in Uganda, was one of the factors which helped to spare Mr. Hills' life.

    Twice this year, too, President Kenyatta has brought the rival nationalist leaders in Angola to Nairobi, and tried to use his influence and prestige to induce them to came together in a common front; though in this particular venture, he has not had much lasting success.

    Under Kenyatta's presidency, Nairobi has become an important international conference centre. The International Monetary Fund held its first meeting in Africa there in 1973; the United nations Environment Programme has its headquarters in Nairobi -- the first United Nations organisation to base itself in the "third world"; the Wold Council of Churches has just been meeting there.

    On a more personal level, Mr. Kenyatta has been married four times. His eldest son is a Member of Parliament; his eldest daughter is Mayor of Nairobi. His fourth wife, known as Mama Ngina, and other members of the family, are very substantial property owners in Kenya. He is a genial host, with a country home at Gatundu, 25 miles (40 kms) from Nairobi; and at State House he takes pride in showing visitors his rose garden.

    SYNOPSIS: Jomo Kenyatta on what he has called "the happiest day of my life" -- receiving the formal instruments of Kenya's sovereignty on December 12th, 1963. It was the culmination of half a life-time of struggle for his country's independence.

    Kenya went on to become a republic -- with Kenyatta as its first President. He received congratulations from his ministers on his first re-election, unopposed. Last year, he was re-elected again.

    But his tenure of office has not been all plain sailing, politically. The murder of a popular Cabinet minister, Tom Mboya, in 1969, brought public feeling to the boil among mr. Mboya's Luo fellow-tribesmen. There were riots in Nairobi on the day of the funeral, through which the President himself had to pass on his way to the service. Another mysterious political assassination this year, of an outspoken Member of Parliament, Josiah Kariuku, also looked like producing a political crisis.

    One of the race occasions in recent years in which President Kenyatta has travelled outside Kenya. He met the Tanzanian and Ugandan Presidents in Uganda in one of the regular series of conferences they held to develop the East African Community.

    When President Obote was ousted by General Amin, President Kenyatta did his best to mend the rift this caused between Tanzania and Uganda.

    The President in genial mood - welcoming home the Kenyan team of athletes from the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in 1970. He has always taken trouble to encourage and identify with successes of Kenyans abroad, particularly the young people.

    And a short spell of relaxation for the President and Queen Elizabeth -- on her last stop of a strenuous Commonwealth tour. He entertained her to lunch at State house and then took her to inspect his famous rose garden.

    During Kenyatta's presidency, Nairobi has developed into a major international conference centre. The International Monetary Fund held its first meeting in Africa there. It is also the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme.

    The tenth anniversary of Kenya's independence. President kenyatta, magnificent in leopard-skin cloak, celebrated with his people in style. There was a full-scale march-past of the armed forces, and the President spoke with pride about Kenya's stability and economic achievement, and its respect for the rule of law.

    This year, Africa's elder statesman has twice tried to bring his wisdom and prestige to bear on Africa's most intractable current political problem -- the disunity among the nationalist leaders in Angola. Twice he has persuaded them into agreement in Nairobi -- only for it to break down when they got home.

    This is Mzee Jomo Kenyatta at about eighty. Even he does not know his exact age. But he's obviously not too old to enjoy dancing.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA158H1KBKRHPYJEVZ443RH54KP
    Media URN:
    VLVA158H1KBKRHPYJEVZ443RH54KP
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    05/12/1975
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:03:08:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment