Who Did Colonialist Fear More: Jomo Kenyatta or Dedan Kimathi?
When Nelson Mandela was released from imprisonment and visited Kenya 1990 one of his interests was to see Dedan Kimathi family. A biography that is coming out written by Joseph Karimi promises to shed more light on Dedan Kimathi a Kenya Icon.
A reported statement about the book reads, “The colonial government at the same time was painstakingly plotting for a succession plan. Karimi writes that in wondering who would take over, there was the choice of Dedan Kimathi, who after arrest was popular with the Mau Mau members, and Kenyatta.
However, the prospects of a Kimathi leadership sent ‘shivers down the colonial government’s spine.’” This book may also end up settling the debate many Kenyans have debated: Who did the Colonialist Fear More: Jomo Kenyatta or Dedan Kimathi?
The book is also said to reveal how Jomo Kenyatta approached the struggle for freedom. A reported part reads, “The freedom fighters, in a Kenya African Union (KAU) rally at Ruring’u showground, in which Kenyatta chaired on July 26, 1952 said armed struggle was “the only language the British understood”.
In response, Kenyatta asked the gathered crowd of 50,000 if they would withstand the kicks of a donkey if he held its jaws. “The rally roared back affirmatively.” However, a month later, during a three-day KAU delegates conference, Kenyatta advocated for non-violence. He angered the freedom fighters, and he was forced out of the chairman’s seat. Kenyatta sat on the floor as directed for the next three hours.”
The U.S. got George Washington as the leader of the military that defeated the British rule. In South African Nelson Mandela had become the militant probably inspired by Dedan Kimathi. For Kenyans the question has never been resolved of the role Dedan Kimathi played and why he was killed.
Another thing that many Kenyans could consider as they read this upcoming book is the fact that both Nelson Mandela and George Washington did not hunger for power but freedom shown by their quick departure from office after they were elected President. George Washington stayed in power for two terms of four years and is said of not wanting to run the second term. Mandela chose to serve one term of 5 years.
Would Dedan Kimathi would have behaved like these leaders and ensured that freedom prevailed.
Had Dedan Kimathi lived he at age 43 may likely not have had the vast knowledge compared to Jomo Kenyatta and Kenyatta would likely have been the first President. However, there is no doubt that the colonialist believed that even if Kenyatta was President, Kimathi would have a lot of influence in the direction Kenya took. Others debate that even though Kenyatta would have become President, Dedan Kimathi could likely have become the leader of Central “Jimbo,” in 8 regional Majimbo system adopted
The British generation today is compensating the Mau Mau freedom fighters and in doing so accepting that the generation that lived before them was wrong. It will be exciting to read the facts stated by these Mau Mau fighters who fought under the command of Dedan Kimathi.
Learning the 90% more that is unknown about Dedan Kimathi may indeed shape Kenya’s future. How was he able to organize a strong militant group? Is it true that an all black Kenyans jury found him guilty and convicted him to his death?
The uprising in Kenya during the time of British rule.