Raila reveals the real genesis of the Luo-Kikuyu rivalry, traces it to a 1958 letter

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Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga in Kisumu last year December./COURTESY

While in England after being driven to exile in 1958, Joseph Murumbi wrote a letter to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga congratulating him for being elected to the LEGCO. It was this letter that lit the first embers of hate, between the Luo and Kikuyu communities.

In a candid interview with Kameme TV this morning, the ODM leader revealed the Joseph Murumbi letter, came at a time Jaramogi was facing stiff opposition from his idea of Jomo Kenyatta being the country’s first leader. Those opposing Oginga included powerful Kikuyus at that time, some of whom were also elected.

”Urafiki kati ya Wakikuyu na Wajaluo ilianzishwa na Jaramogi na Mzee Kenyatta. Jana nilionyesha barua Mbiyu Koinange na Joseph Murumbi wakiwa exile Uingireza, aliandikia Jaramogi Oginga Odinga in 1958. Kumpongeza kwa kusimama imara kutetea Kenyatta wakati alikua kizuizini wakati huo,” Odinga narrated.

Members at the LEGCO who were against Jomo Kenyatta taking over from the colonialists felt he was not a ‘real leader’ from the people because he was not elected, unlike Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and his colleagues at the LEGCO.

”Walikua wanasema eti Kenyatta na wenzake walikua viongozi wakati huo lakini hawakuchaguliwa. Lakini wao ndio sasa wamechaguliwa kama viongozi. Mpaka serikali ya Uingereza ikataka Jaramogi akuwe Waziri Mkuu wa kwanza. Walisema kwamba Kenyatta ako senile, haweziongoza. Jaramogi akasema hapana…Hio itakua usaliti. Kenyatta ako tu hapa Lodwar aje atuongoze,” Raila explained.

Jomo Kenyatta governed as Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964 and then as Kenya’s first President from 1964 to his death in 1978.

The ODM leader said Jomo Kenyatta and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga’s friendship was genuine and it was the mechanism of distributing land from settlers after independence that caused a rift between the two. Oginga was Vice President from 1964 but fell out with Jomo Kenyatta and resigned from the government in 1966.

Whereas Oginga Odinga proposed the land be given back to Kenyans for free, the group around Jomo Kenyatta wanted it sold in a willing buyer, willing seller set up.

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