5 ways Uhuru copies his father - Jomo Kenyatta

Today marks 40 years since Jomo's death

His eldest son with his fourth wife Mama Ngina Kenyatta, Uhuru, is now Kenya’s fourth President.

Although Uhuru was only 17 years when his father passed on, Jomo’s influence dominates his life.

Pulselive.co.ke looks at 5 similarities between the younger and the elder Kenyatta.

Physical appearance

The obvious similarity is the physical appearance between the two Presidents.

Uhuru’s face and the deep piercing eyes is a clear pointer that he is a chip off the old block.

Short temper

The founding President was famed for his bad temper, so much so that there are reports that he would on a number of occasions physically whip errant ministers.

Although Uhuru does not enjoy the unlimited power of whipping his officials, he has also proven to have a short temper.

Last year, after the Supreme Court nullified his election, a visibly agitated Uhuru addressed a public rally where he referred to as honourable judges of Kenya’s highest court as wakoras (crooks).

Kikuyus around him

The founding President grew up at a time when Kikuyu nationalism was at its peak.

As President, he fondly enjoyed the company of Kikuyus and trusted them with the most sensitive state jobs.

According to Andrew Morton’s controversial biography of Daniel arap Moi, it was common for Cabinet meetings to be held in Kikuyu much to the disenfranchisement of the few who did not comprehend the language.

Among the senior officials from the Gema community include Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, State House comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua, NIS Director Philip Kameru, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge, KRA Chairman Francis Muthaura, KRA Director General John Njiraini, and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti.


Unknown to many, the founding President loved his drink.

While serving his prison sentence in Kapenguria, the colonialists had attempted to use his love for alcohol to force him into an early death.

Kenyatta was being provided with three bottles of Scotch every day, which he was consuming. The British authorities had planned for the burning spear to die of cirrhosis of the liver as quickly as possible – but the old man proved to be stronger that the colonialists had imagined.

Equally, the younger Kenyatta does not shy away from the bottle, as former US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger noted in a leaked cable.

“He drinks too much and is not a hard worker (though he surprised everyone by the acuity of the budget, which reportedly resulted from some tough work over long hours)," the envoy claimed in 2009.

Family wealth

Old Jomo is credited with transforming the fortunes of the Kenyatta family.

When he left prison in 1961, Kenyatta was a man of extremely modest means but by his death in 1978, his family was extremely wealthy – acquiring thousands of acres of prime land across the country.

In 2015, the President’s younger sister, Nyokabi Kenyatta-Muthama admitted doing business with the Ministry of health, despite an express law prohibiting siblings and children of the head of state from competing in public tenders.


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