, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 22 – Kenya on Wednesday commemorated 40 years since the death of the country’s founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta who died in office in 1978.
The event was marked by laying of a wreath at the Jomo Kenyatta mausoleum located next to Parliament buildings, followed by a memorial service at the Holy Family Basilica.
The family was led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his mother Mama Ngina, who were accompanied by government and political leaders–among them Deputy President William Ruto.
Mzee Kenyatta started off as an anti-colonial activist and politician who first governed the country as Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964, before ascending to the presidency in 1964.
He ruled until 1978 when he died after a short illness.
His Vice President Daniel arap Moi took over and remain in office until 2002 when he opted to retire, and nominated Uhuru Kenyatta—Jomo’s son to vie for the top seat in the elections that year but he lost to Mwai Kibaki who rode on a euphoria by Kenyans with heavy support from Opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Kibaki served for two terms after winning both elections, and was succeeded by Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013 as the country’s fourth president.
Kenyatta is now serving his second term after winning the 2017 elections that were characterized by stiff competition that even led to the cancellation after his challenger Raila Odinga convinced the Supreme Court that the polls were not credible, but he opted out in the repeat poll ordered by the judges.
After declaring he will not recognize Kenyatta as winner of the polls, and even got himself sworn in as the People’s President, he later softened his stand and held talks with Kenyatta, culminating to the now popular handshake in which they agreed to work together in uniting the country even though he does not hold any known post in government.