Details of JM Kariuki's 1975 murder, as disclosed for the first time in the year 2000, by the Nation Media Group
Details of JM Kariuki's 1975 murder, as disclosed for the first time in the year 2000, by a three part feature published in the "Daily Nation" newspapers of 2nd, 3rd & 4th March 2000. Sections of the three part feature reproduced verbatim below:
Cover of the "Daily Nation" of Thursday, 2nd March 2000:
Startling new evidence about the murder of charismatic politician J.M. Kariuki is revealed by the Nation today.
The populist MP was interrogated at the Kingsway House headquarters of Special Branch, exactly 25 years ago today, after being framed for a series of bombings in the capital. JM was also questioned about secret bank accounts he had allegedly opened and the supposed disappearance of funds donated by foreign countries to the National Youth Service which he had headed and to former Mau Mau fighters.
He was shot in the arm by the then head of the GSU (General Service Unit), Ben Gethi, during a bitter exchange with one of his captors, President Kenyatta's personal bodyguard, the Nation has discovered.
Then he was dragged out and driven to the Ngong forest where his body was found by a herdsman.
The Nation also reveals that JM was threatened by a powerful son of President Kenyatta, Mr. Peter Muigai, two months before his murder.
Pages 9, 10 & 11 of the "Daily Nation" of Thursday, 2nd March 2000:
Who fired the shots that killed Josiah Mwangi Kariuki (JM) Kariuki? New evidence shows that the first bullet was fired by General Service Unit Commandant Ben Gethi in a Nairobi building and that it was not intended to kill and didn't kill him. The fatal shot was not fired until the fiery Nyandarua North legislator was driven behind Ngong Hills by men assigned by President Kenyatta's bodyguard, Senior Superintendent of Police Arthur Wanyoike Thungu.
By early 1975, somebody had decided that Josiah Mwangi Kariuki - popularly known as JM - had to be eliminated.
President Jomo Kenyatta was old and ailing. JM was believed to have his eyes on the presidency. Besides, JM had a dashing style and struck a powerful chord with the masses. It earned him bitter enemies in Kenyatta's State House.
Not only did the dapper Nyandarua North MP give generously to charity, but his speeches were increasingly populist. He was known to have given the princely sum of KSh 80,000 to a public cause at a time when the President's highest known donation was KSh 3,000 to the Jomo Kenyatta College of Agriculture at Juja.
His repeated attacks on the establishment did not help matters. On the 10th anniversary of Kenya's independence (1973), Mzee (Jomo Kenyatta) joyfully extolled the country's achievements while JM remarked elsewhere that Kenya had become a country of 10 millionaires and ten million beggars.
The first danger signal to JM came a few days before Christmas 1974. JM was playing darts over a drink at Nakuru's Stags Head Hotel with Mark Mwithaga, his long-time friend and MP for Nakuru Town, when Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Muigai Kenyatta and Nakuru Mayor Mburu Gichua walked in. They strode right up to the two and one of them barked at JM: "You have brought trouble here from Nyandarua. Be warned: This is Nakuru and we can finish you at any time!"
Mwithaga recalls their deep surprise. "Muigai and Gichua never even bothered to say hallo to us. They just lectured JM and left. We were very, very shocked". Muigai, President Kenyatta's eldest son by his first marriage, was a key member of the Kiambu political mafia.
If JM wished to dismiss the Stags Head encounter as an isolated incident, he was in for a surprise.
In January 1975, a well-connected Assistant Minister asked JM out for lunch at the Norfolk Hotel to "discuss a worrying matter". At the mmeeting, the Assistant Minister spoke of a secret meeting by a politically influential group which had decided that JM must be eliminated. The conspirators, said the Assistant Minister, hoped to convince President Kenyatta that JM was organising a citizens' revolt against the government.
They had shown Mzee selective extracts from JM's speeches. And although Kenyatta had not approved their plan, the conspirators believed they had sufficiently poisoned his mind. The friend advised JM to seel audience with the President and give him his side of the story. One hurdle stood in JM's way. The leading anti-JM conspirators also happened to be the gate-keepers of Kenyatta's State House.
JM's youngest wife, Terry Wanjiru, recalls her husband's fruitless attempts to see the President in his final years. A chance presented itself at the wedding of Attorney-General Charles Njonjo on November 18, 1972. Cutting through the throng of dignataries, JM walked over to Mzee and gave him a warm handshake. An excited Kenyatta replied "You're so lost JM. These days you don't come to say hallo to me!" To which JM replied, "Mzee, I have always wanted to come to see you but your men have been blocking me". "Is that so?" was Kenyatta's reply and he promised to look into the matter.
By early 1975 nothing had changed. JM was still unwelcome at State House yet he was increasingly desperate to meet Kenyatta. Driving home to Gilgil in early February 1975, JM came across Njenga Karume, the Nominated MP and inflential chairman of the powerful tribal organisation GEMA (Gikuyu Embu Meru Association), near Naivasha.
JM flagged down Karume and the two chatted by the roadside. Karume, now the MP for Kiambaa, recalls: "JM looked disturbed. He was not the confident man I knew. He began by thanking me for having stood by him in 1974 when a powerful clique wanted GEMA to campaign against him in the 1974 elections. Then he told me of the plot against his life and his difficulties in reaching Kenyatta". Karume sympathised with JM's predicament and promised to secure him an appointment with the President.
Time was running out fast. By early February, JM's enemies had laid down a scheme to "sort out" their problem. They resolved to stage a series of events that would turn the public against JM and at the same time convince Kenyatta that JM was a boil that had to be lanced.
A shadowy movement calling itself Maskini Liberation Organisation was formed as part of the propaganda campaign. Since JM presented himself as the "voice of the poor" the public would readily identify the movement's violent activities with him. Leaflets allegedly issued by the movement were printed and distributed in different towns. They bore the names of JM, Charles Rubia and five others as trustees of the Maskini Liberation Organisation, all of them "outsiders" to the tight clique around Kenyatta.
Suddenly a spate of bomb hoaxes hit Nairobi. Anonymous calls would be made to police and newspaper offices that a bomb was about to go off. In the second week of February, a bomb exploded at the Starlight Discotheque on the edges of the city centre. There were no fatalities but the message was clear: Not all bomb alarms were false. Someone called the Central Police Station claiming that Maskini was behind the discotheque blast and there would be another bomb at the Tour Information Office, next to Hilton Hotel. A bomb went off there two hours later.
In Parliament that week, Embu East MP Njagi Mbarire asked the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs Daniel arap Moi to confirm or deny the existence of the Maskini Liberation Organisation. Moi declined to answer the question, citing ongoing investigations.
Kamukunji MP Maina Wanjigi ventured that the VP was being non-commital because Maskini Liberation Organisation was the creation of government operatives. The conspirators were growing impatient. They met secretly at Nakuru's Midland Hotel on Wednesday, February 26, 1975, and again at State House, Nakuru, the following day. The JM matter, it was decided, had to be settled that weekend.
Mzee Kenyatta had travelled to Gatundu for the weekend when the two Nakuru meetings took place. Evidence would later emerge that Kenyatta's chief bodyguard, Wanyoike Thungu, attended the Midland Hotel meeting and arranged the discussion at State House. JM, meanwhile, was becoming apprehensive. His doctor advised him to take a few days rest against stress.
A friend called Elizabeth Koinange booked the two of them onto an OTC (Overseas Trading Company) bus bound for Mombasa on Friday, February 28. At the last minute a friend, Isaac Macharia, dissuaded the MP from going to the Coast.. He was lucky. A bomb exploded in the bus he would have taken, killing 27 people and injuring 100 others.
The plotters' February 27 meeting at State House, Nakuru, had resolved that JM be put on a 24-hour surveillance until the "job" was done. A friend who had borrowed the MP's car noticed that he was being trailed by a well-known police reservist, Patrick Shaw, in a white Volvo.
He reported the incident but JM had more pressing matters to think about. The next day GSU Commandant Ben Gethi, who had had been a close friend of JM, had called to alert him of a plan to implicate him in the city bombings and have him jailed without trial. Gethi pressed him to meet the country's security chiefs and explain his innocence. But the MP was adamant that.
Witnesses later quoted him as saying: "Why should I explain my innocence before anybody has openly accused me? I will wait until they arrest me and I'll prove my innocence". Within two hours, Gethi was on the line again. He told JM that he had thought over the matter and convinced that JM's best option was to informally meet the security team "in a friendly atmosphere". Gethi promised to be at the meeting to ensure JM's security.
JM finally caved in to the GSU chief's pressure when the two men met at the International Casino the next day. The meeting was set for Sunday, March 2. That was the day JM would disappear, later to be found dead murdered in the Ngong Hills forest. That Sunday morning Gethi visited JM at home. It was a rather unusual visit, as the Parliamentary Probe Committee later noted, but Gethi insisted that it "was just a normal call to a friend's house".
Investigations now show that Gethi had taken to JM a pistol he had promised him, to guarantee his safety during the Security Committee meeting. Witnesses testified that Gethi's visit was so secretive that he entered JM's bedroom instead of waiting for his host to be woken up.
At midday JM went to the Ngong Racecourse, where he and Gethi had a brief chat. Later in the evening he popped in at the Hilton. Gethi would deny before the Parliamentary Probe Committe that the two of them met, but witnesses said they had seen him in the company of reservist Patrick Shaw.
Witnesses have told the Nation that several things happened at the Hilton while JM was away. At around 5 p.m. Patrick Shaw and a Mr. Young, also a police reservist, chased away all parking boys who usually hang around outside the hotel. Some taxi drivers were also asked to leave. It has also emerged that then CID head Ignatius Nderi and then deputy director of the National Youth Service Waruhiu Itote were seen briefly at the Hilton with the two men.
One of them was Pius Kibathi, a trained policeman who never joined the force, and the other Councillor John Mutung'u of Olkejuado County Council. JM arrived at the Hilton's Coffee House at about quarter to seven. He was about to settle down with a friend when Gethi suddenly appeared. He excused himself and walked away with the GSU boss. Apparently Gethi had not to find JM with anybody else. On noting the dilemma on Gethi's face, JM quickly excused himself as he told Macharia: "By the way, Gethi and I were to meet, let me have some minutes with him".
A hotel security man, Mr. Fred Sing'ombe, saw JM and Gethi enter a Peugeot station wagon behind the hotel. JM's white Mercedes Benz, Registration Number KPE 143, was left in front of the Hilton Hotel, where the family found it when the MP disappeared.
His movements from the hotel have for years been a mystery, even to the House Select Committee. But the Nation has now established that the two men went to the Special Branch headquarters at Kingsway House in Muindi Mbingu Street. Gethi and JM entered the building through a back entrance and headed for the office of a senior Special Branch officer.
In the room were the senior officer himself, Kenyatta security chief Wanyoike Thungu, the NYS's Itote, CID director Nderi and reservist Patrick Shaw. JM was apprehensive to see Thungu in the meeting. The two had never had time for each other ever since JM worked as Kenyatta's private secretary in the early 1960s. He also knew of Thungu's roles in the Nakuru meetings which plotted against him.
At Kingsway House, Gethi left JM to be questioned by Nderi and Shaw on the bombings. The MP, says a senior retired policeman, answered all the allegations raised by Nderi and Shaw until the two appeared satisfied that he had nothing to do with the bombings. Thungu, who remained silent, then took over the questioning. He wanted to know why JM had been "going around the country insulting Kenyatta". JM denied that he had ever insulted Kenyatta and that all he had talked about was social justice for all Kenyans, which was quite in line with Kenyatta's beliefs.
Thungu then touched on a raw nerve. He asked JM to account for some money he allegedly received for schorlarships while serving as a private secretary to Kenyatta. He also referred to money issued as compensation to Mau Mau fighters who had lost their land during the independence struggle, which was handled by JM when he was an assistant minister for Agriculture with special duties. Itote, who had worked closely with JM at the NYS (National Youth Service), talked of money from the Chinese Government which JM had allegedly received on behalf of the service.
The exchange between JM and Thungu became heated. Thungu, says an impeccable source, lost his temper and punched JM viciously in the mouth, knocking out three of his teeth. JM's body found at the City Mortuary eight days later had three lower teeth missing.
Instinctively, the bleeding JM reached for a pistol in his pocket, the same gun he had been given by Gethi that morning. But Gethi, the only person in the room who knew JM had a gun, was quicker on the draw. He whipped out his service revolver and shot JM in the upper right hand arm to protect Thungu.
As JM collapsed in a pool of blood, Thungu phoned a senior politician to inform of what happened. It is not known what the senior politician said. However, evidence received by the JM Probe Committee and later corroborated by Gethi in a confession to JM's sister many years later, stated that after the telephone call, Thungu called three men who had been waiting in another room (the three were named in other circumstances by the Probe Committee).
He ordered them to handcuff JM and take him to a car downstairs. They had been brought to Kingsway House by Nderi to give evidence on JM's alleged involvement in the city bombings. The vehicle into which a bleeding and wailing JM was bundled belonged to a councillor, John Mutung'u of Ngong ward, the area in which JM's bullet-ridden body was discovered by two Maasai elders the following morning. Councillor Mutung'u was later summoned by the Parliamentary Probe Committe and asked to bring with him his car, a green Peugeot station wagon with a red inscription: "Meat Park".
In it's final report, the JM Probe Committe recommended that Councillor Mutung'u be investigated alongside Thungu, the Minister of State Mbiyu Koinange, his bodyguard Peter Karanja, Nakuru Mayor Mburu Gichua, then Nyandarua District Commissioner Stanley Thuo, NYS deputy director Waruhiu Itote and JM's rival in the 1974 General Election, one Evan Ngugi. A member of the JM Probe Committe who talked to the Nation disclosed that it suspected that Mbiyu Koinange was the person Thungu talked to on the telephone after JM had been shot.
The MPs established that Thungu had driven to Nairobi from Nakuru by a discreet route on the afternoon of March 2. Questioned by the committee, Thungu insisted that he spent March 2 with the President at Gatundu. The President, of course, couldn't be summoned to verify this. A confidential witness testified before the Probe Committee that Gethi remained alone at Kingway House until past midnight, chain smoking and talking on a police radio.
Before his death on September 12, 1994, Gethi confessed to JM's sister, Rahab Mwaniki, that he had taken JM to Nderi and Shaw, for questioning on the bombs. He said he had left JM with the two senior police officers and returned much later to find a Mr. Pius Kibathi and two other men dragging a bleeding and groaning JM to a vehicle behind Kingsway House. But other sources say Gethi never left Kingsway House until JM had been taken away..
In his memoirs "A Love Affair with the Sun", Sir Michael Blundell, a well-connected former politician and businessman, said one some of the cartridges recovered from the place where JM's body was found in Ngong were fired from a pistol belonging to a presidential guard he did not name. The House Committee established that two different pistols were used to kill JM. Clearly, he was shot at different places, first at Kingsway House and later at the Ngong Hills scene of murder.
The guns were either a .38 Walther or a .38 Mann, both of which also happened to be the pistols used by members of the GSU Recce Company. Officers in the Recce Company are used for special duties, the main one being providing escort to the President and visiting heads of state. Probe Committee members believed that JM's murder was a foregone conclusion and would have taken place even if Thungu had not provoked the shooting at Kingsway House.
"How Kenyatta doctored the report", as appearing on page 13 of the "Daily Nation" of Thursday, 2nd March 2000:
June 3, 1975, was a day of great expectation - and suffocating tension. The committe investigating JM's murder had completed its work and a report was due to be tabled in Parliament. Mr. Elijah Mwangale, the chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee, was in conference with his 13 members in Room 7 on the first floor of Parliament Buildings. They were going over the details of the 38-page report when word came through the Clerk's office that the committee was required at State House, Nairobi.
Three copies of the report had been done. Mr. Mwangale took one with him. The other two were each put in the "custody" of former Butere MP Martin Shikuku and former Wajir East MP, the late Diriye Amin. Their instructions were simple: They were not to leave the precincts of Parliament until the afternoon session of the House was over.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mwangale left for State House with a few members of his committee. They included former Starehe MP Charles Rubia and former Lurambi North MP Burudi Nabwera. The two MPs with the other copies were "policed" by other MPs. All the windows of Room 7 were locked inside and the keys taken from the sergeant-at-arms and kept in the custody of the two MPs. Were all these precautions necessary?
Suspicions were high. Attempts to sabotage efforts to table the report could not be ruled out. Every so often the custodian MPs took turns to visit Room 7 to confirm the copies were still intact. The tension was aggravated at 2.30 p.m. when the afternoon session of the House started without any word on when the Mwangale team would return.
Meanwhile, at State House, Mr. Mwangale and his team were facing Mzee Kenyatta and had been asked one question: Why were the names of Cabinet Minister Mbiyu Koinange and that of the president's bodyguard, Senior Supt of Police Arthur Wanyoike wa Thungu, in the report?
Rubia: "Kama ni hivyo Mzee, tunaweza kuondoa hayo majina alafu tuipeleke bunge" ("If that is the case Mzee we can delete the two names and thereafter we table it in Parliament").
Kenyatta: "Kama ni hivyo sawa sawa"! ("If that is the case it is alright").
Mzee Kenyatta gave Mr Mwangale a green pen. He made him delete the two names and sign against each deletion.
Back in Parliament, Mr. Shikuku and Mr. Diriye entered the Chamber with their copies clutched under their arms. Without warning Mr. Mwangale and his team entered the Chamber, eliciting sighs of relief, foot-thumping and loud cheers. Mr. Mwangale tabled the report minus the two names.
"How JM fell foul of Kenyatta clique and became an obstacle", as appearing on pages 8 & 27 of the "Daily Nation" of Friday, 3rd March 2000:
To understand the animosity between JM Kariuki and President Kenyatta's bodyguard, Arthur Wanyoike Thungu, is partly to unravel the motives of the killing which nearly brought down Mzee's government.
Wanyoike was among the top security men gathered to question the Nyandarua Naorth MP at the Kingsway House Special Branch headquarters on Sunday March 2, 1975, the day JM disappeared and was later found murdered. It was he who had drawn JM into a bad-tempered argument over missing foreign funds. The exchange resulted in the MP being shot on the arm by Ben Gethi, the GSU commandant.
But what united different people in Kenyatta's court against Josiah Mwangi Kariuki? What traits of his character set them so firmly against a man, who, like them, was a former Mau Mau detainee and a veteran of the freedom struggle? The Nation's investigations show that JM left a trail of of bitter and powerful enemies wherever he worked.
His first job in independent Kenya was as a private secretary in charge of political affairs in the office of Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta, later President of the new Republic, between 1962 and 1964. Kenyatta had first heard about JM while in prison.
The young freedom crusader, who was detained between 1953 and 1960, had made a name as a spokesman for victims of colonial oppression, even in prison. On his release in 1960, JM visited Kenyatta, who was still in detention at Maralal. The two men hit it off instantly. JM then left the country for Oxford University and returned to become Kenyatta's private secretary.
Mzee trusted JM so much that all delicate missions, like securing overseas training for the President's security men, were handled by him. Kenyatta also used JM secretly to negotiate for compensation to victims of the Mau Mau liberation war.
Thungu had two reasons to dislike JM for life; one was personal and the other communal. Kenyatta's security when JM became his private secretary was dominated by men like Thungu, who hailed from the President's Gatundu village. Many of these had been youthwingers of Mzee's Kenya African Union (KAU) party, (Kenya African National Union's) KANU's predecessor, before Kenyatta's imprisonment in 1952.
JM was strongly opposed to Kenyatta's choice of bodyguards, none of whom had proper police training or formal education. He proposed that a National Youth Service be set up to absorb the former KAU youth and Mau Mau fighters for vocational training. Over the question of Kenyatta's security, he found stauch allies in then newly-appointed director of Police Intelligence, Bernard Hinga, who would later become the police commissioner, and the head of the Prime Minister's Escort Guard, Sir Alex Pearson.
At the intervention of the three officers, Kenyatta dropped the idea of taking all his former youthwingers as bodyguards but refused to be separated with a few from his Ichaweri neighbourhood. He instructed that they be sent overseas for training. Thungu was among those selected few. He never forgot that he had narrowly missed the chop. For that he would never forgive JM.
But JM had an even bigger problem, He came from Nyeri District. Kenyatta's State House was largely a Gatundu-Kiambu affair. JM was a stranger. A palace campaign was launched to discredit JM in the eyes of Kenyatta. Matters were not helped by the fact that JM was openly ambitious and pushy. Slowly, Kenyatta began to mistrust JM.
In "Politics of Independence of Kenya", historian Keith Kyle recounts an incident where Kenyatta sent JM to secure six training slots for his bodyguards in Israel. However, he turned to Dr. Gikonyo Kiano, who was not a State House employee, to decide who would have the scholarships. So vicious was the anti-JM campaign at State House that a young woman he was in love with and for whom he had paid half dowry as dissuaded from marrying him. The girl was later married to a member of Kenyatta's security who is today a Cabinet Minister.
In early 1964, Kenyatta was finally prevailed upon to drop JM as his private secretary and to scrap the job altogether. JM was moved to the newly-formed National Youth Service (NYS), the same place he had wanted to dump Thungu and company.
As National Leader of the NYS, JM toured the country, overseeing recruitments and inspecting project sites. But a new set of trouble awaited him. The NYS Act ranked the force's National Leader together with Service Commanders, allowing JM to sit in national security meetings. The Kiambu clique that had hounded him out of State House were uneasy with this situation. They resolved to strip him of this new post as well.
JM played right into their hands when one day in 1968 he entered Parliament in full NYS uniform. He was then MP for Aberdares Constituency, later renamed Nyandarua North. Immediately JM entered the Chamber, a Cabinet minister prompted by Attorney-General Charles Njonjo asked the Speaker whether it was in order for JM to enter the House in forces uniform. Speaker Hunphrey Slade ruled there was nothing wrong with it as long as the uniform did not include a cap.
The matter didn't end there. Some ministers took it to the Cabinet and complained to Kenyatta that JM had gone to the House in uniform to rival the Commander-in-Chief, the only person known to have entered the Chamber in military uniform. A few weeks later, JM was sacked as NYS National Leader and the post scrapped.
Yet Kenyatta still had a soft spot for his former secretary. He appointed JM an assistant minister in the ministry of agriculture, with Special Duties. This vague post meant he could rival his own minister. JM's role in the ministry of agriculture soon got him on a collison course with the Cabinet member in charge, Bruce Mackenzie, and his friend Njonjo.
In early 1969, JM took advantage of the minister's absence from the country and sacked by notice two expatriate directors of agriculture and five other senior expatriates in the ministry. Mackenzie cancelled his trip and flew back home in a rage. He immediately raised the matter at a Cabinet meeting. Kenyatta supported JM, arguing that he had the powers of a minister and was covered by the rule of collective responsibility. The Cabinet couldn't disown the decision.
Mackenzie and Njonjo never forgave JM. Kenyatta later transferred JM from the ministry of agriculture to the ministry of Tourism and Wildlife.
The 1969 General Election gave JM a chance to demonstrate his organisational capabilities and the respect he commanded among colleagues. By now JM had set his sights high. At a victory party JM hosted for his supporters and friends after the 1969 elections, he confided in them that he would be going for "big things". It was the beginning of the increasingly radical JM projected through word and deed, snipping at the Kenyatta government at every opportunity.
Speaking during a student graduation at Highridge Teachers College in early 1970, he said that the Kenya Government had betrayed the vision of the freedom fighters. Colonial white settlers had only been replaced by black settlers. He told a stunned crowd: "I believe firmly that substituting Kamau for Smith, Odongo for Jones and Kiplagat for Keith won't solve what the gallant fighters of our uhuru (freedom) considered an imposed and undesirable social justice". A few weeks later he received a standing ovation at Nairobi University when he declared: "It takes more than a National Anthem to create a nation".
Later he hopped to Uganda's Makerere University and declared Kenya's policy on African Socialism a hoax. JM was now the man to watch. A GEMA delegation called on Kenyatta to complain about the MP. But Kenyatta dismissed their worries, saying JM was "just a young inexperienced bull that doesn't know from which side to mount a cow".
But clearly others did not think so. A scheme was put in place to slow JM by denying him permits to hold or address meetings. The restriction was extended even to innocuous gatherings like family parties. A birthday party he had scheduled for March 21, 1971, aws cancelled at the eleventh hour by the State. And on January 1, 1972, a huge rally he had organised to be attended by a number of cabinet ministers and MPs was cancelled at the last minute. An incensed JM later told Parliament: "This anti-JM campaign is now bordering on stupidity".
Denied a chance to speak outside Parliament, JM turned to the House to air his views. The then deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Munyua Waiyaki, recalls: "JM would call and ask me not to miss Parliament as he was preparing a bombshell. He particularly liked the days when I was in the Chair as he knew I wouldn't deny him a chance to say whatever he wanted". JM's other strategy was to give generously to development projects. The contributions aroused suspicion that he was being externally funded by foreigners who preferred him as a future president of Kenya.
JM countered the rumours by saying that it was not how much money he had but how generous he was at heart that mattered. But the suspicions grew, as JM had no known sources of income to support the large sums he gave away.
At the time he died, his known businesses included a shareholding in the Rift Valley Trading Agencies, which he co-owned with Vice-President Moi and Moi's brother-in-law Eric Bomett. He also owned a tour company with Israeli businessman Ernest Kahane, a mining company with his brother-in-law Harun Muturi and two restaurants in the city. Many thought those investments could not finance JM's private race horses and his ostentatious casino gambling habit.
It was whispered that the Chinese were behind JM's seemingly endless resources. But his widow Terry denies that JM had any forign backer. "For all the time I lived with him, he never held a secret bank account. In any case, the government had the machinery to uncover such an account had it existed", she says.
JM's political enemies went on the offensive in the 1974 General Election. All his campaign meetings, except one, were cancelled. He was virtually banned from visiting his constituency during the campaigns. In the meantime, Nakuru's Mayor, Mburu Gichua had camped in Nyandarua North with instructions to ensure that JM didn't go back to Parliament. To the great chagrin of his detractors, JM retained the seat with three times more votes than the combined total of his opponents.
During the swearing-in of the new Parliament in November 1974, MPs gave JM a standing ovation. It rivalled the applause they had just given Kenyatta, who was in the Chamber. It was about this time that secret meetings began in Nakuru and in the city on how to stop JM. Taped speeches of his addresses were played to Kenyatta but Mzee was not alarmed. He only suggested that the MP should be warned to change his ways. According to the the Nakuru Town MP, Mr. Mark Mwithaga, the Stae House clique that wanted JM eliminated were themselves interested in keeping a hold on the presidency after Kenyatta. Which is why they held meetings in Nakuru and resolved that JM must die on March 2.