Thursday, September 18, 2008



Special Report
September 18
By Joe Ombuor

It runs between two architectural showcases in Nairobi, the High Court on City Hall Way and Macmillan Library on Kaunda Street.

Surprisingly the man behind the name Wabera Street never rose beyond the rank of DC, thanks to the bullets that cut him down at age 37.

Pundits have it that Kenya would probably be smaller than it is today were it not for the efforts of Daudi Dabasso Wabera, a pioneer administrator.

He was the first African DC of Isiolo.

In their bid to destabilise a unitary government proposed under Kenyatta, colonialists became part of the agitation for autonomy in the then NFD that included parts of northern Rift Valley Province.

Elsewhere, they backed the Kenya African Democratic Union (Kadu) led by the late Ronald Ngala and retired President Moi in a manoeuvre pitting big tribes against smaller ones to achieve their goals.

Wabera Street as it is today. Adjacent is Kenyatta Avenue named after Kenya’s first president the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. Photo: Evans Habil/Standard

In NFD, the colonialists incited the majority Muslims led by the Somali against Christians by urging them to clamour for secession to Somalia. A Caucasian police boss in charge of NFD hired people to eliminate Wabera.

A Caucasian police boss in charge of NFD hired people to eliminate Wabera.

Wabera was posted to Isiolo with a specific brief by the Kenyatta government to use his influence to counter secessionist manoeuvres.

Mr Adam Wako Bonaya, 65, served under Wabera as a trainee cashier at the DC’s office before resigning to join politics, becoming the first MP for Isiolo South.

Gunned down

He recalls how the administrator gunned down on June 28, 1963 met his death. Bonaya describes Wabera as an efficient and gifted administrator. "He opposed my joining politics but gave me his blessings when I told him my party was affiliated to Kanu."

Bonaya says the Provincial Police Officer and the head of the Special Branch were suspected to have been involved in the murder.

The murder, Bonaya says, came in the wake of pronouncements by Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta that plans had been hatched to assassinate black senior Government officials.

This was hardly a month after Kenya attained self-rule (Madaraka) on June 1, 1963.

Queen of England

The Queen of England was still head of state with Governor Malcom McDonald as her representative.

Bonaya says the outgoing colonialists had secretly backed the Northern Province People’s Progressive Party (NPPP), a political party that campaigned for secession by people of NFD from the soon to be independent Kenya.

"This party drew its following from the Muslim Somali community of Wajir, Garissa and Mandera districts and the Boran from Isiolo.

I was a member of the anti-secessionist Northern Province United Association Party (NPUAP) supported by the majority of the Borana and affiliated to Kanu. Wabera was a Borana from Marsabit, the bedrock of NPUAP".

bring to book

The then Minister for Information and Broadcasting Achieng’ Oneko promised in a Kenya Broadcasting Service broadcast on June 29, 1963, that the killers would be brought to book.

It was not long before the police boss one Prodgem earned the distinction of being the first white man to be deported from Kenya.

Bonaya gives the names of the two killers as Mohamed Mahmoud Farah and Mohamed Gelle.

"They crossed into Somalia with the help of colonial authorities where they were enlisted into the army," he claims.

On the day of his death, recalls Bonaya, Wabera left Isiolo for Modogashe, accompanied by Senior Chief Haji Gaalm Dida, on a mission to dissuade Isiolo Boranas from supporting secession as advocated by the NPPP.

On their way back to Isiolo, a vehicle blocked their way at a dry river course near Sericho and shot after a brief struggle. Chief Dida was also gunned down.

The decision to honour him in the capital was arrived at after independence.

Today, his name stands out in a city where street names are dominated by political players.

Photojournalist Said Wabera, a son to the administrator was a small boy when his father died. He says his father left behind six children.


Born in Marsabit town in 1926, Wabera was educated in Marsabit, and proceeded to Kahuhia in Murang’a for his secondary education.

He joined the Provincial Administration in 1946 as a clerk and in 1956, was appointed a DO.

He went to Cambridge in 1961 to study public administration, returning to Kenya in 1962 upon which he was promoted to a DC and posted to Isiolo to take over from a white DC.