Thursday, October 20, 2011



Correspondent | NATION President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga after the Head of State unveiled the statue of veteran trade unionist Tom Mboya on October 19, 2011.

Correspondent | NATION President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga after the Head of State unveiled the statue of veteran trade unionist Tom Mboya on October 19, 2011.

By Daniel Wesangula
Posted Wednesday, October 19 2011 at 22:00


  • Kibaki praises popular politician as he leads ceremony to celebrate him near the site in city centre where his life was snuffed out by a gunman

On July 6, 1969, the sound of a gunshot rent the afternoon air in Nairobi. As the bullet penetrated its victim, it took with it the life of a dedicated father and an illustrious figure.

As his young family mourned the death of a father, a young Kenyan nation was also in tears, mourning the death of a hero.

More than four decades later, and after two regimes, the memory of Mr Thomas Joseph Mboya has finally been immortalised into Kenya’s psyche through the erection of a life-size statue in his honour.

Barely a few metres from where his life was cut short 42 years ago, President Kibaki on Wednesday officially unveiled the statue of the politician in Nairobi, describing him as a man dedicated to his causes and Kenya.

“Those who knew him the world over acknowledge his greatness and are not in doubt that this statue is befitting to a man of his character.

‘‘May God grant us the memory to forever remember him and those like him who helped chart a path for our country,” said the President.

Situated between Tom Mboya Street and Moi Avenue on a stretch of land that will be known as Tom Mboya Walk, the statue watches over the multitudes that will pass by daily.

Even though Mr Mboya has been honoured, if he were to miraculously resurrect and watch the world through the eyes of his statue, would he be proud of the strides taken by the nation that he and many more founded?

Nearby are numerous banks, pointing to an expanded economic space. Of late there has been an increase in interest rates and depreciation of the shilling.

As the first minister in charge of economic development and planning, he may have had a thing or two to say about this.

Further ahead he will spot banners and billboards advertising institutions of higher learning that are a link to an education system that has been criticised and praised in equal measure.

As a staunch believer of the power education has to change society, he might have had something to say about this too.

The issue was so dear to him that it led to the birth of the famous Airlift Africa Project that provided light at the end of the tunnel for bright impoverished African children.

But just below him, he would see thousands of Kenyans jostling for space, pursuing their dream of at least carving out a piece of the national cake for themselves and count themselves as patriots first and any other thing second.

“If he were here today, he would want us to be fiercely proud of being Kenyan and that we come from a glorious past, a past which we should use as lesson into a prosperous future,” Dr Susan Mboya Kidero said of her father.

However, even as the statue reminds Kenyans of her heroes and a gallant past, it will also cast a long shadow on a number of dark secrets she still keeps to herself.

This is so because the statue will be synonymous not only with Mboya’s illustrious life but also with his death and the unsolved assassination that befell him and others before and after him.

The Mboya statue is one among a number of projects that the government has undertaken to honour its heroes.

They include setting up museums for the Kapenguria Six, a statue for Mr Ronald Ngala that will soon have a corner of its own to watch over and a Mashujaa Square in Nairobi’s Uhuru Gardens that will be home to our heroes.


“As a government, we will pay tribute to those who show unwavering dedication to the nation in the best ways possible,” said Prime Minister Raila Odinga who also attended the unveiling ceremony.

  1. Submitted by mboka

    Years back when I was in Primary school, my headmster narrated to us how Tom Mboya was shot and killed. He went a head to said that Kenyatta ordered the killing. At that time, I didn't even know who Tom Mboya was and who Kenyatta was. I innocently enjoyed the story and upto date, it still lingers in my mind how Kenyatta Killed Tom Mboya.

    Posted October 20, 2011 06:34 PM
  2. Submitted by amisoi

    Thou shall not make graven images lest others start to worship them. I maintain that the best way to honor our heroes is by putting their portraits on the currency. That will allow all the citizens including rural folks who can never set foot to the city to know them. A number of established nations are using that approach which makes it a more pronounced honor. Sometimes the choice of locations may create bitter memories. The grand children for example may not want to walk the street that their grandfather was felled.

    Posted October 20, 2011 05:55 PM
  3. Submitted by kibash

    Until they put Kibanya Njine Munge (1898 - 1989), they have not counted all of them heros.

    Posted October 20, 2011 04:18 PM
  4. Submitted by KenyanSamenya

    I was NOT yet born, but When I became, I heard that he was KILLED by the government of the day!. Shame on them all!

    Posted October 20, 2011 02:25 PM
  5. Submitted by gitingitititika

    Within a short time of his productive life, Tom Mboya, as a selfless leader TM achieved a lot for the nation and the whole World. I would ONLY equate TM to late Martin Luther King, Jr

    Posted October 20, 2011 02:20 PM
  6. Submitted by wuodmin74

    Adanhaji7,i agree with u but it is one day at a time;we cannot honour all our heros in 1day.In anycase more heroes get minted in our country everyday.And by the way it doesnt have 2b a statue,they could be honoured in so many other different ways.I think it is a good beginning.

    Posted October 20, 2011 01:43 PM
  7. Submitted by Blessedbravo

    The best memorial for the late TM would have been to bring his killer to book - it's widely believed the man is still roaming the streets of Kenya.

    Posted October 20, 2011 01:20 PM
  8. Submitted by jakogwen

    as we pass by the statue there are those whose hearts cry bitterly and others whose hearts would not hesitate to shoot Mboya again if he was here.while some of us hail him many others will mock him.because that bullet shatterred my hopes but at the same time built others.

    Posted October 20, 2011 12:23 PM
  9. Submitted by Ommutete

    We need a serious vetting commitee to decide who our national heroes will be,lest we start getting names of Mulu Mutisya and Karioki Chotara included.Former Presidents who abbeted political assasinations,tribal clashes and political chaos should not make the list

    Posted October 20, 2011 10:52 AM
  10. Submitted by pwaruts

    President Kibaki served us TM's assistant minister and he therefore knows that he ( TM )is a hero who deserves a statue. The youths of this great country can now get our nation's pictorial history as they walk along Tom Mboya street.

    Posted October 20, 2011 10:13 AM
  11. Submitted by Gen_Kago

    We celebrate the youngest national leader in Kenya ever. Having ascended to the Gen Sec. of Kanu by age of 28 yrs. He is fit to be the hero for all youth.

    Posted October 20, 2011 10:08 AM
  12. Submitted by Adanhaji7

    While I support the honouring of our heroes, why single out Tom only? After all he was killed by his own countrymen. What about Pio? What about those who did the real job of fighting eg Gen. China? What is the catch here??

    Posted October 20, 2011 06:01 AM
  13. Submitted by Observer01

    Long live TJB...May God bless his decedants!

    Posted October 20, 2011 05:54 AM
  14. Submitted by KHATOM

    It is too sad that those behind these assassinations have not been unveiled. What worries most is the fact that the list keeps swelling. This trend MUST stop should be entrenched in Vision 2030

    Posted October 20, 2011 05:52 AM
  15. Submitted by kmmohan

    The patriotic Kenyans who surrendered their lives for the country are honoured by erecting their statues. But they evoke bitter memories especially in that their real assassins are still unaccounted for. The legacy of impunity is still continuing. How many more Kenyans will perish thru' mysterious assassinations, only time will tell.

    Posted October 20, 2011 05:26 AM
  16. Submitted by ogwilo

    Those who kill the flesh can never kill the soul and spirit. The spirit and the soul live on and on and on forever.

    Posted October 20, 2011 03:38 AM