On Wednesday, Kenya commemorates 40 years since the death of the country’s first 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, in Kenya’s capital Nairobi 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. Deputy President William Ruto was among them.
Mzee Kenyatta began his public life 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 remained 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.
Uhuru Kenyatta is now serving his second term after winning the 2017 elections that were characterized by stiff competition and controversy. Kenyatta’s challenger, Raila Odinga convinced the Supreme Court that the polls were not credible. Judges ordered a repeat poll but Odinga chose not to take part.