December 12th 2017

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Uhuru mourns Rev. John Gatu, chronicler of 1960s Kikuyu oathing

The late prelate recently authored a book in which he spilled the beans on how founding president Jomo Kenyatta organised oathing by members of the Kikuyu community in the 1960s. The book brought home to the current generation of Kenyans the diabolical politics of the founding president.

By Jack Otwalanewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comSaturday, 13 May 2017 20:13 EAT

President Uhuru Kenyatta has mourned Reverend John Gatu who passed away yesterday, describing him as a committed religious leader who led a life of simplicity and service aided by his strong character and independent mind. Reverend Gatu, the first African general-secretary of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) and an ex-moderator of the Church, died at a Nairobi hospital aged 92.

In his message of condolence to the Presbyterian Church of East Africa and the family and relatives of Rev. Gatu, President Kenyatta eulogised the Rev. Gatu for having "discharged his duties of leadership with great distinction. “In this hour of sorrow, I convey my deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, and the family, relatives and friends of the late Reverend John Gatu,” President Kenyatta said in a statement released by his office from London.

The late prelate recently authored a book in which he spilled the beans on how founding president Jomo Kenyatta organised oathing by members of the Kikuyu community in the 1960s. The book brought home to the current generation of Kenyans the diabolical politics of the founding president, his insecurities about the massive corruption and how his government excluded some communities and resorted to ethnicity as a means to preserving the domination of the elite that surrounded him.

Rev Gatu's accounts, which are corroborated by political observers from the time, chronicle how he emerged as a personal enemy of the president out of his pleas to Kenyatta to stop the oathing which the reverend said would isolate the Gikuyu people from other tribes. At one time, the bishop's wife was kidnapped by the president’s security escort servicemen and forced to take the oath. She was traumatised for the rest of her life.

Jack is a business and society writer at the Kenya Free Press





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