Published in 2001 by Kenway Publishers, the book is an autobiography of G.G. Kariuki, one of the Kenya’s longest serving politicians.
G.G. Kariuki’s active participation in Kenya’s political development began before independence, dating back in 1952 when at fifteen, he took an oath pledging his allegiance to the unity of the Gikuyu, the largest of Kenya’s tribes. At a young age, he joined the Mau Mau movement to fight for the independence of Kenya.
Kariuki participated in formation of the Kenya African National Union in May 1960 and subsequently became chairman of the party’s local branch in his home town of Laikipia. Upon attaining independence in 1963, Kariuki was elected a member of parliament for the area. Given his reputation as a fighter for landless people, Kariuki won his seat back in the 1969 general elections and was subsequently appointed Assistant Minister of Lands, Settlement and Physical Planning.
In subsequent elections in 1974 and 1978, he retained his parliamentary seat, confirming his immense popularity in Laikipia. For a while, in 1978, he was appointed a full minister in the Office of the President, in charge of Internal Security and Provincial Administration. Later, he was transferred to his former ministry of Lands, Settlement and Physical Planning.
But in the 1983 elections, Kariuki was to fall from grace after he was linked to a failed attempt to topple then Kenyan President, Daniel Arap Moi in August 1982. He was subsequently expelled from the ruling party and public life. He lost an attempt to recapture his old parliamentary seat in 1988 but was later nominated to replace Francis ole Kaparo who became Speaker of the National Assembly. He later, however, lost the seat again in 1997 after he contested on KANU ticket at a time when the party had lost popularity in Laikipia.
Using his biography as a tool, Kariuki reflects on his fifty years in Kenyan politics, the ups and downs, and what he perceives to be his contribution. Ultimately, the book is an interesting and important commentary on Kenya’s political history – though somewhat biased given that it’s told from one man’s perspective. Kariuki observes that the majority of political leaders do not learn from the mistakes of their predecessors. Instead, blinded by personal ambition, they commit grave deeds against their colleagues and the public in general for the sake of glory, riches and power.
Moses Kibe Kihiko holds a Master’s degree in Leadership Studies. He recently published his book “Public Leadership: The Ten Defining Moments How Leaders Acquire & Handle Fame, Power & Glory “with Miraclaire Publishing, Website: www.miraclairebooks.com). Moses is the CEO of Practicum Leadership, a training, consultancy, writing and research firm. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.