Uhuru Kenyatta
(1961- )

Uhuru Kenyatta (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Uhuru Kenyatta (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta was the fourth president of Kenya. He was born on October 26, 1961, in Nairobi, the son of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, and his fourth wife, Mama Ngina Muhoho. As a youth, he attended Loreto Covent school and St. Mary’s School in Nairobi. He also attended Amherst College in the United States and graduated in 1985 with a degree in political science and government. Kenyatta returned to Kenya and started the Wilham Kenya Limited company which exported agricultural produce. He sold the company ten years later.

In the 1990s Kenyatta became active in the Kenya African National Union (KANU) political party. He ran for the national parliament in 1997 but lost. Kenyan president, Daniel arap Moi, encouraged and supported Kenyatta’s participation in politics. In 1991 Moi appointed him to chair the Kenya Tourism Board. In October 2001 he was appointed to parliament to fill an empty seat. Two months later, Moi made him Minister for Local Government in the national cabinet.

In 2001, Kenyatta was elected the first vice-chairman of KANU, and in December 2002–with Moi’s support–Kenyatta was selected as KANU’s presidential candidate. At the general elections, Uhuru Kenyatta garnered 31 percent of the vote and came second to Mwai Kibaki. He took up the role of the leader of Official Opposition in Kenya in 2003.

Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, March 25, 2022 (National Media Group)
Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi, March 25, 2022 (National Media Group)

The 2007 presidential election was marred by widespread violence, voter intimidation, and irregularities. This resulted in the formation of a coalition government. Kibaki retained the presidency and appointed Kenyatta as Deputy Prime Minister. In 2009, he was also appointed Minister of Finance.

In 2012 Kenyatta left KANU and formed a new political party, The National Alliance. The following year, The National Alliance joined other parties in the “Jubilee Alliance” to contest the presidential election. Kenyatta was selected as the alliance’s presidential candidate. He won the election on March 4, 2013, and on April 9, 2013, Kenyatta was sworn in as the fourth president of Kenya.

Kenyatta ran for his second term in 2017. The election was held on August 8, 2017, and afterward, clashes broke out between Kenyatta’s supporters and opponents leaving 50 people dead. The opposition, citing voting irregularities, appealed to the Supreme Court to annul the presidential election. On September 1, the Supreme Court nullified the election and declared that a new election must be held. The second election, held on October 26, was boycotted by the opposition and Kenyatta secured a victory. He was sworn in for a second and final term on November 28, 2017.

During his tenure, Kenyatta expanded the rail network, and a large geothermal plant was constructed. He made maternal healthcare free in all public health facilities. He had to contend with terrorist attacks by the Al-Shabbab network based in neighboring Somalia. He faced charges of corruption within the government. His second term ended in September 2022.

In 1991, Kenyatta married Margaret Gakuo. They have three children: Jomo, Jaba, and Ngina.