Charles Njonjo

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Charles Njonjo when Kenyan Attorney General, c. 1970

Charles Mugane Njonjo (born 1920) is a former Attorney General of Kenya (1963 – 1979), and Minister of Constitutional Affairs (1980 – 1983).

Early Life and Career[edit]

Njonjo is the son of former colonial chief Josiah Njonjo and received a degree in law from the Fort Hare University in South Africa. After Kenyan independence in 1963, Njonjo was appointed Attorney General. Njonjo registered G.e.m.a. association, but would soon become opponent of the group and in 1976 charged some of its members including Kihika Kimani and Njenga Karume with treason - the order was soon turned down by the president Jomo Kenyatta.[1] He held the Attorney General's post until April 1980. The same year he was elected Member of parliament for Kikuyu Constituency and in 1980 he was appointed Minister of Constitutional Affairs in the government of Daniel arap Moi. In the early 80's he was the chairman of East African Wildlife Society.[2]

Miller Inquiry[edit]

In 1983 he was forced to resign, and left public life after a judicial inquiry concluded he had abused his office amid allegations that he was trying to take over the presidency from Moi.[3]

Return to Public Life[edit]

In 1998 he returned to public life, and was appointed chairman of Kenya Wildlife Service.[4] In October 2006 there were reports that Njonjo was making a comeback in Kenyan politics, including his show of support for Raila Odinga.[5]

Njonjo has a reputation for snobbery. He is ironically nicknamed "Sir Charles" or "Duke of Kabeteshire", and it is rumored that while at Alliance High School, he rode to school on horseback at the start and close of school terms, escorted by Tribal Police, and that he was the only African who lived in the exclusive whites-only Muthaiga suburb prior to independence.[6] There are widespread allegations that Njonjo has made statements that he is ashamed of being an African, that he cannot shake hands with a Luo, and that he cannot entrust his safety to an African pilot, and although many such allegations may be conjecture, they have earned him a reputation as the epitome of snobbery in Kenya.[5]


  1. ^ Daily Nation, December 4, 2009: The mid-air plot to block Moi succession — and the day Mzee had the last laugh
  2. ^ Swara Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 5, 1983
  3. ^ Kenya Cabinet Official Faces An Inquiry on 'Irregularities', The New York Times, June 30, 1983
  4. ^ Veteran Kenyan politician rehabilitated, BBC, July 10, 1998
  5. ^ a b The return of Charles Njonjo, Kenya Times, October 27, 2006
  6. ^ Sir Charles, by Michael Mundia Kamau (at


External links[edit]