George Anyona

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George Moseti Anyona (1945–2003) was a politician from Kenya.

When he was released from prison in 1992, many people thought he would join Jaramogi Oginga Odinga's FORD-Kenya, but he opted to go alone by forming his own political party, the Kenya Social Congress (KSC). Though he easily won a seat in Parliament as had been anticipated, his Kitutu Masaba constituents squarely rejected his bid for the presidency, opting to vote for other candidates instead. Anyona's name however remains dominant among Kenya's political personalities because he is perceived by a large section of Kenyans as a brave man, who was strong enough to challenge the Kenya African National Union (KANU) government at a time when it was almost suicidal to do so.

Early life[edit]

Anyona was born in 1945 in Tombe Village, Kitutu Masaba, Kenya.

He attended Tombe Primary School and Sengera Intermediate School before proceeding to the prestigious Alliance High School. From Alliance, he proceeded to Makerere University, Uganda where he studied Political Science, English, Economics and History. Before he ventured into politics in 1974, he worked for British Airways in Nairobi.

Rise to politics[edit]

The same year he ventured into politics, he won the then Kitutu East Parliamentary seat. Anyona's political troubles began in 1977 when he was detained without trial by then President Jomo Kenyatta. He was released a year later by President Daniel arap Moi soon after he assumed power following the death of President Kenyatta. Anyona would again land in trouble in 1982, this time with his longtime friend and veteran politician Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. The two were arrested and detained without trial for attempting to form a political party Kenya African Socialist Alliance (KASA) to challenge the ruling party KANU.[1] Shortly after they were detained, KANU sensed the danger the two politicians had exposed and immediately sought to seal the loopholes in the constitution. The result was the passing of a constitutional amendment making Kenya a de facto one-party state the same year.[2]

Anyona was released from detention in 1984 and for the rest of the 1980s shied away from active politics. His political comeback came in 1990 during the clamour for multi-party democracy in Kenya. To many Kenyans, this was one battle Anyona and Jaramogi could not shy away from because they were the ones who started it in 1982. Shortly after he re-entered Kenyan politics in 1990, Anyona was again arrested at a Nairobi pub and charged with sedition. Others arrested with him included Professor Edward Oyugi, Isiah Ngotho Kariuki, and Augustus Njeru Kathangu.[3] After a marathon trial, they were jailed for seven years on charges of scheming to overthrow the Kenyan government and being in possession of seditious and proscribed publications.[4] According to some documents presented in the trial, it was alleged that Anyona had gone as far as preparing a shadow cabinet to take over after he overthrew the government. However, it was later revealed by an Assistant Minister in the Office of the President, John Keen, that these allegations were nothing but government fabrications, aimed at silencing Anyona. In 1992, after filing appeals against their sentences, the four were released on bail. Shortly after that they were freed when the state opted not to oppose their appeals.

Multiparty era[edit]

With the multi-party elections coming up in December 1992, all opposition parties hoped Anyona would give them his endorsement. FORD-Kenya in particular, then under Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was seen as Anyona's perfect destination. He was elected the FORD-Kenya Nyamira District Branch Chairman in absentia. In a surprising move however, Anyona rejected FORD-Kenya's overtures, opting instead to launch his own political party Kenya Social Congress, and vying for the Presidency. In the 1992 Multi-Party General Elections, he won easily the Kitutu Masaba Constituency parliamentary seat, becoming the only member of parliament from the KSC. Though his constituents expressed eagerness to send Anyona to parliament they were not nearly as eager to vote for him as a Presidential candidate.

Anyona died in 2003 in a car crash in the outskirts of Nairobi.


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