Joseph Murumbi

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The Honourable
Joseph Murumbi
2nd Vice President of Kenya
In office
3 May 1966 – 31 August 1966
President Jomo Kenyatta
Preceded by Jaramogi Oginga Odinga
Succeeded by Daniel arap Moi
Personal details
Born Joseph Zuzarte Murumbi
1911 (1911)
Died 22 June 1990(1990-06-22) (aged 78–79)
Nationality Kenyan
Political party Kenya African Union
Occupation Politician

Joseph Zuzarte Murumbi (1911–June 22, 1990) was Kenya's second Vice-President, serving between May and December 1966. He was a child of a Goan descent Kenyan Asian trader and a Maasai woman, and he spent the first 16 years of his life in India. The declaration of the state of emergency on October 20, 1952, saw the detention of the top two levels of leadership within the Kenya African Union (KAU), and Murumbi found himself thrust into the center of the party's leadership, as acting secretary-general.

He played a key role in securing legal counsel for the core group of detainees arrested in the emergency crackdown, and, together with Pio Gama Pinto, strove to make the world aware of the brutal nature of British imperial rule, through Indian newspapers such as the Chronicle. After resigning from politics in 1966, Murumbi co-founded African Heritage with Alan Donovan, and it became the largest Pan-African art gallery on the continent. Murumbi was not comfortable with Kenyatta's heavy hand in dealing with political opposition & the increasing corruption that was creeping into the Kenyatta government. Kenyatta was a huge beneficiary of the land grabbing that took place during the 1960s and 1970s. The Kenyatta family owns large tracts of land in the Coastal & Central provinces. Often this land was to be used to resettle squatters and ex-Mau Mau fighters.

Murumbi was thought to be close to Pio Gama Pinto, Bildad Kaggia & Dennis Akumu who were all critics of the Kenyatta government. Murumbi & Nyerere shared a Pan-Africanist bond.

Lawyer Pheroze Nowrojee concurs: "The assassination of Pinto illustrated to Murumbi the shocking extent to which the new government had departed from its promises. His feeling, evidently, was that these were not the values for which so many had suffered, and his departure was effectively only a matter of time."

He was an avid art collector and he left behind over 50,000 books and sheaves of official correspondence. The Kenya National Archives has set up a library containing some of the 8,000 "rare books" (those published before 1900) entrusted to them upon the death of Murumbi. The Kenya National Archives have also set up the Murumbi Gallery within the building displaying the different African artifacts that were collected by Joseph Murumbi.[1]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Wafula, Evans (4 October 2007). "Murumbi gallery: the extinct African artifacts". Africa News. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga
Vice-President of Kenya
May 1966–August 31, 1966
Succeeded by
Daniel arap Moi