Joseph Murumbi

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The Honourable
Joseph Murumbi
E.G.H.
2nd Vice President of Kenya
In office
3 May 1966 – 31 November 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 a Kenyan politician, who was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya from 1964 to 1966, and its second Vice-President between May and December 1966.

Early life[edit]

He was a child of a Goan Kenyan Asian trader father and a Maasai mother, and spent the first 16 years of his life in India.

Kenyan politics[edit]

After returning to Kenya, he became a member of the Kenya African Union political party, amidst a political ferment in East Africa caused by the end and withdrawal from the African continent of the British Empire. 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, 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, raised objection to the continuance of British Imperial dominion in Kenya through Indian newspapers such as the Chronicle.

After Kenya became independent of British imperial rule in 1963, Murumbi participated in the writing of its first governmental constitution, and held the office of its Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1964 to 1966, touring the globe to set up numerous ambassadorial offices in foreign capitals for the newly created nation. He subsequently served as the Republic's Vice-President in a government led by Jomo Kenyatta in 1966 for nine months. Around this time Murumbi became uneasy with Kenyatta's authoritarianism in dealing with political opponents, and the increasing corruption that he perceived developing in the Kenyan Government, and Kenyatta would go on to personally engage in using government power to engage in land grabbing in the late 1960s and 1970s. Murumbi had become further alienated from the new Kenyan governing authority when Pio Gama Pinto, a close personal friend and key political philosophical mentor of Murumbi's, was murdered in April 1965 after he had become a public critic of it. As Pheroze Nowrojee stated:

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 principles for which so many had suffered, and his departure (from the new political order in power) was only a matter of time.

After resigning from the office of the Vice-President in November 1966 through what was claimed to be ill health, Murumbi withdrew from politics.

Later life[edit]

He became the Acting-Chairman of the Kenyan National Archives, and later co-founded 'African Heritage' with Alan Donovan, which went on to become the largest Pan-African art gallery on the continent.[1]

Death[edit]

In 1982 he seriously injured himself in a fall at his home, and was reliant upon a wheel-chair in his final years. He died 22 June 1990 in his 79th year. Murumbi's body was buried in Nairobi City Park. The unmarked grave was subject to neglect, vandalism and theft through the late 1990s and early 2000s, and had at one time been threatened with being lost trace of via a building development scheme for the site, until it was protected by the creation around it of a memorial garden named after him.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Murumbi married Shelia, a Librarian whom he met whilst he was a political exile from Kenya in England in the late 1950s. They lived in Kenya subsequently on an estate in the Muthaiga district. She died in 2002.[3]

Legacy[edit]

He was an avid art collector, and during his life acquired over 50,000 books and sheaves of official correspondence. The Kenya National Archives established a library containing some of the 8000 rare books (published before 1900) entrusted to them upon the death of Murumbi. The Kenya National Archives also created the 'Murumbi Gallery' within the same building, displaying the different African artifacts that were collected by him through his lifelife.[4]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ;Joseph Murumbi, Kenyan politician', obituary, 'New York Times', 24 June 1990. https://www.nytimes.com/1990/06/24/obituaries/joseph-murumbi-kenyan-politician-79.html
  2. ^ 'Friends of City Park' website (2007). http://friendsofcitypark.org/things-to-do/joseph-murumbi-peace-memorial-garden/
  3. ^ 'Joseph Murumbi died of a broken heart', 'The East Afrucan;, 27 December 2004. https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/magazine/434746-245380-c5vplb/index.html
  4. ^ 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