Mbiyu Koinange

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(Peter) Mbiyu Koinange
Minister of State in the Office of the President, MP for Kiambaa
In office
Succeeded byHon. Njenga Karume
ConstituencyKiambaa (Kiambu)
Personal details
Mbiyu wa Koinange

Kiambaa, Kiambu (Central Kenya)
Died3 September 1981
Nairobi, Kenya
Resting placeKiambaa, Kiambu
Political partyKenya African National Union (KANU)
Alma materLondon School of Economics, University of Cambridge (St. John's College), Columbia University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Hampton Institute, Alliance High School
CabinetJomo Kenyatta

Peter Mbiyu Koinange[1] (1907 – 3 September 1981) was a politician from Kenya. He served in the government and cabinet of Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first president, for 16 years. During this time, he held the post of Member of Parliament for the Kiambaa constituency and the portfolios of Minister of State for Education, External Affairs, Pan-African Affairs, as well as Minister of State in the Office of the President.


Born Mbiyu wa Koinange in 1907 in Njunu, Kiambu District he was the eldest son of Koinange Wa Mbiyu, a prominent Kikuyu chief during Kenya's colonial period, and Wairimu, the chief's great wife.[2] He was one of seven children, with another six siblings who died either at birth or early on in their childhood. His elder sister, Isabella, was one of Kenya's first trained African nurses, while his younger brother, Charles Karuga Koinange, served as a colonial chief and was a civil servant in independent Kenya for more than 30 years.


Mbiyu Koinange moved to the United States in 1927 for studying.[3] He attended Hampton Institute in Virginia, where he graduated in 1931.[4] Koinange then started at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio in 1931, completing a four-year bachelor's degree in 1935.[5] From Ohio, Koinange then received a one-year postgraduate certificate in education from Columbia University in 1936.[6] Mbiyu Koinange then spent a year at the University of Cambridge, St. John's College as a Rhodes Scholar,[7] followed by a year at the University of London Institute of Education before returning to Kenya in 1939.[8]

Political career[edit]

He was the Kiambaa Constituency MP from 1963 to 1979 when Njenga Karume was elected the Kiambaa MP.[9] During this 16-year tenure, Mbiyu Koinange served in several roles including Minister of State for Pan-African Affairs, Minister for Foreign Affairs,[10] Minister of Education. For the majority of his tenure, Peter Mbiyu served as Minister of State in the Office of the President (1966–79).


  • The People of Kenya Speak for Themselves (1955), Detroit: Kenya Publishing House
This book was endorsed by C. L. R. James, Grace Lee Boggs and Cornelius Castoriadis in their book Facing Reality


  1. ^ Peter Mbiyu Koinange officially dropped the use of "Peter" in the 1950s–1960s.
  2. ^ "Koinange, Peter Mbiyu," St John's College Archive, Cambridge University, No. 1587.
  3. ^ Gatheru, R. Mugo (2005). Kenya : from colonization to independence, 1888–1970. Jefferson (N.C.): McFarland. p. 177. ISBN 0786421991.
  4. ^ "Mbiyu Koinange Biography". Kenya News Agency. May 1966.
  5. ^ Time, 24 June 1935: Education: Dancer's Son
  6. ^ Ogot, Bethwell A. (1981). Historical Dictionary of Kenya. Metuchen, NJ [u.a.]: Scarecrow Press. p. 111. ISBN 0810814196.
  7. ^ Throup, David (1987). Economic and Social Origins of Mau Mau 1945–1953. Ohio University Press.
  8. ^ Ogot, Bethwell A. (1981). Historical Dictionary of Kenya. Metuchen, NJ [u.a.]: Scarecrow Press. p. 110.
  9. ^ Center for Multiparty Democracy: Politics and Parliamentarians in Kenya 1944–2007 (archived at Archive.org).
  10. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs: ABOUT THE MINISTRY Archived 3 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine