1950-1959 | Kenya

8 APRIL

JOMO KENYATTA SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS HARD LABOUR AFTER JUDGE IS BRIBED

Eleven years later, the former prisoner was inaugurated as Kenya’ first president. Photo in the public domain – via Wikimedia.

[ 8 April 1953 ]

On 8 April 1953, Jomo Kenyatta, the moderate Kenyan civil rights activist and president of the Kenyan African Union, was sentenced to seven years hard labour to be followed by permanent exile to a remote northern area of the country.  He had been charged with fermenting revolution and being a founding member of the Mau Mau insurgency, but even after all the books and documents seized from his home were examined in detail, there remained absolutely no evidence to convict him. Fortunately for Britain, Justice Ransley Thacker, who was chosen to act as both judge and jury in the case, had no qualms about pronouncing Kenyatta guilty, that is after Kenya’s governor, Sir Evelyn Baring, bribed him with a secret payment of £20,000.1

FOOTNOTE

  1. W. O. Maloba, Kenyatta and Britain: An Account of Political Transformation, 1929-1963, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, p. 129.

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