Thursday, January 17, 2008
Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first president, was a Kikuyu. Kenya's third and current president, Mwai Kibaki is also a Kikuyu. Kibaki won the 2002 elections in a landslide against Uhuru Kenyatta, son of the first president, despite outgoing president Daniel Arap Moi's support for Kenyatta. Wangari Maathai, Africa's first female Nobel Peace Prize winner, is a Kikuyu, as is the famous Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiong'o, who now writes exclusively in Kikuyu and Swahili. John Githongo, the former anti-graft advisor to the president, now since 2005 self-exiled in Britain, is a Kikuyu. Famous Kikuyu sports stars include: Julius Kariuki, the 3,000m steeplechase 1988 olympic champion; John Ngugi, 5,000m 1988 Olympic champion; Douglas Wakiihuri, a Nagoya and London Marathon Champion; Catherine Ndereba, the Boston and Chicago marathon champion and Charles Kamathi, the 2001 world champion at 10,000m. The Kikuyu have continued to play vital roles in independent Kenya's political and economic development. However, it is not uncommon to hear negative commentaries in the local media of the involvement of Kikuyus in government affairs.