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GEORGE MOSETI ANYONA

George Anyona

George Moseti Anyona is and has been one of Kenya's most intriguing political figures. He has not only coined a niche for himself as a fiercely independent thinker, but quite an unpredictable one too. There's no telling what Anyona might be up to, until it actually happens. When he was released from prison in 1992, for example, most people concluded he would join FORD-Kenya, then under his good friend and mentor, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. But Anyona opted to go solo and formed his own political party, The Kenya Social Congress(KSC), which he later used to vie for the presidency. There was nothing unpredictable however about the outcome of Anyona's 1992 presidency bid. Though he easily won a seat in Parliament as had been anticipated, his Kitutu Masaba constituents squarely rejected his bid for the presidency, opting for other candidates instead. Anyona's name however remains dominant among Kenya's political personalities because he is perceived by a large section of Kenyans as a brave man, who was strong enough to challenge the KANU government at a time when it was almost suicidal to do so. Others enjoying a similar reputation include the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, his son Raila Odinga, Martin Shikuku, Kenneth Matiba, just to mention but a few.

Anyona was born in 1945 in Tombe Village, Kitutu Masaba. He attended Tombe Primary School and Sengera Intermediate School before proceeding to the prestigious Alliance High School. From Alliance, he proceeded to Makerere University, Uganda where he studied Political Science, English, Economics and History. Before he ventured into politics in 1974, he worked for British Airways in Nairobi. The same year he ventured into politics, he won the then Kitutu East Parliamentary seat. Anyona's political troubles began in 1977 when he was detained without trial by then President Jomo Kenyatta. He was released a year later by President Moi soon after he assumed power following the death of President Kenyatta. Anyona would again land in trouble in 1982, this time with his long time friend and veteran politician Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. The two were arrested and detained without trial for attempting to form a political party Kenya African Socialist Alliance(KASA) to challenge the ruling party KANU. Shortly after they were detained, KANU sensed the danger the two politicians had exposed and immediately sought to seal the loopholes in the constitution. The result was the passing of a constitutional amendment making Kenya a de jure one-party state the same year.

Anyona was released from detention in 1984 and for the rest of the 80's shyed away from active politics. His much awaited political comeback came in 1990 during the clamour for Multi-Party democracy in Kenya. To many Kenyans, this was one battle Anyona and Jaramogi could not shy away from because they were the ones who started it in 1982. Shortly after he re-entered Kenyan politics in 1990, Anyona was again arrested at a Nairobi pub and charged with sedition. Others arrested with him included Professor Edward Oyugi, Isiah Ngotho Kariuki, and Augustus Njeru Kathangu. After a marathon trial, they were jailed for seven years on charges of scheming to overthrow the Kenya government and being in possession of seditious and proscribed publications. According to some documents presented in the trial, it was alleged that Anyona had gone as far as preparing a shadow cabinet to take over after he overthrew the government. However, it was later revealed by an Assistant Minister in the Office of the President, John Keen, that these allegations were nothing but government fabrications, aimed at silencing Anyona. In 1992, after filing appeals against their sentences, the four were released on bail. Shortly after that they were freed when the state opted not to oppose their appeals.

Anyona's freedom couldnt have come at a better time. With the Multi-Party elections coming up in December 1992, all opposition parties had their eyes set on him, desperately hoping he would give them his much needed endorsement. FORD-Kenya in particular, then under Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was seen as Anyona's perfect destination. As a matter of fact, he was elected the FORD-Kenya Nyamira District Branch Chairman in absentia. In a surprising move however, Anyona rejected FORD-Kenya's overtures, opting instead to launch his own political party Kenya Social Congress, and vying for the Presidency. In the 1992 Multi-Party General Elections, he won easily the Kitutu Masaba parliamentary seat, becoming the only member of parliament from the KSC. Though his constituents expressed eagerness to send Anyona to parliament they were not nearly as eager to vote for him as a Presidential candidate. But President or not, Anyona remains a major political player in Kenya and his selfless service to the nation will forever be appreciated.

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