Kenya Confidential Forensic Investigations Team, Nairobi – August 5, 2020
New light shone on the Alliance High School reveals a matrix of an institution that was the cooking pot of hitherto men and women under whose watch Kenya developed into a man-eat-man society. A school whose classmates and school mates abused their offices in exclusively hiring and appointing their school colleagues to vital governance positions to built a corruptocratic cobwebs to enrich themselves, their families and close friends at the cost of national good – totally devoid of patriotism.
That Alliance High School produced some of the pioneer elites has never been in doubt. But how the ex-students later used the Alliance-Alumni connections to build a strong bond is a story that has barely been told.
This article attempts to scratch at the surface of a monumental mountain on which Kenya’s free-wheeling capitalism was built founded on selfish greed that thrived on cartels that looted national coffers and private sector as privileged right – to create Kenya’s first generation of millionaires and billionaires financed by their state connections.
They all appear NEVER to have been taught, informed or made to understand CORRUPTION is EVIL – to many of them CORRUPTION became a Lifestyle they were happy to indulge in looting public coffers.
In the Alliance pioneer class of 1926, when Alliance School opened doors to its first students was Peter Mbiyu Koinange (School number 5) who would later on become the dreaded powerful Minister of State in the Kenyatta Presidency. Of the then 27 students admitted to Alliance, Koinange became the first indigenous Kenyan to acquire a masters degree.
When Koinange was in Form Four, Alliance saw the entry of another student James Gichuru (School number 67) who would later join Koinange at the high table of Kenya’s politics.
In Gichuru’s class was also Stanley Njindo -the father of politician Kenneth Matiba, a man who would later help reshape politics in Kenya. It is the classroom ties that the elder Njindo had with Gichuru that saw Matiba worm his way into the elite corridors becoming a permanent secretary at the age of 28.
Mbiyu was also a classmate of Eliud Mathu, the first African to join the defunct Legislative Council (Legco) and he helped him later on join State House as Kenyatta’s private secretary and comptroller. Here the two classmates wielded immense powers and controlled the game and the game plan.
Another political heavyweight who emerged from Alliance in those early days was Henderson Wamuthenya who was Kenya’s first assistant minister for home affairs. Wamuthenya was a class behind Gichuru and in the same class with Mbiyu’s stepbrother John Mbiyu.
How these ties were used to wriggle in the corridors of power can be attested to in the rise of the likes of Jackson Harvester Angaine who joined Alliance in 1934 and was a class ahead of Oginga Odinga – the man who would later become one of the most radical politicians in Kenya’s political history.
Odinga’s class had Daniel Wako, the father of current Busia Senator and former Moi era long serving Attorney General Amos Wako. In 1937, another key figure was Charles Njonjo who had been registered as Charles Josiah, to sound as a Mzungu student number 415.
In Njonjo’s class was his long time ally Jeremiah Nyagah. That the two were to be good acquaintances during the Kenyatta years emanated from this classroom ties more than anything else.
In 1939 Ngala Vidzo, later known as Ronald Gideon Ngala joined the school and his contemporaries in school included Njonjo and Nyagah. But surprisingly, Ngala would later become a leader of the opposition Kenya African Democratic Union (Kadu) when the likes of Nyagah supported Kanu. He died in a suspicious road accident.
A year later, 1940, the only politician who was at Alliance was Paul Ngei, an ardent freedom fighter who would find himself later in jail alongside Jomo Kenyatta for “supporting Mau Mau”. His class also had Bethuel Mareka Gechaga who was to later marry Dr Njoroge Mungai’s sister, Jemimah and was catapulted to the centre of big business.
In the same class was Alexander Njoroge, who was to become State House Comptroller in Kenyatta’s days. Njoroge’s father, Musa Gitau, was Kenyatta’s teacher at Thogoto and his sister Edith later married Matiba who was named a PS by Kenyatta in the 1960’s. How these factors enabled the likes of Matiba and Gechaga to rise can be linked to some of those old ties.
The 1941 class at alliance also saw the entry of Robert Matano, Charles Rubia and Nathan Munoko. Munoko and Matano were to later become key figures in the ruling party Kanu and were known to be intimately close in Parliament.
And that was the closeness that was exhibited by Dr Munyua Waiyaki and Dr Julius Gikonyo Kiano who were classmates in 1942. Sitting in the Kenyatta Cabinet Kiano and Waiyaki became some of the most respected politicians and schemers before they were both outgunned after Kenyatta’s death and pushed to the periphery– thanks to Njonjo.
One man who also earned lots of respect in their class was David Wasawo, who became a scholar and chairman of the University of Nairobi.
The year 1943 saw Alliance have Dawson Mwanyumba, who was to become one of Kenyatta’s ministers in the first Cabinet. Also in the same period was Ngala Mwendwa and Kitili Mwendwa – two brothers who would later carve a niche for themselves and family in the politics of Ukambani.
Kitili became Kenya’s first indigenous Chief Justice while Ngala was a Member of Parliament. But it was the admission of Kenyatta’s daughter, Margaret Wambui as an Alliance Girls student that saw her get to know the likes of Geofrey Kareithi, former Head of Civil Service (1945) and Jeremiah Kiereini former Defence and Head of Civil Service (1946) who were to become senior civil servants in the Kenyatta government.
Also during the same period was John Keen, a classmate of Kareithi and former Mukurweini MP, Henry Wareithi, one of the pioneer lawyers in Kenya. All these were ahead of Margaret and they knew her as ‘Mwari wa Jomo.’ Kenyatta was at that time in London representing Kikuyu Central Association.
But in Margaret Kenyatta’s class was Seth Lugonzo and the two worked closely in the Nairobi City Council when they were councilors. When Peter Gachathi entered Alliance in 1948 little did people realize that he was to become one of Kenyatta’s spokesmen. Gachathi knew Margaret and it was this rapport that saw Gachathi gain entry into the corridors of power although he came from a poor background.
That Gachathi and later on Koinange were to propose the appointment of Josephat Njuguna Karanja as the first University of Nairobi vice-chancellor in 1971 is because Karanja was a friend of Gachathi at Alliance.
Karanja joined Alliance when Gachathi was in Form Two and they were in the same dormitory. Also in the same class with Gachathi was Shadrack Kimalel, a man who would later become a diplomat and who ended his tour of duty as High Commissioner to the UK in the 1980s.
In Karanja’s class was politician Phillip Gachoka, administration craftsman Habel Nyamu and Joseph Mwangovya, once the Supervisor of Elections. In 1950 John Ithau joined Alliance. Ithau who become a Permanent Secretary for Information and Broadcasting replacing Gachathi when he moved to Education, was to become a key figure in Kenyatta’s propaganda machine.
That was possible because he was a year ahead of two key people – Bernard Hinga and James Kanyotu. Hinga was to become the Commissioner of Police while Kanyotu was head of intelligence – then known as Special Branch. Here the Alliance group controlled the information flow and two crucial security apparatus.
It was the 1951 class of Hinga that also had Kenyatta’s Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Kenneth Matiba, Chief pathologist Jason Kaviti of the infamous report of former Foreign Affairs Robert Ouko killing himself and later burning himself at Got Alia hill, writer Rebecca Njau and scholar Nimrod Bwibo. Years later Njau would help her former classmate, Matiba, write his biography titled “Aiming High”.
In Kanyotu’s class was Thomas Ogada who was later to become Director of Medical Services and then ambassador and permanent representative to World Health Organisation and UN Agencies in Geneva. Such appointments would not have come without Kanyotu’s hand.
Behind Kanyotu in the 1953 class was Eliud Mwamunga,former Cabinet Minister, Philip Ndegwa former Central Bank Governor, James Kangwana former VoK head and Bethuel Kiplagat a former diplomat and Kenyan government official who served as the chairman of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. It was also a class that had lawyer John Khaminwa.
Ndegwa was to become one of the pioneer Permanent Secretaries in the Kenyatta government and is known to have aided the rise of Kangwana to become director of broadcasting.
Kiplagat rose to become an ambassador in the Moi days because of the recommendations and closeness he had with the Alliance group and more than anything Kanyotu could remember him as a Form One – mono.
But Kanyotu had no time for two people in the 1955 class, journalist Philip Ochieng’ and novelist James Ngugi (aka Ngugi wa Thiong’o). It was through Kanyotu’s recommendation that Ngugi was detained. When Ngugi was in Form One, Kanyotu was in Form Four.
The 1956 class had Darius Mbela, former Information PS and Cabinet Minister and and Benjamin Kipkorir, former Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB when it was nick named (Kalenjin Chukua Bure) and the two managed to swiftly rise during the Moi Presidency. Here it was the connections of Kipkorir that mattered.
Kipkorir was removed from Kenya Commercial Bank when he failed to explain to Moi how a copy of his Bank of India political bribery cheque for Ksh 80,000 to Kiambu politician Waira Kamau found its way and publication by Society Weekly magazine.
The 1959 class of George Anyona and (Prof) William Ochieng was one of a kind. Anyona joined the radicals at Makerere, including Ngugi, to become mavericks of the time. The 1960s saw students who became lawyers and included Tom Mbaluto and Timan Njugi (1961), Richard Kwach (1962) and Andrew Hayanga.
The 1961 class had the likes of Andrew Ligale, later on a permanent secretary, Japheth Kiptoon and Engineer Joel Nyaseme. That Simeon Lesrima, a former Permanent Secretary, was able to lobby for the rise of the Green Josiah brother, Frost Josiah, to be appointed an ambassador is born out of the 1963 classroom ties at Alliance. Behind them was Joseph Nyagah, son of Jeremiah who was also named an ambassador to Luxembourg and the European Union.
When Nyagah was in Form Three in 1966, a student who would also help them later on, Lawi Kiplagat joined Alliance. In Form Two then were two noticeable students – Julius Meme and Fares Kuindwa. In the same class was a radical student James Orengo.
Kiplagat was an insider in Moi’s kitchen cabinet and was able to influence the rise of his schoolmate Wilson Sitonik within the government. Sitonik was later fired as head of the Treasury’s Government Information Technology. Another person who survived in the government structure courtesy of Kiplagat is Erastus Mwongera, former PS who was in Form Two when Kiplagat was in Form Four.
In Form One at the time was Jeremiah Matagaro, who joined the police force and managed to rise to become a PS in the ministry of Justice. While Matagaro was in Form Three the former Kibaki era Comptroller of State House Hyslop Ipu was in Form One.
It’s therefore fair to blame Alliance for Kenya’s rotten corruptocratic governance since independence? They had the opportunity to set Kenya on the right track towards prosperity but failed dismally because they all used their positions for selfaggrandisement – none of them or their families are poor by any international standard unlike many of those born in their neigbourhoods but went to different schools.
They took advantage of Alliance School connections to enrich themselves and failed Kenya dismally. What can be their excuse that Kenya was left behind by the Far East Tigers?
Millions upon millions of Kenyans live under the poverty line when less than 100,000 politicians, civil servants and Tenderpreneurs operating as businessmen wallow in billions of shillings scooped from National Coffers through corruptocratic cartels in a multi-billion corruption industry.
The privileged few have stashed billions of shillings in foreign bank accounts which is used to develop those countries and create jobs for millions of their youths when Kenyan youth languish in poverty, jobless and hopeless.
Time in now for Kenyans born after independence in 1963 should stand up, gather courage and strength to liberate their country from the chains of a corruptrocratic system entrenched by the riling class that hijacked the Kenyan Nation and turned it into a milk cow to feed their families at the exclusion of fellow citizens.
They have an opportunity in 2022, to elect a fresh, untrained and new slate to reclaim their country to be run by honest men and women with Integrity, Principles, Ethics and Accountable. Anybody without those qualities is unworthy of leadership as an MCA, MP, Senator, Governor, Vice President or President.
There are two short years to decide who to vote for. You recycle the same crooks in leadership today and condemn your country to remain the pariah state it is to a majority poor in Kenya.