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Archive for July, 2014

Makhan Singh Kenya Trade Unionist

By kenyaelections.com Makhan Singh Study Group 21 July 2014

Born: Gurjanwala, near Lahore (then Colonial India) 27 December 1913 – Died Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi 16 May 1973 (Other sources state he died on 18 May 1973)

One of the founders of trade unionism in Kenya. Freedom fighter for Kenya‘s independence from colonial rule. One of the longest serving pre-independence detainee. Staunch communist and Marxist.

Believed in socialist ideals.

Makhan Singh Centennial Celebrations

27 December 2013 marked 100 years since Makhan Singh was born and forty years since he died.  Makhan Singh is seen as one of Kenya’s forgotten heroes and his legacy continues to this day. Kenya is not a Marxist or socialist state. In fact one could say it is the opposite, “… a man eat man society” (A Tanzanian description of Kenyans by the Tanzanian Government controlled Media).  What young  Kenyans are discovering is  Makhan Singh’s passion for social justice and democracy in Kenya which is touching people beyond his own idealology and race. Many describe Makhan Singh as the Father of the Trade Union Movement in Kenya. Fred Olouch wrote a moving tribute in the Daily Nation, Nairobi entitled ‘Makhan Singh: The Nelson Mandela of Kenya’  July 8, 2013


There are plays, readings and events marking the birth and life of Makhan Singh celebrated throughout the world taking place in 2014.

Recommended viewing is Hilary Ng’weno ‘s Makers of a Nation video on Makhan Singh available via Kenya Histories and Biographies Co. Ltd and leading retailers in Nairobi.

Zarina Patel’s book – Unquiet: The life and Times of Mahkan Singh available on Amazon and other retailers.

Study Group Questions:

Where (Hospital) and when did Makhan Singh Die?

Why did the then Colonial Government see Makhan Singh as a great threat? If not one of the greatest threat in Colonial Kenya.

Why did Jomo kenyatta’s post independent Kenya Government ignore Makhan Singh and his contributions in challenging and changing the rights of workers in Kenya?

Did Makhan Singh have any links with Tanzania which was (and still is?) a socialist oriented state?

Why and when  did Tanzania call Kenya a ” … a man eat man society.”

Useful Resources and Reference:

Ng’weno Hilary (2007) ‘Makhan Singh: Makers of a Nation,’ Nairobi, Kenya Histories & Biographies Co.ltd

Kenya Histories & Biographies Co.ltd

P.O. Box 10519 – 00100Nairobi, Kenya Wabera Street Prudential Assurance Building,5th Flr. Wing B –

Email: info(at)kenyahistory.co.ke


Zarina Patel – African Books Collective, where you can find more information on books published by Zarina Patel.


Sikhchic.com – Fred Olouch ‘Makhan Singh: The Nelson Mandela of Kenya.’ courtesy of Daily Nation, July, 8 2013


The Protector’s Choice – An Application of Protection Theory to Somali Piracy Shortland A and Varese F (2014)

The article published online in the British Journal of Criminology provides some intriguing fresh insights concerning Somali Maritime Piracy, criminality and legalised trade relationship with local clans and communities.

The research paper asks the question -“What explains the variation in piracy along the coasts of Somalia?” The authors Anja Shortland and Federico Varese answer this question by drawing upon Protection Theory and a new data set of piracy incidents. The literature spans several disciplines and suggests analytical links between the behaviour of states and that of criminal groups.

We recommend you read the following related articles highlighting this publication:

BBC Africa article ‘Somali Piracy: Roads Better than Warships.’ 10 July 2014

The Economist 12 July 2014 ‘Pirates v economists: A new weapon against Somali bandits: free trade.’


Anja Shortland is a Reader in Political Economy and Director of Postgraduate Research in the Department of Political Economy, King’s College London

Federico Varese is an Author and Professor in Criminology at Oxford University

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

CORD Kenya Saba Saba Rally Uhuru Park Nairobi Kenya 7 July 2014

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD Kenya) will hold their much anticipated Saba Saba Rally in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park. “Saba Saba” is basically “Seven Seven” – The 7th Day of the 7th Month in Kiswahili.

“We will be gathering directly as a result of the Government’s failure to convene a national dialogue process to enable Kenyans to deliberate on issues that are of critical concern to them as citizens.”

Source: CORD Statement on Saba Saba Rally Dated 3 July 2014

CORD will express their concerns on the following issues:








 Notes and Useful Website

http://cordkenya.blogspot.co.uk/ – CORDKenya Blogspot

https://twitter.com/RailaOdinga – Hon Raila Odinga Twitter Account

https://twitter.com/skmusyoka – Hon Kalonzo Musyoka Twitter Account

Hon Moses Wetangula – There are various accounts attributed to Hon Moses Wetangula but some cannot be verified or up to date.

Tom Joseph Mboya Remembered 5 July 2014 – Rest In Peace

Saturday 5th July 2014 marks 45 years to the day when one of Kenya’s leading political lights was assassinated on Government Road, Nairobi 5 July 1969. Tom Mboya’s impact on Kenya and the World is significant. Working with William X. Schienman (American Committee on Africa) they convinced US President JF Kennedy to sponsor an ‘airlift’ of Kenyan students and academics to the US. One of these students was Barack Obama Senior, father to Barack Obama, President of the United States.

The following thoughts were shared by Chris Kavila on the Tom Mboya Foundation Facebook page. They encapsulate the feelings of many Kenyans and those who love the country.

Shared on Tom Mboya Foundation Facebook

“TJ [Tom Mboya], 45 years ago on this day, you were murdered by cowards. Today Kenya is increasingly unstable, grappling with the evil twins you stood against and warned us about. TRIBALISM and CORRUPTION. Where would we be now had you lived? REST in PEACE.

“Had forgotten that on a day like this one at 1pm Saturday July 5th 1969 impunity won and the course of Kenya’s history changed and hurtled in the wrong direction.”


Notes and Useful links:

Tom Mboya Foundation – http://www.tommboya.org

Official Tom Mboya – Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/officialtommboya

Joseph B.Treaster wrote an obituary on William X. Schienman in the New York Times July 25 1999 entitled: ‘W.X.Schienman, 72, Broker and Friend of Kenyan Leader.’

William X Schienman died on May 24 1999 and his ashes were interred on Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria, South Nyanza, Kenya next to Tom Mboya’s grave.

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