July 12, 2024
George Morara

Mystery in Lusaka: The Untold Story of MP George Justus Morara and the Encounter That Changed History

George Morara

In early September 1970, West Mugirango MP George Justus Morara had a surprising encounter in Lusaka, Zambia. As he sipped his drink one late evening, he unexpectedly ran into Nahashon Isaac Njenga Njoroge—the man who had assassinated Constitutional Affairs Minister Tom Mboya on July 5, 1969.

Morara, who was in Zambia with members of the Social Welfare and Employment parliamentary committee on official duty, was astonished. He confronted Njenga, who panicked and fled the club. This encounter was shocking because the previous year, the government had announced that Njenga had been sentenced to death and hanged for Mboya’s murder along Nairobi’s Government Road (now Moi Avenue).

Upon returning to Nairobi’s Embakasi Airport, Morara and several other committee members, chaired by Kandara MP George Mwicigi, headed straight to Parliament for a press conference. There, Morara revealed their encounter with Njenga in Lusaka and gave the government a 48-hour ultimatum to produce Njenga, who was supposedly executed.

Tragically, within 48 hours, Morara was dead—killed in a suspicious road accident along the Kakamega-Kisumu highway. He was only 34 and widely regarded as one of Kenya’s most promising politicians, even considered a potential future president. His death remains a mystery. Friends and family insist he was assassinated by President Jomo Kenyatta’s state agents to cover up Mboya’s assassination, while others believe it was an unfortunate accident.

In a condolence message on the evening of Saturday, September 12, 1970—the day Morara died—President Kenyatta expressed great sorrow, describing Morara as a vigorous and vital politician who had already made significant contributions to the nation through Parliament and his extensive tours.

Morara’s successor as West Mugirango MP, Benson Kegoro, described him as a straight-talker and a thorn in the government’s side, with a singular determination to serve the people. Kegoro stated that the circumstances of Morara’s death remain unclear, leaving room for speculation about whether it was an accident or an orchestrated effort to silence him.

Morara’s wife died in India in October 2010 from heart-related complications, and their second-born, Duke, fled the country fearing for his life after repeatedly protesting to the government about his father’s alleged assassination.

At Morara’s charged burial ceremony on September 17, 1970, attended by Speaker of the National Assembly Fred Mati, six Cabinet ministers, and several MPs, Public Works Minister James Nyamweya described Morara as a fearless and courageous fighter dedicated to justice for all people.

In his maiden speech in Parliament in February 1970, Morara boldly criticized President Kenyatta: “Mr. Speaker, I would like to make my maiden speech by making this point. His Excellency has an exceptionally good personality. However, he is being misguided, misled, and misadvised by some individuals who otherwise want to get the best of the national cake. And as a result, the rest of the country suffers.”

Throughout his brief tenure, Morara never shied away from criticizing the government or publicly urging the Head of State to address pressing issues. In one Hansard report, he protested the government’s failure to resolve tribal conflicts, emphasizing the urgent need for action and questioning the government’s credibility and dignity.

Though such sentiments might seem commonplace today, at the time, only a handful of politicians, including J.M. Kariuki, Mark Mwithaga, and Martin Shikuku, dared to challenge the President and his administration. Former Commerce and Industry Minister James Nakhwanga Osogo remembered Morara as a firebrand eloquent in his positions, noting that Parliament would greatly miss his fiery speeches.

Born in 1936 in the small village of Nyakeore in West Mugirango, now part of Nyamira County, Morara attended Sironga and Kamagambo primary schools before joining Kisii High School. He later studied at Buffalo University in Michigan, USA, and upon returning in 1964, served in the civil service as a District Officer in various stations, including Kisumu, Maseno, Homa Bay, Eldama Ravine, and Maralal. He briefly worked at BP/Shell in a senior position before resigning to venture into politics.

On the day he met his death, Morara was reportedly traveling with parliamentary colleagues Mark Bosire (Kitutu Masaba) and Nyarangi Moturi (North Mugirango). The trio left Nairobi for upcountry in Morara’s car, with his colleagues alighting in Nakuru after a brief argument. Morara then proceeded alone to Kakamega for official duties, including a meeting with his friend, Kakamega District Commissioner Ezekiel Nyarangi.

A street in Nakuru now bears his name, serving as a reminder of the fiery politician whose untimely death remains shrouded in mystery.

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