Meet the policeman who guarded President Kenyatta in Kapenguria

[Photo: Courtesy]
When you get to the homestead of M’Kirera M’Nguku, you find him attending to his daily chores on his farm as he has always done. The compound is spotlessly clean; despite his advanced age.

He cannot recollect how old he is but says he belongs to the Ntimirigwi ya Mbaya age set that was initiated to manhood in 1939. “My father belonged to the Riungu age set and I found the Miriti age set young enough,” he says.

The Miriti age set was the age group that fought the first World War, the Meru people would place their ages according to events and the war between 1914-1918 is referred to as ‘Ndoa ya Njirimani’ the war of the Germans.

Late in the 1940s, he was recruited in the Kenya Police and after his training he was posted to Eldoret. “Eldoret was where I began my career during the colonial era. I worked in the dog section,” says M’Kirera but he cannot remember the name of the dog he handled. He seems struggling to remember many things and he would take some time before he recalls events that were.

“I received an order that my dog and I were needed in Kapenguria. The following day, we were taken there. With additional police men inlcuding the Whites, we were tasked with securing the outta cordon of the Kapenguria prison when Kenyatta was held,” he says.

“I often saw but never spoke to Jomo Kenyatta. I also came to know of another tall Luo man. I think his name was Oneko, I would see them at the remand prison,” M’Kirera reveals.

“I cannot say I ever spoke a word to either Mzee Kenyatta or Oneko nor did any of our officers do. We were under command and we were not allowed to speak to them,” he says.

He would stay at the Kapenguria station until the end of the trial “After Kenyatta was sentenced, he was transferred to Lodwar, and so the work we were tasked to do in securing the prison came to an end. We were redeployed back to our station in Eldoret.” Shortly after, M’Kirera M’Nguku was transferred to Gilgil from where he learnt that Mzee Jomo Kenyatta had appealed against his sentencing.

“The only reason I was deployed to secure the outta cordon in Kapenguria is because of the police dog which I handled in Eldoret,” he says.

From Gilgi,l officer M’Kirera would be transferred to his home district of Meru in Kiirua Police Sstation. Meru was the hotbed of the Mau Mau rebellion.

Kiirua is just at the periphery of the Mt. Kenya forest from where the Embu, Kikuyu and Meru waged a war against the white colonialists.

I then asked him about his views about the Mau Mau and the freedom struggle. “I had no problem with the Mau Mau nor Jomo Kenyatta.

My work as a policeman was to keep the people safe. When I was transferred to Meru, I never had a problem with the Mau Mau fighters nor did they have a problem with me because I would pass through the forest every weekend headed to my home in Kithaku,” the retired officer says.

“In the forest, the Mau Mau fighters would see me, I also knew where they were but we ignored each other. They never bothered with me nor did I ever bother with them. My work was to protect the people against bad people who could hurt them and not fighting the Mau Mau because I believed they had a right to do what they were doing and I had a right doing what I was doing as a police officer,” he tells the Mt. Kenya Star.

Mzee M’Kirera would quit the police service a few years before Kenya attained independence and quietly settled on his farm in Mworoga, Katheri.

He is however distraught with the Kenya Police Service officers today. “I don’t deal with the police much but I am told nowadays they take bribes. Why should they do that? A police officer must be impartial without taking sides and must never take a bribe. It is very unfortunate that bribery is rife. I am not happy with it,” he says.

Asked whether he would go back to being a cop, M’ Kirera says “Why not? What is wrong with being a police officer and serving the people and ensuring there is justice,” he asks.

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M’Kirera M’NgukuPresident Jomo KenyattaPoliceman