President Uhuru unveils Ronald Ngala statue

President Uhuru Kenyatta accompanied by other government officials when he unveiled the statue of independent hero late Ronald Ngala. [Courtesy]

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday morning unveiled the statue of Kenyan independence hero and former Cabinet Minister, the late Ronald Gideon Ngala, on Ronald Ngala Street in Nairobi.

The monument of the former Cooperatives and Social Services Minister has been unveiled 50 years after his death on December 25, 1972, in a road accident.

The monument has been erected a day before President Kenyatta leads the nation in marking the 58th Jamhuri Day at the newly refurbished Uhuru Gardens.

Jamhuri Day (Republic Day) is a national holiday in Kenya, celebrated on December 12 every year.

President Kenyatta was accompanied by Sports CS Amina Mohamed and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua among other senior Government officials.

Also present was the family of the late political supremo, celebrated for 'majimboism', a precursor of modern-day devolution, led by his son and former long-serving Cabinet Minister, Noah Katana Ngala.

Ngala was born in 1922 at Gotani in Giriama. In 1929 the family moved to Vishakani near Kaloleni, which was to be Ngala's home for the rest of his life.

Ngala attended The Alliance High School and Makerere University College where he was awarded a teaching diploma. He worked as a teacher in Kenya's coastal region and later became headmaster of Mbale Secondary School in Taita Taveta.

In 1952, he was transferred to Buxton School in Mombasa, where he served as the principal.

Ngala joined active politics after being elected to the Legislative Council in 1957 to represent the Coast Rural constituency.

Ngala, alongside Tom Mboya, Oginga Odinga, Lawrence Oguda, Masinde Muliro, Daniel Arap Moi, Benard Mate and James Miumi formed the African Elected Members Organisation (AEMO) and signed a press statement declaring Kenya's Lyttelton constitution on which they had been elected void.

One of the declarations of AEMO was that none of the African elected members of the legislative council would take any ministerial office.

Ngala becomes the third independent hero whose statue has been erected in the city centre after those of Tom Mboya and Dedan Kimathi.

Tom Mboya’s statue was unveiled in 2011 by the then-President Kibaki.

The monument of the former Economic Planning Minister stands about 20 metres from where he was assassinated by a gunman in 1969.

President Kibaki also unveiled a statue of a Mau Mau hero Dedan Kimathi in 2007, to honour thousands of Kenyans killed during an uprising against British rule in the 1950s.