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Exclusive: Carole Argwings Kodhek on her father’s death 50 years ago

POLITICS
By Wambua Sammy | January 29th 2019

Exactly 50 years ago today is one of those days Kenyans would rather forget but the cold reality is that we have no say on destiny.

A memorial service is underway at the Holy Family Basilica, Nairobi, to mark to 50th anniversary of  Argwings Kodhek's death and a wreath-laying ceremony at his Malanga home in Gem on Saturday.

Below, Carole Argwings Kodhek on her father's death and what separated CGM from the rest of the pack.

 On Tuesday of January 29, 1969, Kenya’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Clement Michael George Argwings Kodhek’s car rolled on the Nairobi road that is now named after him. He was rushed to Nairobi Hospital where he died hours later.

Fifty years later, his first-born Carole Argwings Kodhek remembers the week that death took away CMG as he was fondly called.

You had to be the crème de la crème if you graduated with a law degree in 1947. CMG was the first black lawyer in East Africa.

On a normal day after schools had opened for the first term in 1969, Carole, now a travel writer, was in class in Mary Hill School, Thika.  Father had died a few days earlier but on an account of her tender age, she wasn’t informed immediately.

“I remember coming out of class. People were looking at me funny,” she recalls.  The only thought racing through her mind was something being wrong with her uniform.

A sense of de javu set in when she was summoned to Sister Superior’s office.

“I was really scared, wondering what is going on,” she recalls.

Her mother had died a few months ago, so she was still tensed as an inner voice told her it had to be something to do with her dad, but Mother Superior was not revealing anything.

“Carole, we have to take you to Nairobi. All other children are there already and you need to come,” said Mother Superior at last.

At the time of his death, Kenya was going through a rough political patch. With Jaramogi Oginga Odinga having parted ways with President Jomo Kenyatta, there was talk of an assassination.

Various publications quote a senior man in the Kenyatta government as saying GMG’s injuries were consistent with gunshot wounds.

As Kenyans mark 50 years since his death, they remember the achiever par excellence with hot nationalistic political blood flowing in his veins.

 

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