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Byline: Mugumo Munene
Kenya's founding President Jomo Kenyatta sought the help of British spies to protect his government against a suspected plot by his vice-president to overthrow him, according to a new book.
Mzee Kenyatta and his lieutenant Charles Njonjo were worried that Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was receiving money from communist countries and was likely to destabilise or overthrow the government.
Mzee Kenyatta and Jaramogi had, in the run-up to independence, a great desire for a free Kenya but their ideologies were different.
While Mr Odinga had wanted the British colonialists to leave at once, Kenyatta wanted Kenyans to "forgive and forget" the past. Those who wished to remain in Kenya after independence were welcome.
The political differences introduced a major strain between the President and his VP, and Mzee Kenyatta turned to the British spy agency, MI5, for help, according to a recently published official history of the intelligence organisation.
The declassified MI5 material shows why, in their understanding, Mr Odinga refused to assume the premiership in 1961 unless Mzee Kenyatta was first released from detention.
Mr Odinga held that Mr Kenyatta was the man to lead Kenya to independence and once called him "Kenya's second god." But, as he was about to discover, he had grossly misunderstood the man.
"Odinga had probably expected him (Kenyatta) to emerge from prison as a shadow of his former self - about 70 years old (no one knew his exact age), physically feeble, alcoholic, …