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FITZ: The white spy in Kenyatta's ranks



I must confess a prejudice: I never liked the South African=born Bruce Mackenzie. He came to fore fighting for white colonist rights and the next thing you know he is flying the black nationalist flag. Something very fish I thought.

Excerpt reproduced with the kind permission of the de Souza family

Forward to Independence Fitz de Souza My Memoirs is available from Amazon Books


In an Introduction to Fitz’s book, Victoria Brittain (the former Guardian correspondent, author and playwright mentions: A fourth assassination, of Bruce Mackenzie, the Minister of Agriculture, a South African-born former RAF pilot in the Second World War came from outside and well illustrates the ruthless geopolitical high stakes world that did not suit de Souza. Mackenzie was killed when his airplane blew up over the Ngong Hills with a bomb placed in a present from Idi Amin of Uganda as payback for Mackenzie’s role in Kenya’s assistance to the Israelis’ ending of the 1976 Entebbe hostage crisis. An Air France plane was hijacked to Entebbe by a Palestinian splinter group of the PFLP and two German revolutionaries demanding the release of 40 Palestinian prisoners in Israel and 13 in four other countries. Forty-five Ugandan soldiers and three hostages were killed and 30 planes of the Ugandan air force destroyed by the Israeli rescue raid. The leader of the Israeli commandos was also killed – he was the older brother of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mossad’s chief had a forest planted in Israel in Mackenzie’s name. De Souza recounts a telling, earlier Mackenzie moment when they were together in London with Kenyatta after his release from prison. Kenyatta, who had no money, would enthusiastically eat three or four steaks at dinner, and they were staying at the Cumberland Hotel in central London, all well beyond their means. Mackenzie paid for everything and when de Souza protested and insisted on sharing the cost, told him that in fact he was not paying anything as the consul at the Israeli Embassy had arranged with the hotel owner, Joe Lyons, to cover all the group’s expenses.


On the 14th of August came the momentous day: after nine years in detention, Jomo Kenyatta was a free man. Around the globe, all eyes were on him as never before, waiting for him to make some decisive move. One of the first things we arranged was a delegation to London with James Gichuru, Tom Mboya and a few others. Also with us was the white South African Bruce McKenzie. Bruce was something of an enigma, but, as we were to discover, he would prove very useful to Kenyatta. An RAF pilot during the Second World War, he had been shot down twice, the second time over the Mediterranean where he had drifted for two days with most of his face blown away.

Awarded the DFC bar, and with his jaw rebuilt, he had come to Kenya in 1946 and set up as a farmer. By now in his early forties, about ten years older than me, we had first met in Parliament as national members, he for the Europeans. Then suddenly, I discovered he was in KANU and anti-European, saying emphatically we had to fight them. It didn’t make sense to me – why had this man suddenly changed sides? I remembered in one of our first KANU meetings, as Bruce was shouting against the whites, Jackson Angaine, an African who was sitting behind me, muttered, ‘This bastard, he was a torturer in the camps, he dislocated my thigh trying to get a confession.’

Although a good farmer, Bruce always seemed short of cash. Once when he was staying in a flat in Nairobi West, he asked me to lend him 300 shillings for the rent, which I did for three months. On another occasion quite out of the blue he asked, ‘Fitz, do you like chicken?’ I nodded, attaching no significance to the question. A couple of days later my mother told me that a ‘Mzungu’ had come in a pickup truck and delivered 70-odd chickens, plucked and cut up. Having no fridges then, I told my mother she had best give the meat away to her friends. Then one day, Bruce said to me, ‘You know Kenyatta, can you introduce me?’ Sure, I told him, and sent a request to Kenyatta, who invited us over to his farm at Gatundu at 5.30 in the morning. I was surprised to find him already dressed and down in the valley inspecting his crop. He shook hands with Bruce and they talked about farming. Kenyatta seemed to take to him straightaway. Bruce then said, ‘You know Mzee, I don’t think this maize you’ve planted is the best variety, it’s the hybrid stuff you want. It’ll yield three or four times what you’re getting now.’ Kenyatta said he’d look into it. The next thing we knew, Bruce was replanting all his maize for him. 

The real intrigue though began when we got to London. We realised Kenyatta had no money and that we’d have to pay for him. The Cumberland Hotel at Marble Arch was £3 a night, a week’s wages for many. Kenyatta also liked to eat well, especially after his time in prison, often putting away three or four steaks for dinner. When we asked for the bill, however, the manager informed us that it had already been taken care of. ‘By whom?’ I asked. ‘Mr Mackenzie.’ Surprised, I told Bruce he was very kind, but knowing he was hard up, he must at least let me pay my share. It was then that he put me in the picture; Izzi Sommen, Consul at the Israeli Embassy, had arranged with Joe Lyons, who owned the hotel, to cover all our expenses. Lyons ran the large chain of ‘Corner Houses’, where in my student days in London I had enjoyed many a cheap meal. He was also Jewish. Apparently the Israelis, mindful of their interests in a future independent Kenya, were anxious to forge a relationship with Kenyatta. Bruce it seemed had, behind the scenes, been the intermediary. It would not be the only time he played such a part. Previously, Kenyatta had always been broke, and I remember when he came out of prison and found his house demolished by the British Government, he asked us if we could find some money to help him build just a simple garage to live in. We had previously raised small amounts from donations, but things were always tight. After meeting Bruce, however, Kenyatta was mysteriously never short of cash.    

AFTER PIO’S ASSASSINATION

About two weeks had gone by when walking on the street past the Standard Bank in Nairobi one day, I heard someone behind me. I looked around and saw Bruce McKenzie hurrying to catch up with me. His manner was friendly, chatting about general things, but I sensed something more, something he wanted to say. Bruce was a big man, with a strong handshake that overpowered you, and I felt that strength in him now. ‘Fitz,’ he said, ‘I like you very much, you’re a good friend.’ I said, ‘Bruce, have you been sent to talk to me about Pio.’ He nodded. I said, ‘To warn me, that if I carry on asking questions, the same is going happen to me?’ Bruce said yes, this was the message he had been asked to give me.

Then Mungai came to see me. He was a mysterious figure, some hinted he had been a Mau Mau leader, others a Government spy. Telling me that I was now on a ‘wanted list’, he reached in his pocket and took out a pistol, complete with licence, advising me to keep it for protection. I had been under threat before, when Pio had been arrested and I had driven across the border to Uganda. The concern then was possible imprisonment. This was different. Pio was gone, and Bruce had come to tell me, on whose authority I did not know, that I could be next. Mungai had confirmed it. I had seen Pio’s limp body carried from his car, the small hole in his body where the bullet had entered, witnessed Emma’s shock and grief. As the reality of the danger I was in hit me, I became very nervous. I took some Valium, and not knowing what else to do booked into the Hilton Hotel. Nowhere in Nairobi was completely safe, but here at least there were people around, I could stay behind a locked door. How long for though? I would have to come out sometime.

I thought carefully. I was getting married in a few months. Now there were not just my parents, my brother and sister and myself to think of, but also my future wife Romola – our future lives together and in time, probably a family of our own. After a few days I let it be known that I was no longer pursuing my inquiries, checked out of the hotel and went home. I hid Mungai’s pistol in a strongbox behind a loose brick in the wall and kept the key in my pocket. Still anxious and in shock, I decided to go to England and from there, seeking a complete change of scene, take a trip to Scandinavia. At that time permission was needed to take money out of the country, so I rang Kenyatta to ask if it could be arranged. Yes, yes, he said, and gave me the name of someone who could help. Talking to Kenyatta, he was clearly very distressed and crying over the phone. When I broached the question of who might be responsible he said, ‘Do you think I could possibly have murdered my own friend?’ and said he had been equally shocked by what had happened. 

A couple of weeks later I returned for Pio’s funeral. The mourners were mostly Africans and church people. Kenyatta, who was not expected to attend, sent an ivory carving in tribute. Joe Murumbi was full of remorse, blaming himself for persuading Pio to leave the beach house at Mombasa and come back to Nairobi that day. While Pio’s alleged killer languished behind bars, sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment, there were whispered rumours that the ‘powers that be’ had organised the assassination, or the Kiambu Mafia, CIA or foreign governments, and the riddle remained unanswered. 

Meanwhile, a bitter conflict from another part of the world was about to be played out in East Africa and bring the enigmatic Bruce McKenzie once more into the picture. In mid-1976, just a few months after Bruce was said to have helped capture a group suspected of planning to attack an El Al aeroplane out of Nairobi, a passenger plane from Tel Aviv was hijacked by two Palestinians and landed at Entebbe airport in Uganda. They threatened that unless 53 Palestinian prisoners in Israel and other countries were released, they would kill the passengers, many of whom were Jewish. Any rescue attempt would be made much more difficult by the fact that Idi Amin had declared his support for the hijackers. It is believed that Bruce stepped in again, flying Mossad reconnaissance agents over Entebbe and helping to persuade Kenyatta to let Israel’s planes refuel in Nairobi and cross Kenyan airspace. On the night of the 3rd of July 1976, Israeli jets destroyed several Ugandan Air Force planes on the ground, while commandos killed around 36 Ugandan soldiers and brought the majority of the hostages out unharmed. Amin, furious, issued an immediate death sentence on hundreds of Kenyans living in Uganda.

Whether Amin knew of Bruce McKenzie’s role at the time of Operation Entebbe is unclear to me, but two years later Bruce flew in his light aircraft to Uganda, apparently at the dictator’s invitation. According to reports, on landing in Uganda he would always instruct his co-pilot not to leave the plane unattended for a second, or allow anyone to tinker with it. On this occasion, shortly after his meeting was due to finish, a phone call was received in Kenya asking if Mr McKenzie had returned.

Then came news of a plane coming down over the Ngong Hills. When I went to survey the site of the crash I got a terrible shock, seeing by an amazing chance among the wreckage what I felt sure were the metal plates of Bruce’s jaw, rebuilt after his wartime injuries, the facial scars hidden by bushy whiskers. If his plane had been sabotaged, how had Amin managed it? The story that emerged was that just as Bruce had been about to take off, an official ran out to the plane with a last-minute gift from the President of a carved antelope’s head. Inside the antelope was a bomb, timed to go off in mid-air over Lake Victoria, where the evidence would sink without trace, but the mechanism had apparently lagged. Bruce left behind him a wife and children from his two marriages, a reputation as a good farmer, and, as details of his long-standing relationship with both the American and Israeli intelligence services came to light, an intriguing life story.  

Copywright for the above is held by Fitz de Souza, no part or parts are to be reproduced without permission.





Tanzanian Nuncio for New Zealand



1 April 2019

NEW APOSTOLIC NUNCIO APPOINTED TO NEW ZEALAND AND THE PACIFIC

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa as Apostolic Nuncio to New Zealand and Apostolic Delegate to the countries of the Pacific. Archbishop Rugambwa was born in Bukoba, Tanzania in 1957, ordained a priest in 1986 and Archbishop in 2010. He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See in 1991 and has served in Nunciatures in Panama, Republic of Congo, Pakistan, New Zealand, Indonesia, Angola and Honduras.

For a period of time he was also Undersecretary of the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. He replaces Archbishop Martin Krebs who last year was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Uruguay. President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, Bishop Patrick Dunn said of the announcement, “we’re delighted with the appointment of Archbishop Rugambwa and warmly welcome him back to our shores in his new role. Our prayers are with him as he prepares for his move and we look forward to working with him in the years ahead.”

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference (NZCBC) is the assembly of the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand coordinating national activities and ministries of the Catholic Church. These include education social justice, Māori advisory, communications and engagement with the public, liturgy, ecumenism, bioethics, interfaith relations, pastoral work in prisons and hospitals, and more. ENDS Media enquiries – Amanda Gregan Telephone 021 611 052

Goans in the UK, the early days


WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOAN COMMUNITY WHO SERVED IN KENYA

                 By Mervyn Maciel

(For obvious reasons, this account is written more from a personal angle)

Some years ago, (nearly seven decades ago, the Secretary of the Kenya Administration Club in the U.K. had asked Mervyn Maciel to write an article on what happened to our community who moved to the UK from Kenya. The article is reproduced below:


Most of the Goans who, like me, came to the U.K. after UHURU in the mid and late sixties, encountered no difficulty in finding jobs either in the Civil Service or Private sector. Those from the Provincial Administration like Francis da Lima, M.B.E. worked  for the Customs & Excise, the late Abe Almeida was with the Metropolitan Police at Scotland Yard, Caje Simoes found a job in that much-hated of government departments – the Income Tax department! Having worked for 20 odd years in the Kenya Civil Service, I didn’t want to go back to a government job, and decided instead to enter the Private sector. After working in central London for a few months, and finding commuting and especially travelling like sardines in the overcrowded Tube cumbersome, I decided to move closer home and joined the South Eastern Gas Board (Segas) in Croydon, Surrey. Latterly, I moved to an International company within the construction industry, again in Surrey. Many other Goans quickly found jobs at the Crown Agents in London, and they must have proved such dependable and honest workers that the Establishment soon became an unofficial “Goan Recruiting Agency”.


The one thing I found very irritating when registering with an Agency was the rather irrelevant question one was always asked, “Have you any London experience”? I had to remind them that I had only just arrived in the country and as such could not be expected to have any London experience. Those Goans who were in the teaching profession, and whose qualifications were recognised, found employment at various schools. Others who were not so lucky had to settle for clerical jobs. While in Colonial Kenya it would be unthinkable for a Goan to have control over European (White) staff, I myself, and no doubt other Goans in a managerial capacity had white employees working under them. Most Goans were quick to secure mortgages and move into their own homes, settling in the London and outer London areas initially, and later moving on to other areas of the country. My own Bank Manager was worried whether Kenyatta would renege on his promises, but when assured that my pension had been guaranteed by the British government, my overdraft was promptly approved! It was for the education of their children that most Goans moved to the U.K., and it is heartening to record that on the whole, the children of Goans who moved here from Kenya, have excelled at British Universities and many are now professionals in their own right. Socialising is very much part of our makeup, and even in those early days, when most of us had never experienced an English winter, we used to organise Christmas and New Year eve dances at various London venues including Alexandra Palace. A clubhouse and grounds which we had bought in 1983 from the Times Group of Newspapers, and where we held many of our sports and social events, was sadly to fall victim to an arson attack, when it was burnt to the ground in 1998. 

A sad blow, but the Goan Association (UK) remains undaunted and continues to flourish. In addition, the Goans are also active in cyberspace; we have our own daily newsletter (Goan Voice UK), ably edited by Eddie Fernandes, while social networking continues via Goanet. All in all, the GOAN DREAM has turned out to be a success story, and we continue to play our part as law-abiding citizens in our adopted homeland.


The Goan who became the King of Ruaraka


The King of Ruaraka, Nairobi



An excerpt from Forward to Independence Fitz de Souza My Memoirs. Reproduced with the kind permission of the de Souza family. Available on Amazon Books


JM Nazareth QC and Francis D’Silva aka Baba Dogo (little father)

Many of the inhabitants of Ruaraka (on the outskirts of Nairobi) were impoverished whites, and Francis D’Silva (Cyprian Fernandes: I think he was native of either Majorda or Utorda), a Goan, owned quite a large area of land here. I had first met him when I had stayed in River Road with Dr Dias, who was a good friend of his. D’Silva had an English friend called Stanley Good, on whom he depended totally. Good, who had been in the army in India, would attend auctions on D’Silva’s behalf and look out for old farms to buy up from the poorer English. These tended to be smallish poultry farms – chickens, geese and turkeys – and were also where some of the English men kept their mistresses, usually African, sometimes Seychellois.

The farms were generally of about ten acres, and D’Silva had by increments acquired about 40 acres. He had then proceeded to open some quarries and build some bungalows, which was a bit of an exaggeration for such rough-and-ready structures with unplastered walls, mostly of mud rather than cement, and roofed with second- or third-hand corrugated iron sheets, or in some cases even the flattened out 4-gallon kerosene tins. The layout was like most Indian accommodation – single storey with two or three rooms, a courtyard and verandas back and front, with the added touch of electric lighting from a generator. As I recall, D’Silva had put up about 20 to 30 such dwellings and on the surrounding land planted a huge amount of mangoes, and called the estate ‘Mango Farm’. Access was something of a problem, as, after leaving the main road to Thika you had to travel along a mile or so of very rough, muddy road, which in the rainy season sprang potholes a foot deep, allowing only the big American cars to crawl through at about two miles an hour. On finally arriving at Mango Farm, one would usually see lots of Indian children playing outside. A relative of one of the clerks at Magadi, M.T. Patel was among those who had moved into the bungalows, and for many other Indians the accommodation D’Silva provided was a tremendous change for the better. I am sure though that this influx must have angered a lot of the Europeans living nearby, the poor whites being the most racist of all.

Francis D’Silva had, I believe, originally been a clerk in the District Commissioner’s office. During or after the war he had surmised there was a lot of money to be made in army surplus and begun buying up uniforms and equipment – hundreds of deckchairs, tents, tyres, generators, electric pumps, machinery and any other items that looked useful at auction, and selling them to second-hand shops. Thus he was able to build up some working capital, and I might add that in acquiring land with it as he did, he was one of the few Asians who had successfully got round the White Highlands Act, which normally prevented them from moving into such areas. His secret lay in a simple piece of subterfuge, in the shape of Stanley Good. A short, stumpy little fellow in his late sixties, Good had no money of his own and had been almost destitute when D’Silva took him in and gave him a room in his house.

When a farm was heard to be coming up for sale, Stanley Good would put on his old military uniform, hat and medals, and D’Silva would drive him into town where Good would make his way alone to the Land Office, a wood and iron building at the end of Government Road. There he would impress upon the officials how he had fought for the British Empire in India and how it was only right and proper that he should buy the farm, and would then negotiate a good price. The money was of course provided by D’Silva and the properties became to all intents and purposes his, but to avoid any possible comeback the deeds were all kept in Good’s name. It was, however, quite widely known that the land comprising Mango Farm belonged in all but name to D’Silva, an Asian who was doing quite well out of acreage once owned by Europeans. This must have caused further resentment among the more racist of the poor whites in Ruaraka. After I learned about the situation, I used to ask D’Silva what he thought might happen if one day his friend changed his mind and decided to take over all the property to which he had title. D’Silva would always reply no, no, Stanley was a very good man, and would never do that to him. Having spent many an evening sitting and talking with Stanley Good and finding him a very nice person, I could certainly see no indication that he might renege on their arrangement.   

There was another Englishman living at Mango Farm, an elderly doctor, who it was said had been struck off by the medical board and spent two years in prison. People sometimes mentioned his past in vague whispers, but no one talked openly about it. It was said by some that he had performed an abortion on an English woman, an illegal practice in Kenya, as it still was then in Britain. It was further rumoured that in this case the mother had died from the procedure, which if true might explain why the doctor was completely boycotted by the Europeans. Francis D’Silva, however, had taken him under his wing and given him a room. Being almost 80 years old, and having practised for many years, the old doctor used to tell us lots of stories about Kenya in the old days. Despite his advancing years, he was still very active, a thin and wiry figure, and still knew his medicine very well. He would treat people in the neighbourhood for a variety of ailments, and they would pay him a little. I suppose it was all unofficial, but very useful for the residents of Mango Farm, being rather cut off from the city to have someone with medical experience on hand that could help them. He seemed very conscientious in looking after everybody, and really was a very fine person. Who knows, the poor woman who died may perhaps have been in dire straits and he had acted from the best of intentions.          

My stay at Pumwani did not last long. In the end I was advised that it was illegal for me to live in an African area. I must confess I was relieved, as I don’t think I could have lasted long there. Pio came to the rescue, putting me up for a few nights, then a good friend of our family, an ex-postmaster from Magadi called Shantilal Amin, invited me to stay with him and his family in his current accommodation on what was then Park Road. With nine children, Shantilal’s small semi-detached government house was very full already, he and his boys using one of the two bedrooms, his wife and daughters the other, but he insisted on putting a bed in the dining room for me even though they all slept on the floor. It was very kind of him, a generosity and hospitality I will never forget.

I searched desperately for a place of my own, but although some new houses were now being put up in Nairobi, landlords were demanding around 10,000 shillings in illegal pugree for even a single room, and my father’s salary was only about 1,600 shillings a month. Then a friend called G.L. Vidyarthi, a staunch nationalist and proprietor of the Colonial Times, who had been imprisoned for his political activities, offered me one of the properties he had recently built on First Avenue, Parklands. The rent of 300 shillings a month was average, but he would not ask for pugree, provided that whenever I decided to vacate, I would not pass the occupancy on to anyone else.

I was more than happy to agree, and thanking Shantilal and his family for looking after me, I moved to the luxury of a three-roomed bungalow with a shared courtyard and the usual toilets and bathroom outside. My father would send me about 1,000 shillings a month, which left very little for him and my mother and sister to live on. But they were doing everything possible to help me, my mother even coming from Magadi whenever she could to cook for me, as I didn’t have a servant. I had no fridge and little furniture, but we bought two divan beds at auction for about 50 shillings so my mother could stay over.

My routine now was to take the bus into town each day, meet with Pio and work on political campaigning, usually until 9pm or 10pm in the evening. Some nights I would walk all the way back home, past Parklands Police Station, then the little road that is now part of M.P. Shah Hospital, and across to First Avenue, Parklands, the way pitch black with no streetlights, with roaming dogs often attacking.

With bus fares and food, and still no paid job, I was soon finding it difficult to afford the 300 shillings rent. At a party one evening, I met a Mr and Mrs Rebello who said they had a spare room that I should come and look at. It turned out to be very large, was only 80 shillings a month, and in due course I moved in.

The above material is the copyright of Fitz de Souza, no part or parts can be reproduced without permission.



Fitz de Souza: Kenya Goans




Kenya Goans



An excerpt from Forward to Independence Fitz de Souza My Memoirs. Reproduced with the kind permission of the de Souza family. Available on Amazon Books.


From its inception, Nairobi and its new population were to be divided by the British along racial lines. Governor John Ainsworth, who had arrived as a young man in the early 1900s, split Nairobi into seven districts, making no provision at all for the indigenous Africans. To run the essential services, and for the maintenance of law and order, Indians prepared to stay on were recruited, and for those already in business or looking to start, Kenya was seen as a place of possibilities, somewhere in which despite the harsh landscape and economic uncertainties, one might perhaps settle and make a living, even prosper.

Among the Goans who arrived in Nairobi in the early 1900s was Joaquim Antonio Nazareth, from the village of Moira. Joachim’s brother Raphael had arrived a few years earlier and started his own bakery, obtaining a six-year contract from the British to supply bread and cakes to the Uganda Railway, for whom he had initially worked as a clerk. The Nazareth brothers worked together in the bakery, later branching out into other business ventures, including a soda water bottling factory and a store on Government Road.

By this time Joachim and his wife, living in a wood and iron house on River Road, had four children. The youngest, born in 1908, John Maximian Nazareth, fell ill one day with typhoid, his young life hanging in the balance. Tended by a European nurse, the child recovered and would go on to study in Bombay and then train as a lawyer at the Inns of Court in London, being Called to the Bar in 1933. This was the man I had already heard so much about and who, in 1952, I had been surprised at being introduced to him by Pio shortly after our first meeting: ‘not the J.M. Nazareth,’ as I put it that day in the Desai Memorial Library. A distinguished lawyer and Queen’s Counsel, as I recall Nazareth only took civil cases, often involving charges of defamation. He served as president of the East African Indian Congress from 1950 to 1952, was elected to the Kenya Legislative Council from 1956 to 1960, representing the Western Electoral Area, and was a puisne judge of the Supreme Court in 1953, becoming president of the Kenya Law Society in 1954. He also became President of the Gandhi Memorial Academy Society and Chairman of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi Trust at the University of Nairobi.

Certain individuals in the Indian business community, with the right connections, were given a head start and the chance to prosper on a larger scale. A.M. Jeevanjee, who had supplied the Imperial British East Africa Company with the thousands of railway workers from India, had made big profits from the contract. The story goes that after arriving at what would become Nairobi he received a further reward when Ainsworth told him he could have an area of land stretching as far as he could run, presumably within a certain time. In the event, Jeevanjee persuaded Ainsworth to let his Pathan servant run on his behalf, and thus gained all the land between what is now Biashara Street and the Jeevanjee Gardens, named after him. Jeevanjee was also given the opportunity to build much of the physical infrastructure of the city including government offices, railways stations, post offices and a wood and corrugated iron police station and jail.

While the British occupied the key positions in these institutions, the clerical and supporting staff continued to comprise mainly Indians, and in the early days all the records were kept in Urdu. In 1902, Jeevanjee started the first newspaper in Kenya, the African Standard, published weekly in Mombasa. When he sold it three years later to two British businessmen, it became the East African Standard, a daily paper, headquartered from 1910 in Nairobi, and at this time was staunchly pro-colonial in its editorial content. As for Jeevanjee, some people have estimated that at one time he owned half of Mombasa, and even more of Nairobi. In 1910 he was elected to Kenya’s Legislative Council, becoming the first non-white to do so.              

Kenya’s National Museum, then named the Coryndon after a former governor, had been somewhat ahead of the times when in 1941 it opened its doors to all races thanks to its new curator Canon Leakey. Others had objected to the move, claiming Africans were ‘smelly’ and Asians ‘over-scented’. Lady Delamere allegedly remarked that ‘to be within measurable distance of an Indian coolie is very disagreeable.’ Canon Leakey no doubt saw the irony of this, as the museum’s forerunner had been established in 1911 with a donation from an Ismaili from India, Alidina Visram, who in 1863 at the age of 12 had sailed to Zanzibar and thence to Africa.

Another Asian who had become a fixture in the community was Rosendo Ribeiro, a Goan who had initially practised medicine in Ponda, before sailing to Mombasa in 1898. The coastal region being plagued by malaria, Dr Ribeiro had followed the ‘iron snake’ of the railway to Nairobi and lived for two years in a tent, compounding medicines with his assistant C. Pinto and, rather like my father later on, settled for payment in kind, often in the form of chickens. Eventually the government gave him some land near the station and he built a dak bungalow, establishing his reputation as the first doctor in Nairobi. Alongside his medical practice he opened a pharmacy in Victoria Street called R.Ayres and Co., patenting his own anti-malaria tablets.

In 1908 Dr Ribeiro went to Goa for an extended holiday, where he married Margareta Lourenco, youngest daughter of a successful lawyer. Returning to Nairobi with his bride, Ribeiro had soon started a family. Elegantly attired in a three-piece suit with gold watch chain and homburg hat, the doctor cut a charismatic figure, not least for the zebra he had bought in 1907, tamed himself, and rode regularly around the streets of Nairobi making house calls to his patients. Despite some bizarre and highly apocryphal stories that the doctor displayed the removed parts of circumcised Kikuyu women in his surgery, and that he fed his rose bushes on human blood, he appeared to be prospering, engaging a live-in tailor and nannies to attend to the children and issuing invitations to dances at his home.

When I had first arrived in Kenya in my teens in the 1940s, Dr Ribeiro was in his seventies and still riding his zebra, well known and respected as a former diplomat as well as a doctor, having held the title of Portugal’s Vice-Consul in Nairobi from 1914 to 1922. Reputedly the first person to diagnose bubonic plague in Kenya, Rosendo Ribeiro was awarded the OBE. I recall when he invited our family to dinner one evening at his fine house in Victoria Street, he apologised discreetly to us for not using the best cutlery as his wife had locked it away. 




   Dr Ribeiro on his zebra

From the early 1900s, as Goans married and started families in and around Nairobi, their numbers swelled. With this expansion came the growth of civic institutions and a certain amount of rivalry between the various business and community leaders. Official political status for Goans was confined to representation on the town council, and support for popular local causes and good works could help a candidate gain the one seat available. The Nazareth brothers (father and uncle of J.M. Nazareth), who employed large numbers of people, paid for street lights and other neighbourhood improvements, and in 1911 sponsored a Silver Cup for the Asian football tournaments. One or both Nazareths, Dr Ribeiro and J.M. Campos became regular rivals in the town council elections.

Goan clubs, large and small, proliferated in the early days of Nairobi. These associations fostered communal spirit, but there was also dissent. Elements within the Goan Institute were unashamedly elitist, restricting membership to those in commercial and professional occupations, and in 1905 butlers, cooks and tailors were barred. In 1911 the Institute passed a resolution which declared that ‘In every part of the world, the direction of communal, social and political affairs of a nucleus of individuals, of a community, and of a nation is always entrusted to the upper class…’ The Goan Institute’s first president was the businessman J.M. Campos, but when a newspaper article referred to him as ‘President of the Goan community’, there were angry letters stating that the Institute represented barely one quarter of Nairobi’s 500 Goans.

Dr Rosendo Ribeiro had already been voted for as an alternative leader for the excluded majority, and to cater for their needs a broader-based movement, the Goan Union, already active in Bombay, opened a chapter in Nairobi, offering moral and practical support, including assistance with welfare, medical and legal matters. This organisation, open to all occupations, was looked down upon by some of the leading lights of the Goan Institute, notably P.X. de Gama Rose, who allegedly described the Goan Union as a lot of illiterate servants not equipped to engage socially or politically with the educated classes. I believe de Gama Rose had married a European, and talked a lot about his time at Oxford University. More generally, I do remember so-called lower-class Goans really being thought of as dirt, complete outcasts.


The rivalry between the two Goan associations led them in 1911 to clash over which should be the official organiser for the celebrations marking George V’s coronation. The eagerness on both sides to participate in the event indicated that East Africa’s Goans were in general pro-British and tended to run their clubs on the traditional European model. However, one key difference between the Goan Institute and the Goan Union was that while the former conducted its communications in English, the latter passed resolutions in the vernacular Goan language of Konkani. In the light of this choice of language, and reading their 1911 resolution further, it suggests the Goan Institute members automatically equated the use of English with being educated, and by virtue of identification with the British, with status, ‘…an educated man is better fitted to judge and appreciate the pros and contras of a question… affecting the interests of the community he belongs to, than an ignorant man.’

In terms of their leadership, the two groups were not completely separate, with Institute member Dr Ribeiro, for example, serving on the committee of the Union, and J.M. Campos, the Institute’s first president, working enthusiastically on behalf of the Union. Others were much more polarised in their allegiance, with some like F.X. de Gama Rose of the Institute set on denigrating the Goan Union. At one point J.A. Nazareth wrote a strong letter to the newspaper in Nairobi, objecting to the hostility on both sides and calling for a special conference to try to resolve it. To add to the mix, two more groups arose, the Railway Goan Sports Club, catering for railway employees, and the Nairobi Goan Tailors Society.

While the Goan Institute and the Railway Club interacted with joint events, the Tailors Society, for reasons of caste and class, remained apart. The Goan Institute continued to be exclusive, but at the same time its influence dwindled until the arrival in 1919 of Dr A.C.L de Souza, whom I have mentioned earlier. While the Goan Union all but disappeared from Kenya, Dr de Souza and his wife Mary reinvigorated the Institute to become the main focus of Goan civic affairs in Nairobi, popular with young and old alike, a welcoming club where children and young people could spend countless happy hours playing carom and table tennis, and learning to dance, as I had done in a similar club in Zanzibar.

For my mother, Goa was probably the place she felt most at home. My father too had often talked about returning there. I remember when we lived in Nairobi, how he would sometimes pace up and down at night, talking about going back and restoring the fortunes and proud reputation of the family liquor business, for which our ancestors had won medals and plaudits. I had said at one point that I did not think we should earn money from such a trade.

I had left Goa as a young child, but growing up I was aware of a rich heritage, the Indian and the European, the Hindu and the Christian. On returning to Goa for the first time in 1959, after 30 years, I was surprised at how many things I saw fitted with my memories. I found the caste system was very strong. I remember when I arrived all these fellows of the lower caste came to see me, about 30 or 40 of them. My mother said we were supposed to give them some food and liquor, so we made some toasted grams and they all ate and drank feni and sang praises to me. Hearing all this I decided to make a speech, which I had been thinking about for a long time. ‘Listen,’ I told them, ‘all this caste system is rubbish; we are no more bhatkars than you are mundkars.’ Bhatkar meant landlord, and mundkars were originally people with no property rights, whose houses could be pulled down and the materials taken by the landowner. After Indian independence the law had changed so that if you had lived somewhere for three years you could buy the land and house, which was right I think.

After I had made the speech, the fellows cheered me. Noticing they were all still standing, I said, ‘You must all sit down with us,’ and told my mother to have chairs brought out. Not one of them would sit. I said, ‘Look, I’m telling you, you’ve got to sit down we are all equal.’ ‘Yes, thank you,’ they replied, ‘but we cannot sit, our fathers would object.’ I said, ‘Your fathers are not here.’ But they told me it would also bring a curse: that I was after all more than a landlord and an employer – I was their bhatkar: their philosopher, their guide.      

What makes a Goan? Being born and bred in Goa was always the natural and obvious qualification. I mentioned earlier however that many, perhaps most Goans, considered themselves to be Portuguese rather than Indian, Christian rather than Hindu. I sometimes used to ask such people, ‘Who made you Portuguese?’ to which they replied, ‘The law.’ There was some truth in this, and it may have been Salazar that allowed the Christians access to better schools and other advantages, prompting Goan families to convert.

Further back in history, Christianity and the Portuguese identity was also spread by soldiers sent out to bolster Goa’s military strength. In the days before the Suez Canal, the voyage from Portugal might take several months via the Cape of Good Hope. When the young soldiers arrived and saw the young local girls swimming, friendships and often romance would blossom. When the Portuguese Governor of Goa got to hear of this, he decreed that any soldier seen talking to one of the girls be arrested and taken with her to the nearest church, where she would then have to convert to Christianity and the two of them be married.

The Governor further advised his superiors in Lisbon that over time this policy would swell the Goan population that was loyal to Portugal, and provide a stream of like-minded, willing administrators and civil servants. The Portuguese Government, in a quite Machiavellian way, urged him to continue winning over the indigenous population with similar enticements, such as land and other rewards. The impact on Goa was thus two-fold, expanding the influence of the Catholic Church and the imperial power of Portugal.   

Many Goans of course also went to Bombay to work for the British. Alongside them were locals referred to as East Indians, which for a long time I couldn’t understand, Bombay being on the west coast. The name in fact related to their employers, the British East India Company. These East Indians, who had been given chunks of land around Bombay by the British and were often quite rich, considered themselves very superior to Goans. We had this hierarchy in Bombay at that time: first were the British, who were considered aristocrats, regarding those who consorted too much with the locals as second-class citizens. The offspring of those who assimilated biologically were called Anglo-Indians, and in time this became more acceptable. Below the Anglos were the East Indians, then the Christian Indians such as Goans, and lastly the non-Christian Indians. 

With assimilation the number of Anglo-Indians grew. Having held steady jobs in administration or on the railways, when independence came in 1947, considering themselves British, they left in droves for Britain, expecting to find similar positions there. Few however were offered work, and many eventually found their way to Australia. It was very sad for them, because even if dark as charcoal they invariably talked of being British. They were also quite anti-Indian. An Anglo-Indian woman I met in London told me that when she fell in love with a Goan boy her mother threatened to disown her. As a result she had married a man 30 years older than herself and had a miserable life.

Like the majority of Indian couples, my parents too of course had entered an arranged marriage, but they had been of a more similar age and had enjoyed a happy relationship. As a young man, however, my father had been very much in love with another girl and they had meant a lot to each other and wanted to marry. It must have been very painful for both of them when he had to give her up because of social pressures.

Goans lived and settled in other parts of Africa too. One of my father’s brothers, my Uncle Joobhoi, became a Catholic priest and was sent by the church to Mozambique, which like Goa was a Portuguese colony in those days. Then, when he saw how unfairly the Portuguese authorities and the priesthood were treating the local population, especially the mixed-race people of Mozambique, he left the church and started a political newspaper, attacking Portuguese rule. It wasn’t long before they arrested him. He was obviously a very strong-willed man and he took a lot of risks, someone whom they would call today a freedom fighter. A lot of Goans, however, wanted to go and settle in Mozambique and they must have thought my uncle was mad for supporting these people as he did, and I believe he became something of an outcast among the Goan community because of it. There were to be similar attitudes towards myself among some of the Kenyan Asians during the independence struggle.

In October 2015, my wife Romola and I were invited to a very interesting talk at the Kenya High Commission in London. The speaker was Sharad Rao, born in Nairobi in 1936 and now Chairman of the Kenya Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board. The subject of the talk was ‘Kenya Then and Now – Asians’ Contribution to the Politics and Development of Kenya’. Sharad had been Called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn a few years after me, in 1959. Back in Kenya, still under British rule, as Sharad observed, ‘The big law firms were all European… and it was their stated policy not to accept Asian or African lawyers, even for articles.’ He also reminded us that racial segregation was enforced not only in transport, housing, jobs, public toilet facilities, etc. but also in vital services like hospitals. I was to experience this at first-hand in pre-independence days when I had an accident in my car.

In 2015, the number of Asians remaining in Kenya was I believe fewer than 80,000, under 0.2 percent of the country’s 47 million or so inhabitants. Furthermore, Kenya’s civil service, once an Indian preserve, is I understand now staffed almost entirely by Africans. Yet Asians, who opened up many of the most isolated parts of the country, bringing infrastructure, services and development, remain an indelible part of the country’s history, and despite the Africanisation programme, a number of those who took Kenyan citizenship after 1968 went on to high achievement in the law, police and civil service. The Asian community’s philanthropic work in Kenya, past and present, includes the Platinum Jubilee Hospital built in 1958, now known as the Aga Khan Hospital, the M.P. Shah Hospital in Nairobi, and in Mombasa the Pandya Memorial Hospital. In addition, Asian charitable foundations help with food and education for those in need. I feel proud to have been one of the many involved in these efforts. Sharad pointed out that the Kenyan Lions Club flourished among the Asian community, largely because the Rotary Clubs and Masonic Lodges had excluded them. The Lions have done good work for charity, notably the Eye Hospital treating cataracts, and the Jaipur Foot Hospital providing many thousands of free artificial limbs.  

Today, the numerous philanthropic programmes supported or set up by Kenyan Asians benefit largely the African population. Among the most prominent of such institutions is Nairobi University, and it is here that you can see a tribute to possibly the most important Asian contribution to the development of East Africa. Standing on the second floor of one of the campus buildings, it is a bronze statue of a man wearing a simple dhoti and walking with staff in hand. It is Mahatma Gandhi, whose political theories and example were the inspiration for so many who fought for a fairer world. In the days before television or computers, however, knowledge and ideas could only be spread by word of mouth, or for those fortunate enough to have learned to read – the ‘white man’s magic’ as Kenyatta described it – through books.

An Indian man, Ambu Patel, played a significant part in bringing important written works to the people of East Africa. Arriving first in 1955 aged 26, Ambu had trained in India and London as a bookbinder and later set up his own company in Nairobi producing and selling books, including titles on Gandhi. Fiercely critical of colonialism, he wrote articles for the press, formed the ‘Release Jomo’ committee, and employed and looked after Kenyatta’s daughter Margaret when her father was in detention. Ambu gave Kenyatta the leather jacket that became a trademark look for the leader, and I recall something else, a series of photographs he had taken of Kenyatta over some time, which he had compiled into an album as a tribute to his achievements and shown to him around the time of independence. One day, some friends and I found Ambu in a state of great agitation because he could not locate the photographs; it seemed they had either gone astray or there had been some misunderstanding and they had been assumed to be a gift. Ambu had probably planned to use the photographs in a biography of Kenyatta and had no negatives or copies. In 1963, Ambu did publish his book, entitled The Struggle for the Release of Jomo and his Colleagues. Ambu Patel was also a great devotee of Mahatma Gandhi, and thanks to publishers and booksellers, many more people were able to learn about Gandhi’s life and ideas and to pass that invaluable knowledge to their children, as my father did.


The above material is the copyright of Fitz de Souza, no part or parts can be reproduced without permission.













The best read stories on my blog

Below are the best read stories on my blog and contributed greatly, along with all the others, in achieving the 250,000 hits mark. Again thanks to all my readers.

Two Hockey Trojans/Alu/ Tari (4363 hits)
Jack Fernandes (3346 hits)
RIP Steve Fernandes (3090)

The Shiftars (2842)

Alu Mendonca (2631)

Alu Final Journey (2492
Joe Gonsalves (2449)
Xavier Vienna (2355)
Johnny Lobo, legend (2349)
Johnny Lobo, cricketer (1932)
Justin Dourada (1716)

Richard Rattos, Drifters (1710)

Julian Costa Silva (1704)
Ferdie Rodrigues, a brother's lament (1698)
Bye Sis (1607)
John J. D'Souza (1607)

Jason DaSilva: an inspiration

I want to share this with you and hope sincerely it merits mention on your blog   
as I sincerely admire this fab young man who has battled all odds, achieved it and now an inspiration to all.  He is resolute and perseveres with determination on what is a debilitating condition.

Although born in the States, his parents are from Kenya.  His father Edward D'silva was a classmate of Benny in Goan/Sacred Heart School Mombasa and his lovely mother Marianne D'Souza is from Kisumu (good friend of Benegal). 

Thanks CM>



http://www.newmobility.com/2015/01/person-of-year-jason-dasilva/


Highlight and right click for a brilliant Goan success story

Jason DaSilva is an artist. He will always be an artist, no matter how severe his disability becomes, because of how he thinks, feels, and views the world, and because of his passion and determination to communicate that viewpoint to people of all abilities and cultures. NEW MOBILITY is proud to name him our 2014 Person of the Year — for using his artistic talent and unique vision in a way that will benefit people with disabilities now, and for a long, long time to come.
Filmmaker Jason DaSilva, NEW MOBILITY’S 2014 Person of the Year, is at his desk working on a script with a volunteer assistant. A power wheelchair is nearby, but he’s sitting in an ordinary office chair. As I wonder how he can move about by himself, the assistant turns him around and pushes him gently toward me, ready to be interviewed.




https://boxoffice.hotdocs.ca/websales/pages/info.aspx?evtinfo=90075~6052eab3-8904-4c72-8914-433e6b8b62f1&epguid=2157979d-886e-46a2-ace8-e46670981e8a&

https://boxoffice.hotdocs.ca/websales/pages/info.aspx?evtinfo=90075~6052eab3-8904-4c72-8914-433e6b8b62f1&epguid=2157979d-886e-46a2-ace8-e46670981e8a&

Another small milestone 250,000 hits

Thanks to all you wonderful people who follow my blog.

Today we notched up 250,00 hits. Nothing huge in comparison with other major international blogs but pretty big in my small little shamba. Another opportunity to thank all the kind people who read the blog, provide feedback, send me story ideas,eulogies and tributes and anything else that might interest the readership.

God Bless

Skip

NBN makes good ....

My internet worries continue: TPG sent a couple of very competent technicians and they quickly sussed out the fact that there was a break in the landline cable connecting NBN to my house. They promised to quickly return to base, contact the relevant department (because the first team "does not dig trenches and lay cable". Did not hear anything from anyone for the next six hours so I contact TPG and they breathtaking too me for a ride for the next 18 hours or so and much, much promises and pleas someone (a humble call centre operator) told me that NBN had advised TPG that the repairs of the cable would be carried out on May 22 some 16 days after the break. That is ridiculous! Surely Australians better respect, service and care for their custom ... are we really on a par with the poorest countries in Africa or the sub-continent? Why does TPG have authority to insist that NBN does the repairs within 24 hours? I can't approach NBN because my contract is with TPG. I managed things on my mobile phone until the data allocation ran out and I had to buy a $99 external drive which should run out soon and then it will be another $99 plus the month $40 bill NBN does the repairs, if they ever. Who is going to compensate me for loss internet and Foxtell? Cost of the external drive?

Thank God for Foxtell. They came promptly had one look at the cable and said "bugger that" or words to that effect and help me arrange to have a satellite connection. Now I can watch the cricket final tonight. There is a God, of course, it is not Foxtell but in my crucifixion they are some kind of saviors.

Thank you Foxtell. I am in Foxtell heaven while part of me is suffering in internet hell.

My internet is back on line ... three excellent guys from NBN replaced the broken cable and brought a smile to an old man's face,

The truth about Pio Gama Pinto and Jomo Kenyatta


How Fitz tried desperately to save
his mentor Pio Gama Pinto

Copyright © 2019 Fitzval R.S. de Souza

The views and opinions expressed in this book are the author’s own and the facts as remembered by him.


All rights reserved.


Fitz pictured in London with Pio’s widow Emma Gama Pinto when both were in pretty good
health and long before the onset of Parkinson’s disease for Pio. Both have been ailing since. Photograph by ex-Kenyan Benegal Pereira, the son of freedom fighter Eddie Pereira.

Forward to IndependenceFitz de SouzaMy Memoir

Available on Amazon



The long, long-awaited memoirs of Fitz de Souza are finally out and the book is quite brilliant. The former Deputy Speaker of the Kenya Parliament, lawyer, politician, a rather quiet man in the sometimes loud circus of politics, he was Jomo Kenyatta’s right-hand man … from the first days of the negotiations for freedom with the British Government and until the night of December 12, 1963, Kenya’s independence and for the rest of Kenyatta’s life. The President of Kenya paid great heed on the legal, political, social and societal deliberation provided by Fitz de Souza. Not only Kenyatta, but politicians of every ilk sought out the wisdom of Fitz. Goans in Kenya did not celebrate this man because they did not know him. Like his mentor Pio Gama Pinto, Fitz worked better behind the scenes but he was not afraid to speak his mind at international conferences or at local political rallies.

Thanks to his memoirs, we can now reveal exactly what happened on that fateful day in February, 1965 when Pio Gama Pinto clashed (some folks said “exchanging personal abuse”) in the corridors of Parliament House, Nairobi. Fitz writes: “It was on an afternoon in February, as I was taking a break for tea outside the Parliament building, that I heard someone calling my name. ‘Mr de Souza, come quickly please!’ Turning around I saw that a few tables away an altercation had broken out between Pio and Kenyatta. Both men were gesticulating and swearing, and as their voices rose, everyone on the veranda could hear. Tom was standing nearby, now joined by several onlookers. Pio, his face contorted with anger was shouting, ‘I’ll fix you!’ Kenyatta, equally incensed, was shouting back at him.

I knew immediately what they were arguing about: the English farms, which Pio claimed Kenyatta was grabbing. Running up behind Pio, I put both my arms around him, trying to restrain him and calm him down. When Kenyatta had gone we sat down. I warned him not to shout at Kenyatta again, as Kikuyus rarely forgive someone who becomes their enemy.

 ‘In the eyes of most Africans,’ I said, ‘you are just a Muhindi, you are perfectly dispensable, but he is not.’ I reminded him how at almost every meeting Kenyatta would ask the same rhetorical question: if a man plants a tree, who has the right to claim the fruit of that tree when it has grown? Ask any African, I told him, and they will say that Kenyatta has been very little compensated for the sacrifices and hardship he has endured in the struggle for independence. ‘If it comes to the push,’ I said, ‘there’ll be two shots fired at you and no one will remember you in a year’s time.’ Pio shook his head, ‘No, no, there would be a bloodbath.’ I said, ‘Pio, you are overestimating your position; maybe if you were a Kikuyu or a Luo, then yes, there would be a backlash, but you’ve nobody to support you; like me, you’ve no support in the Indian community and none outside it.’

Fitz knew Pio’s life was in danger because Tom Mboya (the rising star of Kenya politics and man many wanted as the next president) told him so. Fitz writes: “One night Tom took me aside and mentioned again the concern on his side, and how Pio was increasingly seen as trouble, a left-wing firebrand out to oust Kenyatta.
 ‘Once certain people realise that the possibility of Odinga succeeding Kenyatta is due to this one man,’ he said, ‘and that when the time comes, he can provide the necessary organisation to pull it off, then those same people will want to get rid of him. Take Pinto out, and the whole thing collapses like a pack of cards. (I wrote something very similar in my book Yesterday in Paradise)’ I wondered what exactly he meant by ‘take out.’ I said, ‘Tom, Pinto is a good organiser yes, but it really wouldn’t be as easy as that.’ I asked, ‘If it came to it, would you take any part in getting rid of him, whatever that means?’ Tom said no, but there were people who would. He then told me earnestly to speak to Pio and to warn him that his life was in danger.”  
According to Fitz it was the Luo leader Oginga Odinga who picked up Pio and drove him to Mombasa. A few days later Joe Murumbi turned at house where Pio was staying. Joe very, very confident that no harm would come to Pio because he would speak to Jomo Kenyatta.
Fitz writes: Pio took Joe’s advice and returned to Nairobi on the train. Pio arrived back home in Nairobi in the morning. That evening, J.D. Kali’s driver, a Kikuyu called Ndegwa, stopped by the house. Ndegwa was also with the Special Branch and drove Kenyatta too. He asked if Pio had returned. Someone told him, yes, and he drove off. Also in the house at the time was a very close friend of Pio, an African called Cheche, who had been with him in detention. Cheche acted as Pio’s bodyguard, and it was said would die for him. When Pio was told about the caller, he said he knew whom Ndegwa was and that he was trying to organise to kill him.
Perhaps the visit was a warning. If so, it did not deter Pio and he was soon busily compiling a list of farms and land which in his view had been stolen from the African people by the Government. The list would form a key part of his group’s opposition to Tom’s Sessional Paper 10. The expectation was for there to be an explosive result: a vote of no confidence against Kenyatta. I reminded Pio of Kenyatta’s strength, of the sacrifices and struggles he had made and his firm belief that the fruits of independence should be his. I said, ‘Pio, I think you have a lot of good things to say, but however much you say them, Kenyatta is not going to give up power or go away. He is a very courageous man and would fight to the death to stay leader if he had to. So don’t try to attack him morally and not expect to get on his bad side, you are just wasting your time, it is not possible to remove him.’
Pio was actually preparing the ground for the enactment by Parliament of a type of African socialism, the removal of Kenyatta and the coronation of his sworn enemy Oginga Odinga. It was never going to happen because Pio would be killed by the assassin’s bullet on February 25, 1965.
The next thing that happened was that Fitz’s life was in danger: On the 25th of February, I was in court in the middle of a case when one of my articled clerks came in looking for me. ‘What are you doing here?’ I asked him. ‘Mr de Souza,’ he whispered, ‘I am very sorry to tell you that your friend is dead.’ I knew immediately that he meant Pio. The English judge, a good friend, looked across the courtroom at me. I stood up and cleared my throat, ‘I am very sorry, but due to an unfortunate occurrence, I have to leave. The judge said, ‘I can see you are shocked. Is this about your friend Pio Pinto?’ I nodded. He said, ‘This court is adjourned.’ I went straight to Pio’s house.
Two police officers were there, the gate was closed and the car was in the driveway. Pio was inside, his body leaning to one side as if asleep at the wheel. Looking at him I suddenly thought, he’s all right after all, and reaching in, touched his shoulder, saying, ‘Pio, Pio.’ Then I saw the bullet hole. It was true; Pio was dead. That night I cried and cried. I felt really shattered. Pio had been just 38 years old, but had done so much for the country, spent seven years on Manda Island, not even allowed to see his dying father. All he had ever wanted was justice and fairness for all. He did not deserve this fate. Pio’s bodyguard Cheche came to see me later, crying, ‘Our friend is dead, our friend is dead.’ Through my day-to-day legal work, I had got to know one of the Nairobi CID officers, an Englishman. It wasn’t long before he and I had a lead. A taxi driver described some men with guns being taken recently in specially hired Fiat cars to South C where it was said, they were to ‘fix’ some trade union people. Could they also have been sent to fix Pio?
The taxi driver took the CID officer and I around the streets and within a short time had identified a young African man in a red shirt. After being placed under arrest, the 22-year-old, Kisilu Mutua, admitted to shooting Pio. My mind was full of questions. On the day Pio was killed, the end of Lower Kabete Road had been blocked off and the traffic stopped. And why, when he was found in the car, obviously preparing to leave as usual that morning, was the gate to his driveway closed? Pio was a good runner, faster than the Maasai even, at one time predicted to run for Kenya in the Olympics.
If he had got out of the car, no one would have caught him. The roadblock and the closed gate had been no coincidence. I began asking around and challenging people to find the person or persons responsible. My father was worried. ‘Fitz you must be careful,’ he urged me, ‘they might want to shoot you too.’ I said, ‘Look I’ve known Kenyatta for years, been his lawyer and helped him.’ My father replied, ‘People can forget things.’ I could not, in any case, believe that Kenyatta would have wanted Pio dead.
About two weeks had gone by when walking on the street past the Standard Bank in Nairobi one day, I heard someone behind me. I looked around and saw Bruce McKenzie hurrying to catch up with me. His manner was friendly, chatting about general things, but I sensed something more, something he wanted to say. Bruce was a big man, with a strong handshake that overpowered you, and I felt that strength in him now. ‘Fitz,’ he said, ‘I like you very much, you’re a good friend.’ I said, ‘Bruce, have you been sent to talk to me about Pio.’ He nodded. I said, ‘To warn me, that if I carry on asking questions, the same is going happen to me?’ Bruce said yes, this was the message he had been asked to give me. Then Mungai came to see me. He was a mysterious figure, some hinted he had been a Mau Mau leader, others a Government spy. Telling me that I was now on a ‘wanted list’, he reached in his pocket and took out a pistol, complete with licence, advising me to keep it for protection.
I had been under threat before when Pio had been arrested and I had driven across the border to Uganda. The concern then was possible imprisonment. This was different. Pio was gone, and Bruce had come to tell me, on whose authority I did not know, that I could be next. Mungai had confirmed it. I had seen Pio’s limp body carried from his car, the small hole in his body where the bullet had entered, witnessed Emma’s shock and grief. As the reality of the danger, I was in hit me, I became very nervous. I took some Valium, and not knowing what else to do booked into the Hilton Hotel. Nowhere in Nairobi was completely safe, but here at least there were people around, I could stay behind a locked door. How long for though? I would have to come out sometime. I thought carefully. I was getting married in a few months. Now there were not just my parents, my brother and sister and myself to think of, but also my future wife Romola – our future lives together and in time, probably a family of our own. After a few days, I let it be known that I was no longer pursuing my inquiries, checked out of the hotel and went home. I hid Mungai’s pistol in a strongbox behind a loose brick in the wall and kept the key in my pocket. Still anxious and in shock, I decided to go to England and from there, seeking a complete change of scene, take a trip to Scandinavia. At that time permission was needed to take money out of the country, so I rang Kenyatta to ask if it could be arranged. Yes, yes, he said, and gave me the name of someone who could help. Talking to Kenyatta, he was clearly very distressed and crying over the phone. When I broached the question of who might be responsible he said, ‘Do you think I could possibly have murdered my own friend?’ and said he had been equally shocked by what had happened.  A couple of weeks later I returned for Pio’s funeral. The mourners were mostly Africans and church people. Kenyatta, who was not expected to attend, sent an ivory carving in tribute. Joe Murumbi was full of remorse, blaming himself for persuading Pio to leave the beach house at Mombasa and come back to Nairobi that day. While Pio’s alleged killer languished behind bars, sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment, there were whispered rumours that the ‘powers that be’ had organised the assassination, or the Kiambu Mafia, CIA or foreign governments, and the riddle remained unanswered.
Before now, not many people knew of Fitz’s attempts to save Pio Gama Pinto or that even Fitz’s life was threatened. All this and more, my hero kept it all to him self.
The deaths first of Pio and then later of Tom Mboya and J.M. Kariuki destroyed Fitz as a politician and he quiet resigned from politics and focused on his law firm.