Mzee Joseph Njuguna Chege who drove President Uhuru Kenyatta to school in his early days.Photo:Boniface Gikandi
Sometime in 2015, an elderly man posted a request on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Facebook page seeking audience with the head of State.
Joseph Njuguna said he had known the President from his days as a primary schoolboy.
He thought it would be good to meet the President, after so many years and remind him of the good old days when he drove Uhuru and his younger brother Muhoho to school.
But Mr Njuguna’s post never attracted any reactions from the President or his handlers.
The former policeman who worked at State House during Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s presidency remembers how he would drive Uhuru and Muhoho to St Mary’s School in Muthangari, Nairobi, in the 1970s.
By then, the 74-year-old Njuguna was a driver at State House.
Speaking in Kangema market yesterday, Njuguna recalled all the jokes he shared with the two boys.
“Other than the jokes, I always encouraged Uhuru to concentrate on his studies,” says Njuguna.
“I always knew Uhuru would end up in politics. He had all his father’s qualities. I even told him he would end up in politics.”
In November 2016, Njuguna says his desire to meet the President was fulfilled when they shook hands at General Kago Stadium. Uhuru had visited the stadium while on a tour of the region.
Njuguna says he relished the opportunity to speak to the President and even reminded him how he drove him to school.
He says he enjoyed his job at State House until the day he was transferred to Industrial Area Police Station. Trouble began when he was asked to drive the President.
“One morning, one Eliud Mathu ordered me to deliver a hat and a pair of spectacles to the late President Jomo Kenyatta’s Gatundu home,” he says.
“I arrived in Gatundu and gave the items to Kenyatta’s bodyguards. They told me to park the vehicle and await further instructions.
“After 30 minutes, the President’s driver requested me to stand in for him. I thought it was a joke but remained alert. Soon after, the President’s aides came out and ordered me to get ready to drive the head of State to Ichaweri, about a kilometre away.”
Njuguna says he was only too happy to drive the President. But this was the act that cost him his job at State House. He says his seniors were furious when they learned he had driven the President.
“They wondered why it had to be me yet there were many senior drivers on standby. Some of them had never driven him despite having been at State House for years,” says Njuguna.
“That is when I was ordered to proceed to Industrial Police Station for redeployment.”
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But he declined, he says, and opted to resign from the police force in protest.
“I ventured into business at Gikomba market after which I relocated to Murang’a.”
It was the senior Kenyatta’s driver, the late Police Inspector Maina William, who had helped Njuguna secure his job at State House.
“Maina was Mzee’s first driver. We related well. Later, he introduced me to State House. He told officials I was a competent driver. I was entrusted with the responsibility of taking Uhuru and Muhoho to school and back.”