Kenya’s political stage was in transition in the early 1960s. The Mau Mau conflict was recently concluded, and Britain wanted to hand over the reins of government. The country’s constitutional framework and its independence were negotiated in London and independence was achieved in 1963.

One of the rising stars of the government then was 38-year-old Oxford-educated Tom Mboya, minister for economic planning, founder of the People’s Congress Party, and leader of the Kenya African National Union, whose credentials caused him to be seen as a possible presidential candidate. His glittering career was cut short, though, on July 5th, 1961, when an assassin, Nahashon Njoroge, 32, gunned him down in a Nairobi street.

Njoroge was arrested, tried for the murder and hanged in secret in Nairobi on Saturday, November 8th, 1969, leaving a question mark over exactly why Tom Mboya was killed.

Some believe that President Jomo Kenyatta was involved in the assassination because he saw Mboya as a threat to his own political career. Others felt that the rising young star was getting too close to the USSR to be of any comfort to the west.