Moi ally Joseph Kamotho was a loyalist with a heart of gold


John Joseph Kamotho was a Kenyan politician who served the country in various ministerial capacities. Kamotho, who also served as MP for Kangema and Mathioya constituencies, held different cabinet positions including Natural Resources and Environment, Trade and Education.

He was also a long-serving secretary general of the once-ruling party, Kenya African National Union (KANU). For many years, Kenyans associated Kamotho with riches owing to his numerous contributions during different functions, especially harambees. Many of the fundraisers he was involved in were those that were in support of churches and educational facilities.

To keep his philanthropy on course, Kamotho established a children’s home, Upendo Children’s Centre. Together with his family, they mobilized friends, and organized bicycle races and charity walks to raise funds to support the destitute in society.

At the height of his career, JJ was known to be a close confidant of the then KANU leader and president, Daniel Moi.

The former president considered him as his point man in the Central region which was largely pro-opposition.

For over a decade, Kamotho remained the voice of the ruling party and the KANU government. His unwavering support and loyalty to President Moi and the government earned him friends and enemies in equal measure.

However, his rigid views on politics and government, as well as his strong defence of the government saw opposition leaders often attack him, and the government. As secretary general for KANU, JJ was always open to questions from journalists whether during the day or night. Interestingly, he was known to answer most questions with the statement “KANU will not in any way accept it”.

He was also known to be a wordsmith with a fondness for snappy phrases shaped by the Kremlin Parlance of the Soviet Union. Having lived in both the West and East eras which divided the globe into socialist and capitalist blocks, Kamotho was well exposed to the manipulation of Machiavellianism and propaganda in public communication.

JJ Kamotho died in 2014 while undergoing treatment at a South African Hospital. He was survived by his wife and five children.




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