There is no doubt that the historical documentary The Making Of A Nation is a high quality timely project that is pulling in huge audiences across the world (because NTV is available on the web).
After the first two episodes on Sunday and today (Monday) at 9:45pm, we will have to wait until next Sunday for the next riveting episode.
The writer and director of the documentary, Hilary Ng’weno is a nuclear physicist turned journalist who was the first African Editor in Chief of the Daily Nation in the early 60s. The kind of man who not only understands Kenya’s history but unlike Kumekucha was actually around practicing as a journalist as the events were unfolding.
This strength comes out very clearly in his coverage of events shortly after independence where today the documentary dwelt at length with the effect that instability in neighboring countries had on President Kenyatta and most notably in hardening his resolve to fully control the military and key security forces by appointing mostly trusted members of his own tribe. The year covered was 1964.
I was absolutely fascinated. While I was well aware of most of the events, I had never linked them to developments locally and neither had many historians who have written about the same period of Kenya’s history. It brings a whole new powerful perspective into the events of the time and go a long way in explaining some of Kenyatta’s actions. Admittedly I was not aware of the military mutiny at Lanet Army barracks in 1964.
For a man who displays such insight, I was disappointed that the documentary failed to take note of the fact that the only reason that Kenyatta was released from detention was because Jaramogi Oginga Odinga campaigned vigorously for it and only because he wanted to frustrate Tom Mboya who was a clear front runner to be independent Kenya’s first president. Was this information left out because of Raila’s candidacy for the president? Did somebody fear that it would paint the ODM presidential candidate in poor light? Jaramogi is Raila’s late father.
Still I enjoyed immensely the portrayal of Kenyatta’s Machiavellian tactics of staying in control by playing his key lieutenants against each other.
I can’t wait for Sunday.