A biography of senior chief Solomon Kasina Wa Ndoo of Migwani Division, Kitui District, 1889-1989
Manzi, Julius M
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The study of biographies of those personalities who have contributed in one way or the other in influencing history can be quite fascinating because it furthers our understanding of broader issues and processes in any given society. Quite a number of historians have written biographies of those among the colonial chiefs who in one way or another played important roles in shaping the destinies of their people and of this country to a certain extent. There were those who utilised every opportunity created by the colonial officials to improve education, agriculture, health, water and infrastructure in their areas. Such colonial chiefs included senior chief Waruhiu wa Kung 'u, chief Musa Nyandusi, Odera Akong'o, Njiri wa Karanja and paramount chief Kinyanjui Gathirimu just to name a few. As I read through the literature on colonial chiefs, it occurred to me that there is no one who has written a biography on colonial chiefs in Kitui District even though there were a few chiefs among them the likes of senior chief Kasina wa Ndoo and chief Mwendwa wa Kitavi who played very important roles in shaping the destinies of their people. The mention of the name of chief Kasina among the Kitui Akamba rekindles memories of a leader who through collaboration with colonial officials played a significant role in improving the lives of Kitui people. Hence it is for this reason that this research was carried out with a view to exposing who chief Kasina was and how and why he had become what he was. This thesis is an attempt to write the biography of the Late Senior Chief Samson Kasina wa Ndoo of Migwani Division, Kitui District. The Late Chief Kasina was born around 1889 and passed away in 1989 having lived for a record one hundred years. He was first appointed a Headman in 1925 before being made a chief in 1927. He served the colonial government for thirty-eight years before he voluntarily retired in 1963. As demonstrated in this thesis, Kasina was not just a chief like any other. He was an extremely rare type that was hard to come by during the colonial period. His loyalty in serving the colonial government was unquestionable. He devoted all his energy and time in rendering service to the colonial government. In other words he was always totally committed and dedicated to his duties as a colonial chief. This thesis further shows that chief Kasina was endowed with leadership qualities that were not readily found in other chiefs. He was a born leader. Lacking as he did any kind of formal education, he nonetheless proved to be a better administrator compared to those who had acquired formal education. He was able to succeed where others failed. His leadership qualities were a great asset to the success of colonial rule in Kitui District. Chief Kasina played a crucial role in the protection and advancement of his peoples' interests and well-being. He was very instrumental in advocating the uplifting of the living standards of his people through the initiation of various development projects in his location. He was able to do this by performing his dual role of being the chief and councillor of Migwani Location. As a result his Location as well as the Division were always constantly far ahead of the others in many aspects and respects. It is therefore no wonder that chief Kasina was made the most powerful chief in Kitui District by being given the title of a Senior Chief. There has been a belief among the Kitui Kamba that chief Kasina was unpopular.The thesis demonstrates that the chief was not as unpopular as many people tend to believe. His popularity as well as his reputation suffered a great deal when he was carrying out his duties as a colonial chief He had to convince his masters that he merited being appointed a chief and this he could only do by making sure that he strictly and outrightly carried out his chiefly duties according to the standards set forth by his colonial masters. In other words chief Kasina acted as the cutting edge of the colonial sword and the result was that he quite often collided with his people. The brutal attempt to assassinate chief Kasina on 21st September 1953 showed and awakened the colonial officers in Kitui to the gravity of the Mau Mau activities in Kitui District. Before then, the D.C. and other colonial officials in the District held the believe that Mau Mau phenomenon was non-existent in the district with the exception of a few members who were living outside the District. Their view was however proved wrong with the eventual attempt to assassinate chief Kasina. It is therefore hoped that this thesis will add to the existing literature on colonial history by among other things examining the working of the colonial government in Kitui District during the colonal period. This is the case since the thesis discusses to a great degree the extent to which chief Kasina used or was used by the colonial government to achieve certain ends. Likewise it is expected that this thesis fills important gaps which exist on the available information on chief Kasina which apart from being scanty is scattered in various documents.
CitationMasters of Arts Degree
University of NairobiDepartment of Arts
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment for the Degree of Master of Arts in the University of Nairobi