Henry Pius Masinde Muliro was a nationalist, educationist, and politician. He was born barely two years after Kenya officially became a British colony. He lost his parents before he turned 13, a trauma that inspired in him hard work and determination – virtues that would define him all his life.
He studied in Roman Catholic mission schools in both Kenya and Uganda. He didn’t make the grade to Makerere University College, and instead applied for a place at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where he studied for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Political Philosophy, English and History.
Armed with his degree, Masinde Muliro returned home to teach, but the turbulence of the 1950s made him quit after only three years, to join politics.
In 1957, he was elected to the Legislative Council. Muliro’s ideas for Kenya’s future centred around a multi-racial society. He joined hands with other politicians from other parties, and went on to serve in the cabinet.
When the government banned Odinga’s Kenya People’s Union (KPU) in 1969, Muliro was the only government insider who defended the opposition party. Six years later, it was Muliro’s single vote against the government that defeated the motion on the parliamentary report on the murder of JM Kariuki in 1975.
Seen by many as the compromised candidate in the fractious opposition politics of the early 1990s, Masinde Muliro died at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport on the morning of August 12, 1992, after a trip to London to popularise the opposition FORD party.