‘Sir’ Charles Njonjo, the first Kenyan to hold the office of Attorney General, is about to knock on the door of 100. The former Kikuyu MP and Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister marks his 99th birthday anniversary on Wednesday. He was born on 23rd January 1920.
However, despite being on the doorstep of becoming a centenarian, Njonjo has maintained his physical fitness and even drives himself to the office everyday. His family enterprise comprises of operations in banking, insurance, aviation, hospitality, ranching, large scale farming, property, real estate and equity in listed firms.
He attributes this to his frugal diet as daily swimming. He also does not eat nyama choma.
“I look after myself. I swim daily, I used to do 12 laps, now I do only seven. I also have a bicycle which I ride for 10 minutes daily. I also hit the treadmill for about 10 minutes daily. I’m also careful about what I eat; I don’t eat nyama choma, I eat a lot of veggies,” he told a journalist in a previous interview.
Also like the Mois, the Njonjos genetically enjoy long lives. His father Josiah Njonjo, a colonial paramount chief and one of the foremost collaborators of British rule in Kenya, was in his late 80s when he died on 1st November, 1985.
During his heydays, Njonjo was a powerful in the Kenyatta government. As AG, his word was law and even the Criminal Investigations Department fell under his docket.
The grapevine had it that Njonjo would sip lunchtime champagne while walking barefoot in Mzee Jomo Kenyatta’s office at State House, Nairobi. He walked both the legal and political world like a colossus, scheming on Kenyatta’s succession before his downfall in 1983 when he was accused of plotting to overthrow President Moi, who he helped ascend to power against the wishes of the Mt Kenya mafia.
However, Moi later pardoned him and he kept a low profile until 1998 when he was appointed chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service.
His liking for things British, especially crisp pinstripe suits, saw him nicknamed the ‘Duke of Kabeteshire.’
In another interview, Njonjo revealed that he married at the age of 52 since he was a busy man and did not have time to chase girls. In fact, it is rumuored that Mzee Kenyatta was the one who forced him to wed Margaret Bryson in 1972.