Kenyatta House Lodwar
By Maina Kiarie
Lodwar is the largest town in northwestern Kenya, located west of Lake Turkana, and functions as the capital of Turkana District. During the colonial period, Lodwar functioned as a transit point for British officials moving Kenyan political prisoners to the north.
The house referred to as Kenyatta House in Lodwar served as a detention camp for five of the Kapenguria six [Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Ramogi Achieng Oneko, Kung'u Karumba, Paul Ngei, Fred Kubai] serving their sentence in Lokitaung prison. The house was constructed in 1959 by the Public Works Department for the Prison Department (PWD-Division Kitale) for the Prison department of the colonial government. On the grounds there are seven houses, one toilet and a water tank pillar.
On April 8, 1953 following a court trial at Kapenguria Kenyatta was sentenced to seven years imprisonment with hard labour and indefinite restriction thereafter. Kenyatta remained in prison until 1959, when he was detained in Lodwar under house arrest for two years. On April 11, 1961, he was moved to Maralal, and after a few months on August 14, 1961 he was released and brought to his home in Gatundu.
Whilst in Lodwar access to Kenyatta was controlled and he had to report to the DC every day. On March 23 1961, Kenyan leaders, including Daniel arap Moi, later his long time Vice President and successor as president, visited him in Lodwar.
Kenyatta House (Lodwar) is one of the landmarks of Kenya’s struggle against British imperialism.