The Gikuyu, Embu, Meru Association (GEMA) was an organisation in Kenya created to presumably advance the social and political needs of the Eastern Kenya. With Martha koome as chief justice this now the positions held by Kikuyu(GEMA).
A cross-section of Kikuyu politicians with their roots in Kiambu County launched Gema in the late 1960s when opposition to President Kenyatta’s rule peaked especially from Luo Nyanza following the 1966 falling out with his former ally and vice-president Jaramogi Odinga Oginga. The subsequent assassination of then Economic Planning minister and Kanu Secretary General Tom Mboya in 1969 worsened matters.
In the backlash that resulted from the two events, central Kenya elite, including Njenga Karume and former Nakuru North MP Kihika Kimani, former Defence Minister Njoroge Mungai, former State Minister Mbiyu Koinange, and the president’s nephew Ngengi Muigai felt there was need for a central association bringing together the fractious Kikuyu. Gema was officially registered in 1971, with an economic arm called Gema Holdings that soon set out to acquire vast real estate, including an expansive farm at Kasarani and plots in the Nairobi Central Business District.
Virtually every other senior civil service and parastatal head from the region subscribed to Gema and President Kenyatta is said to have specifically ordered a hesitant Attorney General Charles Njonjo to immediately register the association that also enjoyed the patronage of Lands Minister Jackson Harvester Angaine who exercised considerable sway among the Meru. Others supporting the association included minister Jeremiah Nyagah, who was strategic in mobilising the Embu. Gema is accused of playing a prominent role in mobilising the community support in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a period characterised by massive oathing throughout central Kenya for members to remain loyal to the Kenyatta regime.
But being composed mostly of educated and sophisticated elite, the association was, however, careful to front an image of disinterest in the illegal and divisive activity. With the Luo threat dissolved and most members toeing the line, Gema soon found its next target. Almost clocking ten years in the vice presidency, Daniel arap Moi was supposedly seen as a soft target for the hard-line Gema, which having gone through the tougher motions of diffusing Jaramogi, Mboya and JM. But Njonjo, who was to be a hard nut to crack, in 1976 warned Gema heavyweights he would not hesitate to open treason charges against them for imagining the death of the president Kenyatta.
The warning ended countrywide tours organised by Kihika, Mungai, Karume, Ngengi, and others who had been pushing a ‘Change the Constitution’ crusade to bar Moi from ascending to the presidency in the event of Kenyatta’s death. When Mzee Kenyatta died in his sleep in 1978, Njonjo convened a Cabinet meeting in which Gema kingpins such as Koinange, Mungai, and Angaine had to watch their dream of retaining the presidency dissipate.
With the death of JM Kariuki and the scaring of Mwai Kibaki from the Kenyatta succession yarn around 1976, Gema insiders’ vow of preventing the presidential standard from crossing River Chania had sort of come to pass as President Moi took over the reins of power. In 2003, the surviving Gema kingpins watched in horror as this vow was shattered and President Kibaki ascended to power in a competitive, but peaceful transition. Moi had formally banned Gema in 1980 together with a plethora of tribal cocoons that run, among others, football teams.
Like the Abaluhya Football Club which metamorphosed into AFC Leopards or the Luo Union, which was renamed Re-Union, Gema, the elite financial club continued to function as Agricultural and Industrial Holdings Ltd among its properties being the Clay Works Factory on Thika Road and the surrounding ranch. This ranch has since been subdivided into plots and is now home to the fledgling middle class Clay Works Estate straddling the Kasarani-Mwiki Road and Thika Road. Like the proverbial family hut in a Gikuyu compound, smoke rises from the thick chimneys at Clay Works Ltd daily.
With Martha Koome as chief justice this now the positions held by (GEMA).
1. President – Kikuyu
2. Chief Justice – Kikuyu
3. Attorney General – Kikuyu
4. State House Comptroller – Kikuyu
5. Deputy Inspector General of Police – Kikuyu
6. Interior and National Coordination Ps – Kikuyu
7. Governor CBK – Kikuyu
8. Transport CS – Kikuyu
9. ICT CS – Kikuyu
10. Agriculture CS – Kikuyu
12. Health CS – Kikuyu
13. Chief Defence Forces – Kikuyu
14. Head of Public Service___Kikuyu
15. Auditor General – Kikuyu
16. Solicitor General – Kikuyu
17. National Assembly Speaker – Mt. Kenya
18. Majority leader – Kikuyu
19. Director NIS – Kikuyu
20. Youth & Gender Affairs CS – Kikuyu
21. Health PS – Kikuyu
22. Lands PS – Kikuyu
23. Trade PS – Kikuyu
24. Energy PS – Kikuyu
25. Petroleum PS – Kikuyu
26. Mining PS – Kikuyu
27. Public Service PS – Kikuyu
28. Regional Development PS – Kikuyu
29. Water & Irrigation PS – Kikuyu
30. Infrastructure PS – Kikuyu
31. Foreign Affairs PS – Kikuyu
32. Tourism PS – Kikuyu
33. Housing PS – Kikuyu
34. Industrialisation PS – Kikuyu
35. Shipping Maritime PS – Kikuyu
Feel free to add in the comments below
Currently the three arms of government are held by GEMA
Was this article helpful?