Rok Ajulu (1950-2016)

Volume 13, Issue 3 | Published 04/04/2017  

The Life and Times of Professor Rok Ajulu - Political Revolutionary, Independent Thinker, Pan-Africanist and Fervent Internationalist.

Professor Rok Ajulu, who died on 26 December, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa, was born in Bondo, Siaya County in 1950.

Ajulu was politicised at a young age by the repressive actions of the Kenyan state which he experienced first-hand in his home province of Nyanza. Kenya had just attained its independence from Britain and was facing its first political crisis. President Jomo Kenyatta and the ruling KANU party had betrayed the expectations of many Kenyans by opting to keep the status quo. The leftwing of the party led by Vice-President Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was outraged by the direction Kenyatta was taking the country. 

Odinga and his allies were expelled from KANU in 1966. The left regrouped and formed the Kenya People’s Union (KPU) to challenge Kenyatta and offer a socialist alternative to the Kenyan people. But Kenyatta pre-empted Odinga and KPU’s move by launching a brutal crack-down on the opposition. He banned KPU, detained Odinga and several high-ranking members of the party, curtailing political and civil rights.  Nyanza, Odinga’s home province, bore the brunt of the government’s onslaught.