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Argwings-Kodhek: 7 quick facts about the Mau Mau lawyer

Clement Michael George Argwings-Kodhek was an achiever par excellence and a man of many firsts.

CMG, as he was fondly known, stood for “Chiedo Mor Gem” (Dholuo for “frying oil of Gem” or “oil of Gem”) and his baptismal names Clement Michael George.

1. Argwings-Kodhek was the first black lawyer in East Africa.

2. He was born in 1923 in Nyawara, Gem and schooled in Yala, Makerere University College and University of South Wales where he earned the law degree.

3. Argwings-Kodhek,came to be known as Mau Mau lawyer for his alignment to independence struggle.

4. He was the first Member of Parliament for Gem in Siaya, serving from independence in 1963 to 1969.

5. Argwings-Kodhek was a nationalist, as his famous contribution during debate on the 1965 Budget Speech showed:

“In ending this (speech), I must beseech all members and pray that we shall have, as the Germans say, ‘Kenya above all’, Deutschland uber alles (Germany above all) so that we may live here and, when we die, we shall have left Kenya a better place than when we came to it.”

6. Argwings-Kodhek had a European wife of Irish extraction at a time when it was illegal in colonial Kenya for blacks to kiss or hold a white woman’s ‘imperial’ hand in public.

7. He died on Tuesday, January 29, 1969, after he was involved in a mysterious accident in Nairobi on a road that was later named after him.

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