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The Honourable
Josephat Karanja
5th Vice-President of Kenya
In office
March 24, 1988 – May 1, 1989
President Daniel arap Moi
Preceded by Mwai Kibaki
Succeeded by George Saitoti
Personal details
Born Josephat Njuguna Karanja
(1931-02-05)5 February 1931[1]
Died 28 February 1994(1994-02-28) (aged 63)
Nairobi, Kenya[2]
Nationality Kenyan
Political party Kenya African National Union
Occupation Politician

Dr. Josephat Njuguna Karanja (5 February 1931 – 28 February 1994) was a Vice-President of the Republic of Kenya between 1988 and 1989. He resigned to avoid an ongoing vote-of-no-confidence in the Kenyan Parliament. He was accused by the now late Hon. David Mwenje Member of Parliament for Embakasi Constituency of wanting to overthrow President Daniel arap Moi's government by soliciting help from foreign nations. His large network of friends from the west – mainly US and Britain – where he had been a High Commissioner Ambassador. The speculation was fuelled by his wife being from a foreign country (Uganda). He was accused of displaying the stunning beauty at a time when political wives were never seen nor heard. Few people (mainly powerful) failed to understand his western ideological thinking.

He was a member of parliament for Mathare Constituency (today Kasarani Constituency) during his VP years, but later moved to Githunguri Constituency, which he won in 1992 after two previous failed tries against Arthur Magugu. Previously, between 1964 and 1970,[3] he had been the youngest (at 33) to serve as High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Britain, which was and still is one of the most important economic partners to Kenya; and had, beginning at age 40, served as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi. He is probably more remembered for his tenure there between 1970–1979, a period referred to as the hey-days of the university whereby black student enrolment increased by large numbers for the first time in the country's history, than for any other aspects of his public service career. His liberal and Western ideology opened the university to many changes, especially the encouragement of women to acquire higher education.

He had a reputation as a no-nonsense leader and administrator who would not entertain any margin for error. He managed the university with an iron fist, and was politically very savvy. As a result, he was liked and loathed by many. He was described in some quarters as brilliant, dedicated, but aloof and not in touch in others. Many accused him and former Attorney General Charles Njonjo of being too westernised and out-of-touch with the common African population. This was possibly because most foreign-educated and wealthy people had more interaction with rich, white individuals who were remnants of the colonial era's powerful establishments. But, unlike the former Attorney General Charles Njonjo, Dr. Karanja delegated and empowered those below him to take charge. Karanja fiercely guarded the independence of the University, and had the ability to get things done.

In 1993 he was arrested by representatives of the government of President Moi (his former boss), and arraigned in court on charges that he was inciting the public against the government. The charges were bogus since, at the time, he was in frail health and could barely attend parliamentary sessions. The government's heightened paranoia during this time was such that they intimidated those who even thought of challenging the president's government policies. Many opposition politicians were detained without trial, and had their wealth and tax status investigated. Some died in mysterious 'car accidents'. The 1993 arrests of Dr. Karanja and others were condemned by many foreign governments including the US, Britain, Germany and Australia. A few weeks later, charges against the arrestees were all dropped for 'lack of evidence'. Many believe President Moi to have caved in to foreign pressure over the incident.


Karanja died on 28 February 1994, 3 weeks and 2 days after his 63rd birthday.


  1. ^ Who's who in the world, 1978–1979 – Google Books. Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  2. ^ Uhuru – Google Books. Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  3. ^ Official Record 2nd Session, 7th Parliament; Kenya National Assembly Hansard Vol. 3, No. 5; 12 October 1993.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephat_Karanja — Please support Wikipedia.
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7 news items

The Star
Sat, 28 Mar 2015 03:47:54 -0700

As President, Moi went through four VPs - Mwai Kibaki (1978-88), Dr Josephat Karanja (1988-89), Prof George Saitoti (1989-1997, 1999-2002) and Musalia Mudavadi (September-December 2002). Today, Moi is in the 13th year of Kenya's first Presidential ...
The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)
Mon, 16 Feb 2015 13:00:05 -0800

The likes of Dr Josephat Karanja who later became the vice president and Odongo Omamo, all studied abroad courtesy of the negotiations,” he said. 'Two Months in India' is a book written by the doyen of opposition politics, the late Jaramogi Oginga ...
The Standard Digital News (satire) (press release) (registration) (blog)
Tue, 04 Nov 2014 13:00:14 -0800

Born in 1945, Kanyingi will be remembered as the man who was fished from the Motor Vehicle Inspection Unit to engineer a smear and ouster campaign against former Vice President Josephat Karanja. This was a year after Mr Karanja had been appointed in ...
Daily Nation
Sat, 09 Mar 2013 01:31:25 -0800

Rather than shut up, he applied for a position at the University of Nairobi, but was not welcomed by Dr Josephat Karanja, the then Vice Chancellor. After a brief appointment as a Fellow at Stanford University, Mazrui joined the University of Michigan ...

Capital FM Kenya (blog)

Capital FM Kenya (blog)
Tue, 03 Sep 2013 00:21:09 -0700

Kenya is a country blessed with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds that on a sad note have been used to divide us politically. Tribe has become more of a liability than an asset for us as a people even when we shun it for common interests. We ...
Sat, 03 Mar 2012 22:30:35 -0800

When the story came out, Mike was summarily sacked by vice-chancellor (later vice-president) Dr Josephat Karanja. Mike retreated into farming, but he was not much of a farmer either, and he resorted to selling off plots of land from his family's ...
Wed, 15 Jun 2011 11:51:40 -0700

Then, there were Bernard Hinga, the Commissioner of Police, Dr Josephat Karanja, first sent to the Court of St James, London as High Commissioner then Vice-Chancellor at University of Nairobi. In London he was replaced by Ng'ethe Njoroge, a brother of ...

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