Sir Charles Njonjo Biography – Profile

Charles Njonjo was Kenya‘s first post independence Attorney General. Born in Kabete in 1920, Charles Njonjo is the son of ex Senior Chief Josiah Njonjo .

Sir Charles Mugane Njonjo Education

Charles Njonjo attended Alliance High School and the prestigious Kings College Budo in Uganda. Njonjo proceeded to Fort Hare University, South Africa, for his BA in law degree, and later Exeter University London School for a diploma course in social anthropology between 1947 and 1950.

He thereafter enrolled for a law degree at Lincoln‘s Inn and graduated in 1954. He worked at the chambers in London before returning to Kenya in 1955.

Charles Njonjo Career – Work

Charles Njonjo was a Crown Counsel handling cases under Companies and Bankruptcy Ordinance in the Supreme Court as well as serving as the assistant registrar general up to 1960.

He served as Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions before he was appointed Kenya’s Attorney General, succeeding A.M.F. Webb, QC, in 1963.

Njonjo resigned as Kenya’s attorney General in 1983 and rejoined Parliament as the new Kikuyu MP after incumbent Amos Ng’ang’a stepped down for the Attorney General who became a disciplinarian renowned for bureaucratic efficiency and supporter of state control.

Charles Njonjo played a pivotal role in the life of a young nation by ensuring that the colonial and conservative Constitution remained.

But he made several changes, including repealing in 1963 colonial laws that had turned the country into the Kenya colony. He ended capital punishment for rape of a white woman by a black man.

That whites were to be judged by White judges (who had jurors and not assessors as was the case of Africans) was restructured and racially separated courts abolished in 1967. Colonial passbooks were also replaced by identity cards.Charles Njonjo made his office powerful by not only being at the centre of political power and decision making, but also by straddling the police force, legal fraternity and the Civil Service. He incorporated the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and made it part of his chamber’s criminal prosecution.

He moved the Criminal Law (amendment) Bill 1971 that introduced the death penalty for those found guilty of robbery with violence. He helped avert a Constitutional crisis when the ended the Change the Constitution lobby group that wanted the law amended to bar a sitting Vice President from automatically succeeding the President upon death or incapacitation.

He tabled amendments to the Marriage and Divorce Law that intended to reduce the number of unmarried women in Kenya by, among others, upholding the equality of women in marriage.

Charles Njonjo was feared and loathed as his office gave him powers to initiate and end cases without being subject to higher authority.

Njonjo did not repeal oppressive laws, such as the Public Order act  that restricted Kenyans from assemblies, while the Societies Act led to the enforcement of the sedition laws on flimsy grounds. Media freedom was restricted further weakening the Constitution as a guarantor of individual freedom.

There were no mechanisms of challenging the constitutionality of any legislation enacted under his watch

Many political dissenters were detained without trial on minor offences as Njonjo retained detention laws and ensured tough prison conditions for inmates. Kenya became a single-party dictatorship after Njonjo lobbied parliament to amend the Constitution.

Through amendments to the Marriage and Divorce Law 1972, he refused to make adultery a criminal offence.

He opposed use of Kiswahili in Parliament, a move that was defeated in the house in 1975 when both Kiswahili and English were declared official languages.

Charles Njonjo Age

Charles Njonjo was born in Kabete in 1920, is aged 95 years.

Charles Njonjo Suits

Charles Njonjo owns about 20 suits, all tailored in Britain.

Charles Njonjo Family

Charles Njonjo Wife

Charles Njonjo is married to Margaret Bryson

Charles Njonjo Children

Charles Njonjo is married to Margaret Bryson and have two children a son and daughter; Nimu Njonjo and Wairimu Njonjo.

10 Things You Never New About Charles Mugane Njonjo

    1. Sir Charles Mugane Njonjo, born 1920, is the son of former colonial chief Josiah Njonjo.
    2. He received a degree in law from the Fort Hare University in South Africa. After Kenyan independence in 1963, Njonjo was appointed Attorney General.
    3. Charles Njonjo, the former Attorney General never intended to marry an African girl, let alone a woman from Kabete where he was born in 1920. Njonjo, a member of the Kenya Bachelor’s Club, later married Margaret Bryson in 1972 at the age of 52.
    4. His greatest political loss was the death of President Jomo Kenyatta.
    5. He was as a Member of Parliament of Kikuyu Constituency and was subsequently appointed as the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
    6. He has little faith in the current Kenyan constitution.
    7. He married late because he couldn’t find a girl he could live with.
    8. He is one of the wealthiest men in Kenya.
    9. He owns about 20 suits, all tailored in Britain.
    10. Sir Charles Njonjo, now at 95, who stopped reading, doesn’t watch TV, and not interested in Facebook swims dily