Argwings Kodhek during tenure as Foreign Minister

Chiedo More Gem Argwings Kodhek (1923-1969) popularly known as CMG Argwings Kodhek was the Kenya’s first African lawyer.

Educated in Britain,  he is remembered for providing legal defense to freedom fighters during Kenya’s fight for independence; mostly for free and in the harsh conditions of remote detention camps upon his return from Britain in 1952. Since most of his clients were mainly those accused of Mau Mau-related activities, he became a sworn enemy of the colonial settlers who branded him the ‘Mau Mau’ lawyer.

He was a frequent victim of mistreatment and humiliation by the colonial authorities for taking on cases on behalf of the freedom fighters. Part of this humiliation included illegal arrest and unreasonable demands by authorities for his ‘papers’ despite them knowing him well.[1] He was eventually disbarred in 1957 [2]

However, probably the biggest affront to the colonial settlers was his marriage to an Irish woman named Marvis Tate who he brought back with him from Britain.

After independence, he went on to become an assistant minister, then Minister for Natural Resources (1966) and Minister for Foreign Affairs (1968).

Sadly his life was cut short in 1969 in what has been described a mysterious road accident along this road now named after him. Wikipedia – French.



Read More about Argwings Kodhek
  1. Histories of the Hanged: The Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire. 2011. by David Anderson. Google Books Preview.
  2. Dictionary of African Biography 1st Edition by Emmanuel K. Akyeampong (Editor), Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Editor). Google Books Preview.
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