The immortals: The Mohameds and the general who altered history in '82

General Mohamoud, Hussein Maalim and Duale [Photo: Courtesy]

 Two things largely determine how your life turns out, according to Malcolm Gladwell in his illuminating effort of 2011, The Outliers. Those determining factors are the year and region of your birth!

With these two parameters, we can then postulate that some of the most unfortunate Kenyans were those born in 1962.

They were only 20 during the abortive coup against the government of retired President Daniel arap Moi that August morning of 1982- the year rugby sensation Humphrey Kayange was born.

That abortive coup ushered in 20 years of social, political and economic darkness and with it, missed opportunities that are the bane of a single party state. By the time Kenya became a multi-party state, the cohort of ‘62 were in their 40s.

But one man altered history that August morning in 1982: General (rtd) Mahmoud Mohamed.

General Mahmoud Mohamed: His place in Kenya’s history was cemented when he  suppressed the 1982 coup when all his seniors were at their wits end.

Mahmoud Mohamed joined the colonial army in 1953 and rose to commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, Kenya Rifles (1KR), an infantry battalion formed a year after independence in February 1964.

It was with the best crack shots in the 1st Battalion, Kenya Rifles that General Mohamed used when he led Major Wanambisi, Major Kithinji, Major Kiritu, Major Cheboi and Major Humphrey Njoroge to the KBC (then VoK) headquarters where the rebelling soldiers operated from, and restored order.

For his bravery, the deputy in the army was elevated to Chief of General Staff of the Kenya Defence Forces in 1986. For someone who hardly saw the inside of a primary school, but rose from a private, the lowest rank in the military food chain and without any special skills to the apex, his achievement was one reason his blood relations still coo in eternal ululation.

Hussein Maalim Mohamed: The former MP for Dujis is a younger brother of General Mohamed and was a shopkeeper and councillor in Garissa County Council when retired Mzee Moi made him Minister of State in the Office of the President in 1983, becoming Kenya’s first Somali in the Cabinet!

He led the ministries of Medical Services, Rural Development,Women and Youth Affairs, Research, Technical Training and Technology, Culture and Social Services.

Aden Duale: The MP for Garissa Township and Leader of Majority in Parliament is the son in-law to General Mohamed who paid four cows for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

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