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Pinto, Pio Gama (1927–1965)

Zahid Rajan


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Pio Gama Pinto was independent Kenya's first martyr. Journalist, freedom fighter, and political activist, he was a socialist who dedicated his life to liberation and justice for the Kenyan people. He was assassinated on February 24, 1965. Born in 1927 in Nairobi, Kenya, Pinto completed his education in India where he took an active interest in sports and joined the fight for freedom in Goa against the Portuguese. On his return to Kenya, he joined the East African Indian Congress, the Kenya African Union, and the trade union movement. He became actively involved in the Land and Freedom Army, better known as the “Mau Mau,” which engaged in armed struggle against the colonialists. He supplied the freedom fighters with weapons, funds, and information and cared for the families of those killed or arrested by the British colonial forces. He helped to set up a Mau Mau War Council in Nairobi and played a key role in sending out information to, and sourcing support from, foreign countries, especially India. Because of his activities, Pinto was detained from 1954 to 1959, just five months after he got married. During this time his father, who had served the colonial government loyally, passed away. Pinto was not allowed to visit his father on his deathbed nor attend the funeral. Upon his release he worked ceaselessly for the Kenya African National Union and its electoral victory in 1961. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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