US-based activist and lawyer Professor Makau Mutua has advocated for the renaming of Kenya to drop its colonial-given name.
In an opinion article published in a local publication on Sunday, June 20, the activist claimed that by continually using the name, Kenyans are still living under the British colony indirectly.
He added that besides the country’s name, individuals’ first names disguised as Christian names are mostly used to promote the European agenda in Africa.
The distinguished lawyer said that there is an indirect power when someone is given the power to name another person-implying that the Europeans continue to hold some power over Kenyans by virtue of having named their country.
“We name our children because they are for us, and at some level” belong” to us, although we don’t really own them. But they are under our charge until they become adults. That’s why naming is an act of authority and power. Whoever names another has power and authority over that which is named,” he argued.
The scholar further noted that the country’s name was first given by a German missionary known as Johann Ludwig Krapf.
Documented history indicates that during his tour in the country in the 19th century, the missionary first recorded the name as Kenia when he asked the Akamba community to name Mt. Kenya, and they told him it was ‘Ki-Nyaa’ or ‘Kiima-Kinyaa’.
Kenya was initially known as the British East Africa Protectorate or British East Africa, and it was officially named Kenya in 1920.
Krapf was travelling in the company of Kamba caravan, which was led by the legendary long-distance trader Chief Kisoi.
The Agikuyu, who live on the slopes of Mt. Kenya, call it Kirima Kirinyaga in Kikuyu, with the Embu calling it Kirenyaa, and all the three names have the same meaning.
According to Professor Makau, the least we can do is call Kenya the “Republic of Kinyaa.”