PIO GAMA PINTO
IN EAST AFRICA
P.O. Box 355
PIO GAMA PINTO
In 1949 he returned to Kenya and after a succession of clerical jobs became involved in the local. politics aimed at overthrowing colonialism. He turned to journalism and worked with the Colonial Times and the Daily Chronicle. In 1954, 5 months after his marriage, he was rounded up in the notorious Operation Anvil and spent the next four years in detention on Manda Island with the so called “hard-core” Mau Mau. He was kept in restriction from early 1958 until October 1959 at remote Kabarnet. On his release he once more immersed himself in the struggle for Kenya’s Independence and the Release of Jomo Kenyatta. In 1960 he founded the KANU newspaper “Sauti Ya KANU” and later Pan African Press of which he subsequently became Director and Secretary.
He worked ceaselessly in the 1961 Elections to make KANU victorious.
In 1963 Mr. Pinto was elected as Member of the Central Legislative Assembly and in July of the following year a Specially Elected Member of the House of Representatives.
In 1964 he worked late hours to establish the Lumumba Institute which was principally to train Party Officials, He was a member of the Board of Governors and took keen interest in its functions.
He kept in close touch with African liberation movements, and assisted whenever he could. He was a delegate to a meeting in Delhi of nationalists from all Portuguese Colonies to plan the liberation of these colonies. A year later he was once again invited to Delhi for the celebration to mark the liberation of Goa. In 1963 he attended a conference of progressive and militant journalists in Algeria called by the International Organisation of Journalists. In September 1965, Mrs. Emma Gama Pinto was invited to Santiago, Chile, to receive a posthumous prize awarded to her husband by the International Organisation of Journalists for his contribution in journalism to the liberation of African countries from foreign domination and exploitation.
At the time of his assassination, his eldest daughter Linda was just 6 years of age, the second, Malusha was 4½ years and the youngest, Tereshka, only 1½ years of age.
Pio, was a solid Kenyan patriot. His assassination leaves a gap in our struggle for complete freedom that few men – none that I know – can fill.
I first met Pio in 1952 when we were at the height of our struggle. He was then working with the E.A. Indian National Congress and in his own fashion trying to break the pattern of their narrow, perspective in order for that community to participate in our bitter struggle to throw off colonial domination. Anyone who met Pio soon forgot his pigmentation because his words and deeds left no doubt that he was a Kenyan nationalist. He had immense organisation powers and ceaselessly went around bridging all gaps in our defences as our own people were pulled away into detention camps or prison cells. He petitioned his solicitor friends to take up political cases when no money was forthcoming.
Pio threw himself into helping KANU win the 1961 elections, into founding our independent press, into the campaign for Federation, into the struggle against imperialism, and the liberation of Portugal’s colonies. He assisted refugees from South Africa, Mozambique and Angola to find their way to other countries where they could organise resistance movements.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, the Vice-President at the funeral. Mrs. Emma Pinto is on his left
Lumumba had been murdered in the course of his heroic activities; so was Pio. Who were his enemies if he were such a genuine patriot? It could only be the forces that knowingly or unwittingly are helping imperialism keep a grip on Kenya, those who have sacrificed the national advance to parochial or personal interests.