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The life and assassination and freedom fighter and patriot is commemorated in Westlands, Nairobi

Pio Gama Pinto was born in Nairobi on 31st March 1927. He was sent to India for his secondary school studies. After that he studied journalism. On his return home to Kenya in 1949 he immediately joined the anti-colonial struggle for the freedom of Kenya from British rule.

Working as a journalist, trade unionist and political worker, by 1952 he was the Editor of the Daily Chronicle, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Kenya Indian Congress, and a founder member of the Kenya African Study Union, a think-tank for the Kenya African Union (K.A.U.). Pio worked with K.A.U., and also very closely with the Mau Mau Central Committee, particularly with Bildad Kaggia and Senior Chief Koinange.

Upon the declaration of the Emergency on 20th October 1952, numerous leaders including Bildad Kaggia, Jomo Kenyatta, and other KAU national officials were arrested. Pinto intensified his work for the Mau Mau, until he too was arrested in Operation Anvil on 19th June 1954.

Pinto was sent to detention at Takwa Camp on Manda Island, Lamu, a maximum security camp for hardcore Mau Mau, and where he spent three and a half years in detention. He was then moved in February 1958 to restriction at Kabarnet, where he was later joined by the ailing Senior Chief Koinange.

Pinto was finally released in December 1959. He returned to immerse himself in the final push for Uhuru, the electoral triumph of KANU (May 1963), and in ensuring that the Government provided for the welfare of the returned freedom fighters, ex-detainees, and the families of those who had died in the struggle.

In 1963 Pinto was elected a Member of the East African Community Central Legislative Assembly, and in July 1964, he was elected a Member of Parliament.

On 24th February 1965, the Hon. Pio Gama Pinto M.P. was assassinated, the first of the political assassinations that have troubled this country.

A road in Westlands has been named after Pio Gama Pinto, by an application by the Asian African Heritage Trust, with the support of Councillor Jaffer Kassam.

The new Pio Gama Pinto Road runs alongside the Sarit Centre in Westlands. It is next to the site of the house where he lived and was assassinated, which was since demolished, and is now part of Sarit Centre\'s car park.

His grave is in the City Park Cemetery, and can be accessed via City Park Road, opposite Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi.

Pheroze Nowrojee

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