“Freemasons at one time dared to recruit the late President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta into freemasonry but it backfired and almost abolished the same were it not for the late Njonjo who saved them and termed them “harmless”. Many after that assumed Njonjo was a freemason but upon his death, it was proved wrong as freemasons are buried but not cremated”
Exactly 22 years ago last month, outlawed Mungiki sect members made their way to Nyerere road in Nairobi carrying jerry cans of fuel, ready to torch the Freemason Hall.
They were dispersed by the police and their mission to kill “a snake that was kidnapping their children”, according to then leaded Nduru Waruinge, was thwarted.
Kenya has Masonic Halls in Mombasa, Nairobi, Naivasha, Kisumu, Nyeri, and Kiambu with the mystery surrounding the organisation being the key factor that many keep off the buildings.
On Sunday, NTV’s Duncan Khaemba seeks to take us inside the world of freemasonry in Kenya with an interview with one of its foremost members, Ambrose Rachier, as he lifts the lid on the enigmatic world of freemasonry and its place in Kenya’s public life.
Freemasonry remains a secret order, built on the power of mystery, and with a roster of powerful members. Its history in the country outlives independent Kenya with a rich place in the country’s architectural history.
For many years, the Church in Kenya has associated freemasonry with devil worship with chilling stories of how people have disappeared just by walking outside the freemason temples in Kenya.
So mysterious has the organisation been seen to be that the Church instigated the formation of the Devil Worship Commission in 1994 to investigate its activities.
Kenya’s Freemasonry is part of the District Grand Lodge of East Africa which also comprises Uganda, Tanzania, and Seychelles, and traces its origin in Zanzibar in 1904.
The first District Grand Lodge of East Africa Freemasons’ Conference was held on June 30 and July l 1989 at the International Conference Centre, Arusha, Tanzania and was sponsored by the Mwanza Lodge No 7485.
The group has held 13 conferences since then with the latest having been held at Trademark Hotel, Village Market in Nairobi on September 28, 2018.
In the recent year, freemasonry activities have however not been such a mystery with the organisation using the Internet to publicise its activities, albeit after they are done.
“The Principles of Freemasonry can be discussed quite freely and openly – there is no secret about them. The so–called Masonic secrets relate only to the means of recognition between Freemasons,” District Grand Lodge of East Africa says on its website.
On February 5 this year, Donyo Sabuk Lodge, No. 4070 of the District Grand Lodge of East Africa, celebrated their centenary with a splash-out event at the Freemason’s Hall Ruiru in Kiambu County.
One of the oldest lodges in East Africa, Donyo Sabuk was warranted on January 14 and consecrated on March 19, 1921, with the first lodge meeting being attended by 6 men.
Rachier says that the organisation, which one joins by invitation by members, draws its membership from who is who in Kenya and has its own practices and secrets.
“Masonry is not based on any particular religion… we have Muslims in freemasonry… we have Christians… we have Buddhists. We do not invoke the name of Jesus Christ in our meetings,” Rachier says.