William 'X'. The missing link in the Mboya, Kennedy, Obama story.

William X. Scheinman

It all started with this man. William X Scheinman who in late fifties met Tom Mboya who was on a speaking tour of the USA.

While in the US Mboya had approached the then Presidential Candidate Richard Nixon to consider sponsoring students from Kenya for education in the US. Nixon turned down the request.

Scheinman then introduced Mboya to John Kennedy who ran the Kennedy foundation. At a later meeting Kennedy agreed to give usd 100,000 to support  the ‘airlift’ programme.

The first airlift had already taken place in 1959 with the help of Dr. King, the African American Students Foundation and its sponsors, Harry Belafonte, Jackie Robinson, and Sidney Poitier, Mboya raised sufficient funds to cover the students’ travel expenses. Barak Obama Snr, father to current US President barak Obama was one of the beneficiaries (He sought Mboya’s help to travel to Honolulu as he had applied separately for admission to University of Hawaii where when he was admitted in 1959 at the institutions first African student and from time to time received financial support) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/29/AR2008032902031.html

John F Kennedy who had befriended Mboya was then assassinated in 1963, the same year that Kenya became independent.

Mboya also became friendly with civil rights leader martin Luther King and Kennedys younger brother Senator Robert Kennedy who visited Kenya in 1966.

In 1959 Mboya and MLK held a joint rally in Washington DC where Mboya talked of Kenya’s independence battle.


King was assassinated April 4th 1968.

Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated later the same year on June 6th 1968

Meanwhile Obama junior was growing up in the US.

Mboya himself was then assassinated on July 5 1969,

All three friends were killed within a 15 months of each other!

After Mboyas death, Bill Scheinman, did not visit Kenya again until 1980.

On Sunday 16 October 2011, US President Barack Obama unveiled a monument to Martin Luther King at the same Park where Mboya and King had addressed the crowd on Civil liberties in 1959.

On Wednesday 19 October 2011, Kenyas’ President Kibaki unveiled a monument to Tom Mboya.

President Kibaki was Mboyas’ assistant minister when Mboya was killed in 1969.

To wrap it up. In Scheinman’s Will he told his son that he would only rest in peace once he was buried beside his old friend Mboya on Rusinga Island.  His son Billy duly complied and after a cremation in the USA Billy brought his ashes to Rusinga Island. After consultation with the Wayugu clan (Ndiege, Mboyas family), Scheinman was interred in the same mausoleum where Mboya is buried.



Mboyas grave.


The late Bill Scheinmans’ grave next to Mboya.


2012: Barak Obama Jnr is President of the USA, while Uhuru Kenyatta son to the 1st President of Kenya is Kenya’s President.

Bill Scheinman counselling a student

Bill Scheinman counselling a student



Lucas Mboya