James Kanyotu

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James Kanyotu(1936-2008) was Kenya's longest serving spy chief. He headed the Directorate of Security Intelligence (‘Special Branch’), for 27 years, from 1965 until his retirement in 1991. Born in 1936 in Kirinyaga District , Kanyotu attended Alliance High School (Kenya) and Makerere University where he got a diploma in teaching. Kanyotu joined the police force in 1960. In 1965, he became the deputy head of intelligence and took over from Bernard Hinga who was Kenya’s first spy chief - and remained so until 1991.[1][2]

He was implicated as one of the masterminds of the Goldenberg scandal as he was a director at Goldenberg international.[3][4] He left office as one of the wealthiest businessmen in the country. His family has been locked in a battle for his estate since.[5][6]


  1. ^ "How Mossad threw Kenya into the line of terrorist fire". Daily Nation. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
  2. ^ Editor. "James Kanyotu: The most elusive dreaded spy chief who warned Moi of 1982 coup plot". Standard Digital News. Retrieved 2020-02-18.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Maiko, Deremo. "Heads to roll over Goldenberg scandal". News From Africa. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
  4. ^ "I was haunted by Goldenberg scandal: Mudavadi". People Daily. 2019-12-04. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
  5. ^ "No end in sight to resolving Kanyotu estate dispute". Daily Nation. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
  6. ^ Friday; December 20; 2019 10:00. "Ex-spy chief family wants Sh10bn homes demolished". Business Daily. Retrieved 2020-02-18.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
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