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Pio Gama Pinto’s widow Emma dies in Ottawa, Canada


  • Emma refused to allow bitterness over husband’s killing snuff life out of her
  • The couple had three daughters Linda, Malusha and Tereshka
  • They were married on January 9, 1954 and lived at House No.6, Lower Kabete Road, Nairobi


Emma Gama Pinto, the widow of slain Kenyan nationalist Pio Gama Pinto has died at her adopted home in Canada. She was 92.

Emma fled Kenya following her husband’s assassination on February 24, 1965. An avowed communist with a promising career trajectory, Gama Pinto was only 38 when he was shot dead outside his gate –house No.6, Lower Kabete Road, Nairobi.

The couple had three daughters, Linda, Malusha and Tereshka.

Emma and Pio Gama Pinto
Emma and Pio Gama Pinto. They tied the knot only three months after Emma’s arrival from India. PHOTO/FILE

Slew of Theories

The killing triggered a slew of theories as to who actually wanted him dead. While some read a political hand in it, others blamed his links to the Mozambican liberation movement. Gama Pinto was branded as “Kenya’s first post-independence martyr.”

Two teenagers Kisilu Mutua and Chege Thuo were arrested by police as suspects in the murder. While Chege was acquitted, Mutua was found guilty and sentenced to death. The conviction was however commuted to life in prison. Mutua was released after 35 years through a presidential pardon.

Born in Margao, India, Emma arrived in Kenya in September, 1953. He married Gama Pinto three months later. “During the first four years of my life with Pio, I read a lot to try and understand why he was in politics for a country that was not his,” Emma told a local magazine in a past interview.

Gama Pinto Emma
Emma and Fitz de Souza, former Deputy Speaker, Kenya’s Parliament. PHOTO/COURTESY

Take A Course Dear

She had fond memories of the legendary Gama Pinto: “He (Pio) was hardly ever there. Within the first six months (of our marriage), he told me ‘you can’t stay at home.  Intelligent women don’t stay home. Take a secretarial course and find a job.’”

Emma said that though she felt disappointed upon her husband’s assassination, she decided not to be bitter about it. “Bitterness is like a fire in the corner of a house which will eventually consume the whole house. I was cognisant of the fact that I should never be bitter of the whole situation. It was a fact of life.”


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