His leadership qualities were apparent at an early age
and it was no surprise that he decided not join the lucrative family
business but to study law at the Lincoln’s Inn in England.
These were the post-war years of ‘Humanism And
Reform’ of the old archaic Colonial order.
He wholeheartedly joined the movement against
injustice and racial discrimination and supported Kenya’s movement
While in London he came into contact with many
future leaders of the Commonwealth, including Sir Sereste Khama of
Botawana and Charles Njonjo, former Attorney-General of Kenya.
He passed his exams with distinction and became a
barrister in 1954.
Returning to Kenya he established a flourishing legal
practice and was always respected for honest and practical legal
advice, his mastery of the art of conveyancing - and his performance
in the Courts.
He threw himself fully into the independence movement
He joined other Indian leaders such as Pio Gama
Pinto, K.P. Shah. K.D. Travadi, Chanan Singh and myself to form the
’31 Group’ and the Kenya Freedom Party (the ‘KFP’).
The members of the ‘31 Group’ and the KFP
believed in the ideal of a secular, non-racial and democratic Kenya
and were willing to pursue this ideal sometimes at great personal
sacrifice (indeed, even death) to themselves and their families.
The ‘31 Group’ and the KFP opposed the ‘Indian
Congress’ and ‘Muslim League’, who just before the Lancaster
House Conference had taken a pro-British stance.
The KFP fought for a non-racial constitution with a
common roll and the policy of ‘One Man, One Vote’.
Along with others he opposed colour bar and, at the
risk of incurring the wrath of the Colonial authorities, publicly
provoked confrontation at some of the clubs and other institutions
which operated colour bar, in order to raise awareness and to
frustrate the Colonial authorities.
For example, he was unceremoniously ejected from the
grounds of The Mombasa Club and subsequently refused, on a point of
principle, to become a member until the early 1970’s.
In the context of contemporary Kenyan politics, with
its many financial scandals, its dangerous and ill-informed racial
generations and the all pervasive and self-starving ‘get-rich-quick’
attitude it is a salutary reminder that in those heady-days of the
1950’s and 1960’s there were Asians who actively believed in the
new Kenya, for which the 31 Group and to. KFP fought and whose
principles were enshrined in the independence constitution of Kenya.
He was elected, nominally as an independent but with
the full support of KANU, to the Kenya Parliament from the
constituency of Mombasa Tudor and Old Town in the election of 196l,
defeating a candidate supported by KADU.
He was respected by KANU leaders such as Tom Mboya who
actively campaigned on his behalf and spoke at public meetings in
support of KANU and Saif Anjarwalla.
He played his full part at the Lancaster House
Conference in 1962 and his views were sought and highly regarded by
Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Tom Mboya and others within KANU as well as KADU and
the British Government.
Mzee Kenyatta appointed him as Assistant Minister of
Social Services in the Coalition Government.
He occupied this post with great distinction and
during his ministerial tenure was responsible, for placing on the
statute-book important social legislation.
Saif, was not, however, at home with the cut-throat
methods creeping in Kenya’s politics.
He retired from active politics after the next General
Elections (after losing his seat to the KADU candidate) and, despite
the exhortations of his friend within and outside politics, resisted
the temptation to re-enter the political fray.
Instead he continued with his legal practice.
His friends regularly consulted him and sought his
advice on the Country’s problems.
Foremost among them were Joseph Murumbi, former Vice
President, T.M. Chokwe, KANU Chief of the Coast Province, Msanifu
Kombo, Mayor of Mombasa, Ronald Ngala, President of KADU, former
KANU Secretary General Robert Matano and dozens of others.
His contribution to the struggle for freedom and the
establishment of democracy was important one and an outstanding
example of selfless public service.
He was a senior member of the Kenyan legal fraternity
and upheld the highest standards of professional ethics and good
practice at a time when the standing of the legal profession was not
always at its highest.
As an example of the esteem in which he was held and
the trust his fellow lawyers placed in him, he was appointed
Attorney-in-Dissolution of Bryson Inamdar and Bowyer, one of the
oldest and most established law firms in Kenya.
He was always happy to assist the legal fraternity,
in particular, by providing pupilages and by guiding all those,
particularly junior advocates, who sought his advice.
A not insubstantial amount of his work was done on a
‘pro bono’ basis.
In particular, he was legal adviser to the National
Union of Kenya Muslims, who honoured him with the title of ‘Sheikh’.
Despite his departure from active politics, Saif
continued to constructively criticise government, the judiciary and
other authorities when he felt that they had not operated with the
highest standards of probity.
An example of this was his co-operation with the
police authorities in the arrest and subsequent successful prosecution
for attempted blackmail of a judicial figure despite vehement
criticism of various fraternities.
He was often disillusioned with the machinations of
Kenya politics and the effect this had on the nation’s progress and
supported the move to multi-party politics.
He always remained loyal to Kenya.
Few things angered him more than the snide and callous
denigration of Kenya, especially by those who owed their prosperity
and loyalty to her.
He also made a substantial contribution to the
alleviation of poverty and the promotion of education in the
country, both in his personal capacity and in his role as a member
or chairman of various charitable trusts such as the Sir Yusufali
Charitable Trust, the Madressa al Mohamadeya Education Society, the
Bohra Dispensary League and his own family trust, the T.G.K.
Anjarwalla Charitable Trust.
With his dear wife Hayati, he established with the
support of generous local donors, the Mkomani Clinics, in themselves
striking examples of sound management and control in the provision of
medical and family planning service.
The clinics attracted the support of many foreign
donor agencies who regarded the clinics as showcases for the provision
of community health facilities in Africa.
Until his death, he remained on the Board of the
Mkomani Clinic Society and provided free legal advice to the clinics.
Saif was a gentle, affectionate and loving man.
He was always honest and sincere in his dealings
with his friends and opponents alike and was loved and respected by
all who met him.
He had a lovely sense of humour and smiled even in
the face of adversity.
He seldom lost his temper even when he had every
right to do so.
Saif assisted his fellow men in his quiet, unassuming
way, often at great personal sacrifice and fought for his beliefs and
principles even if it brought hardship upon himself and his family.
He was a devout and religious man but not a religious
He respected persons of every race and religion.
Saif was a family man and he had the most united,
loving and affectionate family that I have ever known.
The world is a sadder and more sorrowful place
We will miss him so deeply.
A public condolence meeting was held at the Diamond
Jubilee Hall in Mombasa addressed by, among others, the Right
Honourable Mwai Kibaki MP, Franklin Pereira, Mohamed Jahazi, Amin
Merali and Mrs. Maggie Gona.
F.R.S. - Mombasa.