History of First World War in Taita Taveta

It was in Taveta in the early morning of the 15th August 1914, that the first shots ignited the land action of East African Campaign.  At about 3am a German lead company of 200 Schutztruppe, advanced on the lightly held British frontier border post, two and half miles from Taveta village.

The Corporal in charge, Murimi Mwiti, bravely stood his ground and was fatally shot giving him the dubious honors of firing the first shot and the first British casualty killed in action.

As the Schutztruppe continued their advance into the Taveta the Government Agent or District Commissioner, Mr. Hugh La Fontaine, levelled his rifle towards the leading German officer, Herr F. Broecker, fatally wounding him. Broecker died the following day, thus becoming the first German casualty of the war. The remaining Police Force fired several volleys before they were ordered to retired towards Voi.

Subsequently Taveta and 20 miles into British East Africa, which including Salaita and as far as Mount Kasigau, and a substantial part of the South Coast was occupied by German forces for the first 20 months of this Guerrilla campaign.

It is apparent that since these opening shots, Taveta has very much relied on the infrastructure of its neighbor Tanzania to prosper. It has been virtually cut off from the rest of Kenya, following the abandonment of the 1915 built Military Railway; the Murka Kyanite Mine and the continuous deterioration of the A3 road linking Tanzania Tateta and Voi.