History and government notes.
History and government notes.


Topic 1


For a long time, the Greeks, Romans, Portuguese, British, French and other Dutch came to the East African coast to trade. This led to the development of trade routes, trading centres which expanded up the African continent for exploration by David Livingstone, John Speke, Johann Rebmann, Morton Stanley and Mungo Park, and missionary work as a result of the age of religious revival in Europe from the 16th to 19th century. Missionary societies and groups that came included the London Missionary society, Universal Missions to Central Africa, the United Methodist Mission, White Fathers and the Holy Ghost Fathers.

The scramble for and partition of Africa

Between 1884 and 1914, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and Portugal continent threatened to destroy African political structures by invading and colonizing the continent.

Because of competition and scramble for Africa, Otto Von Bismark convened the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, where they divided Africa amongst themselves.

It is  Liberia and Ethiopia that were not shared by 1914.

Scramble for Africa refers to a sudden struggle and confused rush of European powers to possess and control colonies in Africa.

 Partition of Africa refers to sharing or dividing of regions of Africa among European countries during the Berlin conference.


Methods Used by Europeans to acquire colonies in Africa

  1. Signing treaties

Europeans signed treaties with local leaders and also among themselves. The treaties between Europeans and Africans include the ones between

  1. The Maasai and the British in 1904
  2. Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda and the British in 1900
  3. By 1884, George Goldie of the Royal Niger Company signed 37 treaties with African leaders bringing the Niger Delter, Yorubaland and Gambia under British control.
  4. A treaty between the British and King Lewanika of the Lozi put Zambia under British.
  5. Harry Johnstone signed treaties in the Kilimanjaro and Witu areas which facilitated British trade.
  6. Karl Peters signed treaties with the chiefs of Uzigiti, Ukami, Usogara and Ungulu placing them under Germany protection.
  7. The 1891 Anglo-Italian agreement whereby Italy took over Eritrea and the Somali coast.

These treaties favoured the Europeans as they were in their own language. At times Africans were forced to sign the treaties e.g. Karl Peters is reported to have used a gun to compel Mwanga to sign a treaty in 1890.


Military Conquest

Those communities that resisted the Europeans were conquered militarily e.g. the Asante, Ndebele and Mandinka. The British used force to suppress resistance of the Malawi, Shona and Ndebele.

The Portuguese too used force to establish their rule in Angola, Guinea Bissau and Mozambique.


  1. Diplomacy and Force

They would use combination of both treaties and force e.g. the British signed treaties with the Ndebele but fought them again during the Ndebele war of 1897 and the Chimurenga War of 1886 to 1897.


  1. Treachery

This refers to the divide and rule method. Explorers, missionaries and traders were used to lure the Africans with gifts, and then would conquer them.

The Italians signed a treaty of friendship with Menelik II but published an Italian version saying that Menelik had agreed that Ethiopia should become an Italian protectorate.


  1. Company rule

The British and Germans used chartered companies to rule their colonies i.e. they were used to govern colonies on behalf of the mother country e.g. Imperial British East Africa (IBEAC) ruled East Africa on behalf of Britain while Germany East Africa Company (GEAC) ruled Tanganyika under Karl Peters on behalf of the Germans.

Royal Niger Company of George Goldie and British South African Company (BSAC) under Cecil Rhodes ruled South Africa.

Company rule was used by the colonial powers because

  1. They lacked adequate manpower and funds
  2. The companies were already working in these areas making them suitable to utilize.

Company rule was short-lived in that they were faced with many problems

  1. Inadequate funds
  2. Poor transport
  3. Inadequate personnel
  4. Resistance from the locals


Factors that led to the scramble for colonies in Africa

Economic reasons

After being kicked out of America in 1776, Britain lost her markets and cheap sources of raw materials. She then turned her attention to Africa as an alternative market for her goods

European countries needed cheap raw material such as palm oil, cotton, copper, gold, bronze, diamond and Iron ore for industries in Britain, Belgium, France, and Germany. Explorers had reported that Africa was rich in minerals, fertile soils etc.

Europe also needed cheap labour in the production of the raw material. They believed labour was readily available with the abolition of the slave trade in Africa.

The European traders needed fresh areas to invest excess capital; hence they believed that investment in Africa was more profitable than in Europe.


Political reasons

  1. The unification of Germany. By 1879 Britain and France were the most powerful nations in Europe.

After the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 – 1871 where France lost her mineral rich province of Alsace and Lorraine, the Germans emerged as the most powerful nation than France under the rule of Otto Von Bismarck.

Embarrassed by the defeat, France had to fight for her lost glory. To compensate for the loss, she turned her attention to Africa acquiring colonies in West Africa.

  1. In the 19th century nationalism made nations feel that they should conquer colonies overseas for national prestige. The citizens urged their governments to join the colonial race. Germany and Italy could only show how powerful they were by acquiring colonies.
  2. Militarism. In the 19th century there were few wars in Europe. This meant fewer opportunities for promotion for European officers in the army. This made many officials favour colonial expansion overseas to give them jobs. In Europe too, the press depicted the generals in the colonial wars as heroes making them popular among the reading public, e.g. General Kitchener became Lord Kitchener.
  3. Public opinion. The majority of the citizens in Europe favoured the acquisition of colonies. Governments were pressurized to take action in order to please the public.

The press also influenced the public opinion. Newspapers e.g. the Daily Mail of England, Kolonial Zeitang of Germany, Journal des Debats of France etc favoured the acquisition of colonies.

  1. The highly decentralized African communities influenced rush for colonies


Strategic considerations

  1. The Egyptian question

This referred to the ownership of the Suez Canal in Egypt. France had links with Egypt as early as 1798 when Napoleon Bonaparte captured it from the Mamluks from Turkey with the aim of exploiting her wealth and to use it as a base to invade Britain. This made them construct the Suez Canal.

The canal was opened in 1869 after being constructed at a cost of 4 million by the British and the France.

The Suez Canal was a shorter route to British investments in India and the Far East colonies. It provided a source of revenue for Egypt. Khedive Ishmael got foreign loans from Britain to develop his country. However, he was extravagant e.g. he spent 1 million shillings on entertainment when opening the Suez Canal., making Egypt bankrupt. He then sold Egypt’s shares in the Canal to Britain, which then became the largest shareholder in the Anglo-Suez company.

To enable Khedive pay his debts, Britain and France set up a commission to regulate the finances of Egypt. This brought conflict between the King and his two commissioners whom he dismissed. In response, the European powers dethroned Khedive in 1879 using the Sultan of Turkey. His son Tawfiq was installed.

The European conquest of Egypt led to a rebellion led by Colonel Ahmed Urabi Pasha. This was crushed by the British forces at the battle of Tel el Kabir as France was busy in Tunisia.

In 1882 the British fully occupied Egypt to the dismay of the French, who in turn planned to occupy the territories south of Egypt so as to divert the waters of the Nile and make Egypt a desert.

The move worried the British since they all depended on the Nile for water. As a result in 1894, she claimed Uganda and Kenya as it was believed to be the source of Nile and a gateway Sudan. French occupied most of West African states in retaliation.

  1. French activities in the Congo

The French loss of Egypt made her intensify her activities in West Africa and the Congo. By 1882 she occupied Porto Novo.  In response, Germany claimed Togo, Cameroon, Angola and Tanganyika.

By 1880 the French accepted the treaties signed with the Congolese chief Makoko under Savorgnan de Brazzar.


  1. Activities of King Leopold of Belgium

He was the ruler of Belgium, who wanted to establish a personal empire after realizing that powerful nations such as Britain got their wealth and prestige from their colonial territories.

In 1876, he called a meeting in Brussels which came to be known as the Brussels Geographical conference. Its members were from all over Europe. Its aims were

  1. Abolishing slave trade
  2. Supporting free trade
  3. Opening up new stations from Zanzibar to the Atlantic which were centres of civilization.

He then sent individuals like Henry Morton Stanley in Congo to explore. He later created the Congo Free State which became Leopold’s personal empire.

This move didn’t please the Portuguese who had already established colonies in the Congo. The result was Portugal, Belgium and France made claims for colonies in the region. These conflicts threatened to spark off wars among European nations in Africa. To avoid this, an international conference was convened at Berlin by Otto Von Bismarck.


Social Reasons

  1. Missionaries demand for protection. The Missionaries came to Africa with the aim of
  2. Spreading Christianity
  3. Introducing Western education
  • Abolishing slave trade
  1. Promoting legitimate trade

However they faced many problems from the locals e.g. resistance and they had to overcome this by asking their governments to protect them. This led to the colonial occupation of Lagos, Malawi and Uganda and hence the popular say that “the flag follows the cross”


  1. Role of influential individuals in Europe

Influential men also fanned imperialism e.g. British Writer W.T Stead encouraged the building o empires and overseas settlements.

Others included Karl Peters, Harry Johnstone, William Mackinon and David Livingstone.


  1. The rise of racism and paternalism

In the 19th century the Europeans boasted of their superiority over other races. They argued that being fit and the strongest, they should rule the earth. They felt they had cultivated a better culture and had a duty to civilize the blacks in the Dark Continent. This led to paternalism i.e. a policy where governments control people by providing them with what they need, but giving them no responsibility or freedom of choice.




  1. The growth of European population

In the 19th century European population grew from about 190 million to 240 million. They needed new outlets to resettle the extra population. Britain e.g. had settled her people in Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A, Canada and South Africa have Germans, Portuguese and Dutch resettled their surplus population in Africa.


  1. Humanitarian factor

In the 19th Century, groups emerged in Europe referring to themselves as humanitarians, who campaigned against the slave trade. Such sentiments spread very fast as people embraced the ideals of liberty, equality, brotherhood after the French revolution.

Humanitarians like William Wilberforce, Granville Sharp are remembered for their role in the abolition of slave trade. They set up free homes in Liberia, Sierra Leon and Frere Town in E.A.


  1. The pull factors in Africa

Vast resources such as minerals, ivory, game products, palm oil, copra, spices and kola nuts and good harbours enticed the foreigners.

In the interior the well developed trade and trade routes and centres and navigable rivers attracted the Europeans.

Decentralisation of the African communities and their frequent wars with their neighbours weakened them.

Devastation of African societies by diseases and natural calamities such as drought and famine made them easy to conquer.


The Process of Partition

Due to the Congo crisis i.e. desire for Britain, France and Portugal to occupy the Congo, the Europeans came up with a strategy to divide Africa among themselves peacefully.

Otto Von Bismarck convened a conference known as the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885.

The meeting was attended by parliamentarians from Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, U.S.A, Portugal and Italy.

Africans were not represented in the meeting, although this was their continent.

Objectives of the meeting

  1. Lay down rules for partition and therefore eliminate conflicts.
  2. Define any areas occupied by each nation to avoid interference.
  3. Sort out different European views on slave trade and its abolition

After much deliberation, king Leopold II of Belgium was given the Congo Free State, Germany, Togo, Cameroon and S.W Africa, Britain, the Niger.

It also abolished slave trade completely.


Terms of the Berlin Act

  1. Any state claiming any part of Africa must inform other interested parties to avoid conflicts
  2. All signatories must declare their sphere of influence i.e. an area under each nation’s occupation. This led to the drawing of boundaries.
  3. Once an area is declared a sphere of influence, then it should be followed with effective occupation
  4. Any power acquiring territory in Africa must stump out slave trade and safeguard African interest. They were also to protect missionaries, traders, scientists and explorers.
  5. River Congo and River Niger basins to be left free for any interested power to navigate.
  6. If a European power claims certain part of the African coast, then it also shall occupy the interior land.
  7. Any country that wishes to declare a protectorate in Africa has to show that its authority in the region is firm enough to protect existing European rights.
  8. The powers recognized Leopold’s claims over Congo Free State.


Impact of the Partition

  1. Europeans gained fame, prestige and recognition by having colonial possessions e.g. France became powerful after she had been defeated in Europe in 1870.
  2. It speeded up the economic growth of European countries i.e. they easily acquired raw materials, cheap labour and markets which led to the growth of their industries. This promoted their profits.
  3. It led to the drawing up of the present boundaries in Africa which led to conflicts.
  4. Led to the introduction of European administrative systems throughout the continent. The French applied assimilation, while the British applied the Direct and Indirect rule.
  5. Introduction of European languages such as French, English and Portuguese.
  6. Setting up of boundaries split the African communities e.g. the Somali are found in both Kenya and Somali. Maasai are found in Kenya and Tanzania.
  7. It led to the fall of some African kingdoms e.g. Asante, and Dahomey fell under British occupation
  8. Introduction of exploitative economic measures such as land alienation, forced labour and taxation. They introduced the monetary economy in Africa as they developed agriculture, transport, trade, communication and industry for the benefit of the colonial masters.
  9. Partition led to the erosion of African culture through missionary forms of education, medicine and language which they introduced.
  10. It led to the creation of new states based on colonial boundaries in Africa.
  11. Partition led to the maintenance of closer ties between African and European countries through trade, education and diplomatic relations. This created overdependence on Europe for financial and technical support.

It is the level of technology i.e. invention of steamship rail transport, discovery of quinine to cure malaria, military advancement i.e. manufacture of the sophisticated guns that speeded up the process of the scramble and partition of Africa.


African reaction to European Colonization

African communities reacted differently to European colonization. Their reaction to foreign invasion could be classified into

  1. Resistance i.e. active resistance where weapons were used to fight and passive where non-cooperative approach with the colonizers without violence e.g. the Mandinka under Samori Toure and the Ndebele actively resisted European colonization.
  2. Collaboration whereby communities like the Wanga, Baganda, Lozi, and the Maasai collaborated with the whites. They used diplomacy and also signed treaties or allied themselves with the invaders to acquire western education, gifts or other goods.

Some collaborated with the European for protection from their local enemies.


The Maji Maji rebellion 1905-1907

The Berlin conference gave Tanganyika to the Germans following the signing of the treaties by Karl Peters with the chiefs of Usagara,Ungulu, Uzigua and Ukami.

However by 1888 the coastal Arabs led by Abushiri had began rebelling against the Germans.

Other rebellions broke out among the Chagga, Nyamwezi, Hehe etc.

The most remarkable rebellion was the Maji maji rebellion in Southern Tanganyika.

The word Maji maji is a Swahili word for water. This water which was drawn from River Rufiji was mixed with millet and maize flour and sprinkled on the warriors to make then immune to German bullets.

The communities that took part in the rebellion included the Zaramo, Bunga, Ngoni, Luguru, Wamwera and Ndendeule.


Causes of the Rebellion

  1. Imposition of taxes on the Africans in order to raise revenue for the administration. Tax was paid in the form of money. This made Africans to work for Arabs to earn money to pay the tax.
  2. The GEA Company employed the Arab-Swahili as headmen, jumbes and chiefs (Akidas) to collect tax. They were brutal in their collection.
  3. The people of Tanzania were forced to work on roads, cotton fields and farms. Here they were whipped in the presence of their relatives and friends.
  4. Africans resented the harsh and inhuman rule of the Germans in which they were oppressed and treated like slaves. They were accused falsely and even tortured. Drinking traditional liquor was punishable with 25 strokes of the cane by the Germans.
  5. The Germans raped, fornicated and committed adultery with the Ngindo women. This was against their culture.
  6. The missionaries condemned their traditional beliefs and practices which made Africans feel offended by the disregard for their culture.
  7. The Germans alienation of the land that belonged to the Africans. This led to massive lose of land.
  8. Kinjekitile instilled confidence in the Africans by calling upon them to unite and rise up against the Germans since they would be immune to bullets.
  9. The Germans introduced a communal cotton growing scheme where Cotton was grown as a cash crop. The Africans were to work for 28 days a year in the cotton scheme for 35 cent a day. The policy annoyed the Africans who could not work on their farms. Moreso the money they got was used to pay the Germans as Tax.
  10. The Ngoni were seeking revenge for their killings during the initial conquest by the Germans. The bitterness led them to take part in the Maji Maji war.
  11. The Germans had convinced the Africans to grow cotton in some dry areas; hence they incurred heavy losses due to crop failure. They opposed growing of cotton because it was not an edible crop. This was the immediate cause of the war.


Course of the War

This was a mass movement of the S. Tanganyika aimed at resisting colonial exploitation and safeguarding their independence. The people were mobilized by the religion to resist the Germans.

The rebelling Africans were well prepared by their leaders, Kinjekitile Ngwale, Abdalla Mpanda and Ngamea.

In 1904, Kinjekitile Ngwale of Ngarambe, a priest established himself near River Rufiji and claimed possession by a spirit called Hongo. He urged Africans to unite and gave them magic water that gave them immunity to the German bullets.

Through his ideas, Kinjekitile mobilized the Zaramo, Matumbi, Ngindo, Ngoni, Luguru, Ndendeule, Pogoro, Mpunga and Bena to rebel against the Germans. He appealed to the Africans by telling them that their ancestors would be resurrected.

The Matumbi were then fist to react. Workers boycotted cotton picking in their region by July 1905. The Pogoro followed they uprooted cotton from an Akidas farm at Nandete and attacked government posts and officials.

Kinjeketile ideas widely spread through a whispering campaign called Njwiywia which was a secret campaign from one person to another that a medicineman who could weaken the powers of the white man had risen from Ngarambe. Soon the Yao, Ngoni, Bena and Mpunga followed.

The fighter used the guerilla tactics. In 1905, the town of Samanga was burnt down, Europeans farms offices and missions were attacked and a number of Arabs Swahili and Africans working for the Germans were killed.

By August 1905, the Germans had begun killing African leaders. In 1907 Governor Graf Von Gotzen got reinforcement from Germany.

The Germans adopted a scorched earth policy in which they destroyed all the property. The defeated Africans lost hope as the magic water had failed to protect them from bullets. Most of them either surrendered or fled to Mozambique.

Why Africans were defeated

  1. They had inferior weapons and skills while the Germans had better firearms and well trained soldiers
  2. The magic waters failed to protect the Africans hence they lost faith in their religion

Note that the water acted as a mobilizer and a source of unity of people to make them rise against the Germans.

  1. Lack of unity among the fighting groups e.g. the Matumbi revolted even before the other groups were ready therefore their poor co-ordination led to their defeat by the Germans.
  2. The capture of Kinjekitile and Mpanda demoralized the warriors hence they surrendered.
  3. Some Africans collaborated with the Germans by helping them against fellow Africans. The larger communities e.g. the Chagga, Nyamwezi and Hehe had already witnessed the might of the German bullets therefore did not take part in the revolt.
  4. The Germans got reinforcements in form of machinery from Somalia, Sudan, and New Guinea which the Africans lacked.
  5. In 1907 a severe famine broke out due to the scorched earth policy. Many people died of famine resulting to surrender.


Results of the Rebellion

  1. It is estimated that 75,000 to 120,000 lost their lives as a result of the revolt, disease and starvation.
  2. There was massive destruction of property as villages and crops were burnt down
  3. War led to severe famine as farms and granaries were destroyed. This disrupted economic activities.
  4. Loss of leadership as many of their leaders were captured, imprisoned or hanged
  5. It led to displacement, fear and insecurity as people fled for safety and families were separated.
  6. It undermined the economy of Tanzania as many economic activities stalled
  7. Africans gave in to colonial authority as they realized they needed better weapons and organization if they were to tackle the colonialists.
  8. It undermined the African confidence in their traditional religion for the magic waters failed to protect them
  9. Led to the rise of ill-feelings among the communities due to their varied roles during the war. Later it united more communities in Tanganyika
  10. It made the Germans change their administration in Tanganyika. The following reforms were made:
  • Lord Rechenburg rejected extra taxation
  • A new governor ruled more leniently through the traditional chiefs
  • Corporal punishment was abolished and settlers who mistreated Africans were punished.
  • Forced labour for settler farms was abolished.
  • Africans were encouraged to grow cotton and get profit from it.
  • Africans were involved in administration of the regions as Akidas and Jumbes.
  • They improved the education and medical facilities for Africans
  • Kiswahili was accepted as an official language.
  • Colonial administration in Tanzania was tailored to suit the Africans.
  • Newspapers that supported settlers against Africans were censored.


The Mandinka resistance

They were led by Samori Toure who was one of the most important empire builders during the period of the scramble and partition.

He was born in 1830 in Sanankore village East of Kankan.

He was a Dyula trader who traded in Gold, Kola nuts and slaves.

He was converted to Islam. His mother was captured by chief Sori Birama of Bisandugu as a slave.

He joined the chief’s army and served for seven years with the aim of rescuing his mother.

In 1858 he broke away from the army and formed his own with an aim of forming his empire.

By 1880 he used Islam, his ability in trade, military experience and diplomacy to carve out for himself an empire.

For 30 years he captured most of the area around Mandinka and by 1881 he had created the Mandinka Empire with his capital at Bisandugu.

Being a soldier, he created a powerful army which was divided into three wings. These include

  1. The infantry (foot soldiers who were more than 30 000 also referred to as the sofa
  2. Special trained body guards about 500 men
  • Cavalry – soldiers on horseback who were 3000.

He acquired guns from the profits made from the trade.





Causes of the Franco-Mandinka War 1891-1898

Samori Toure waged a seven year war against the French from 1891 to 1898. He led his army while the French were led by Major Archinard. As they fought, Samori Toure retreated eastwards creating his new second empire. He resisted the French for the following reasons.

  1. Toure wanted to safeguard the independence of his empire i.e. couldn’t allow non-muslims in his land. He hated the forceful method used by the French to acquire colonies.
  2. He was not willing to lose the Bure mines
  3. He wanted to continue with his military supremacy and economic prosperity without the French interference
  4. He didn’t fear the French for he had the modern firearms and a well disciplined army.
  5. He got disappointed with his scheme of playing off the British against the French, so he declared war against the French.
  6. The French idea of selling arms to his enemies such as Tieba of Sikasso so as to weaken the Mandinka was a major cause of conflict.
  7. He wanted to put off Christians from his kingdom since he was a Muslim.


Course of the war

In 1882 Toure who was expanding to the west came into conflict with the French who were expanding too the east. The west had the rich gold fields of Bure. The French demanded that Toure stops his expansion but he refused. This led to a war in 1885 in which Toure was defeated.

He then requested the British to support him by declaring his empire their protectorate. British refused.

In 1886, he signed the Bisandugu treaty with French whereby boundaries were recognized. Toure gave the French all the territories north of River Niger while he controlled Bure. In 1887 under the same amended treaty, Mandinka became a French protectorate.

Tour got in conflict with French over an area near the Kita-Bamako railway which Toure had claimed. Toure was defeated by French and the Bure gold mines were seized. He later on repossessed the mines.

In March 1886, he again signed the treaty of Bisandugu which brought peace between the two. In this treaty France was to be given the empire to the north of River Niger in return for friendship. To the French, the treaty meant full control over Mandinka.

On the other hand, Toure continued with his aggression towards Tieba of Sikasso, forcing the king of Sikasso to sign a treaty with the French for protection.

In 1890 the French sparked off a conflict between Tukolor and the Mandinka Empire. They also began to urge Tieba of Sikasso to attack Samori Toure. This led to the Franco-Mandinka war between the French and the Mandinka, in which Samori Toure fought alone after failing to get the support of the British and other African leaders.

In the same year, the French attacked and conquered Kankan, Bure and sent an expedition to burn Bisandugu.

In the first war, the French were defeated by Toure but in the second war the French conquered Bisandugu.

Toure staged a guerilla war against the French. He used the S. East forestland and attacked mostly at night. He had a large army of 35000 men armed with repeater rifles.

He avoided pitched battles and the massing of his troops in fortified cities. His army was divided in three such that one attacked, the other organized people for a retreat and the third group conquered new lands.

He also used the scotched earth policy i.e. burnt everything down so as to deprive the French of any food or shelter. By 1896, he had established a new empire 600 miles from the old empire with Dabakala as his new capital.

Toure sought assistance from the Asante and even the British but they declined. He fought and defeated the French in 1895 and the British in 1897.

However his new empire soon ran short of food, guns, horses and was being threatened by the British in Gold Coast.

The position of his new empire was not suitable for a number of reasons

  1. He was cut off from Bure gold mines therefore had no revenue to sustain the army.
  2. He was cut off from Freetown along the coast where he used to buy firearms.
  3. The southern part of his empire was open to French attacks from the Ivory Coast.
  4. The occupation of the Asante Empire by the British in 1896 meant that he was surrounded by enemies on both sides.
  5. Hostility from his new neighbours whom he had attacked before.

Samore surrendered in 1898 and was deported to Gabon. He died in 1900 after failing to defend his empire against the French, but succeeded in waging a lot of war, guerrilla tactics scotch earth policy and the mass movement of population.

His resistance inspired many African leaders who earned him title ‘the Bonaparte of the Sudan’


Why the Resistance took so long to suppress

  1. Toure was a soldier who knew how to organize his army and people.
  2. The large army of 35000 men who were well trained, disciplined and equipped.
  3. His soldiers knew the tricks of the French since they had fought in their armies
  4. The retreat to the east and the scorched-earth policy delayed the advance of the French troops and weakened them since they had no food
  5. Toure’s army knew the terrain well enabling them to employ guerilla tactics.
  6. The guerilla tactics delayed the French conquest since the French found no people to attack.
  7. Unity within the army and civilians gave Toure plenty of time to establish a new empire and capital.
  8. Toure had military workshop that supplied him with weapons and repaired his defective ones. Through trade, he got regular supply of firearms.
  9. Many of Toures soldiers believed that they were fighting a Jihad against the French, so they fought with a lot of determination.


Why Toure was finally defeated

Toure resisted the French for 16 years and was conquered in 1898. The following are the reasons for his defeat

  1. They didn’t have time to engage in economic activities as they were constantly fighting
  2. He lost the gold mines of Bure and was cut off from Freetown which gave him firearms
  3. Lack of unity among the African societies e.g. he sought alliances with Ahmed Seku of Tukolor and Tieba of Sikasso who instead assisted the French.
  4. It was difficult for him to defend his second empire for it was open to attack either by the British of the French.
  5. He ran short of weapons while the French had better weapons
  6. His tactic of scorched-earth policy was resisted for his people remained with nothing after destruction. This led to local resistance.
  7. The non-Muslim and non-Mandinka never supported him and some even supported the French against him.
  8. The British had adopted the policy of non-interference therefore refused to support Toure against the French.
  9. Toures retreat to Liberia was blocked and his capital besieged. He had therefore to surrender to the French.


Results of Toures resistance

  1. The Mandinka empire disintegrated as the French established their rule in the area
  2. Property was destroyed due to the use of the scorched earth policy causing famine and suffering to the people.
  3. Some Mandinka fled to other countries such as Ghana and Ivory Coast to avoid French colonial rule.
  4. Many people lost their lives due to prolonged war.
  5. Samouri toure was captured and exiled to Gabon in 1889


The Ndebele Resistance

The Ndebele were descendants of the Nguni speaking (Bantu) who fled from Zululand during the Mfecane wars in South Africa. The term Mfecane refers to wars sparked off by Shaka the Zulu while expanding his Zulu Kingdom.

The displaced communities sought refuge in other regions. The Ndebele then settled in Zimbabwe and ruled over local communities especially the Shona creating the Ndebele Kingdom in the 1830s.

They were fierce with well trained armies. When the missionaries came to Matabeleland, Mzilikazi welcomed them but it was not for long.

European invasion of the Ndebele

In 1859 the London Missionary society settled in Matabeleland led by Robert Moffat.

They assisted Mzilikazi by repairing his guns, inoculating his cattle, writing and interpretation of letters and providing medical care for the sick

Mzilikazi didn’t like the missionary influence in his Kingdom therefore started killing them.

Mzilikazi died in 1868 and his son Lobengula took over. He was threatened with Portuguese invasion from Bechuanaland and the Boers from Transvaal in South Africa.

Many Europeans streamed into Matabeleland with the aim of exploiting gold. Lobengula was a diplomat who did not get converted to Christianity for he realized that it would undermine his authority. He only signed treaties with the Boers whom he granted hunting rights.

He also knew the military might of the Europeans therefore he used diplomacy to deal with them to protect his people. He therefore played off the Boers against the British. At one time he sought British protection over his land to stop intrusion by the Boers, Portuguese and the Germans in Matabeleland.

In 1888 Lobengula signed the Moffat treaty with Rev Robert Junior Moffat in which Lobengula was not to sign any other treaty with other European groups without the permission of British.

In the same year, John Cecil Rhodes of the B.S.A Co sent Charles Rudd, Thomson and Maguire to sign a treaty i.e. the Rudd treaty.

In this Lobengula and the B.S.A Co of Cecil Rhodes granted the company a mining monopoly in Matabeleland. To the king he knew it meant that the whites were only to take the minerals and leave the territory, while the Europeans interpreted it as the surrender of Matabeleland to them.

In exchange, Lobengula was to get a gunboat on river Zambezi and 500 sterling pounds, a monthly salary of 100 sterling pounds, 1000 rifles and 100,000 cartridges.

Lobengula noted later that the conditions he had spelt out to the Whites during the making of the treaty were not included in the final text; instead he had been tricked into surrendering his kingdom to the Europeans.

In retaliation in 1889 he sent a delegation of indunas (senior chiefs), Motshede and Bobiyance to London to meet Queen Victoria, who disregarded them. She gave a charter to the company at Cecil Rhodes request. This was followed with the coming of a pioneer group of 200 settlers from South Africa who settled at Mashonaland raising the union Jack (British Flag) in Salisbury. The move was welcomed by the missionaries who needed British support to enable them spread Christianity.

In 1891 the B.S.A Co was given the duty to administer the region. An administrator and a judge were sent to Mashonaland.


The Ndebele war of 1893


  1. British occupation of Mashonalalnd after they tricked Lobengula into signing the Rudd concession. The occupation of Mashonalalnd meant that the Ndebele no longer had power over the Shona, and the Ndebele could not raid the Shona for cattle and women as they would be protected by the British. This also made the Shona to support the British.
  2. The British incited the Shona to raid the Ndebele and take away the cattle. This aimed at provoking the Ndebele to attack the Shona. The company administrators Rhodes and Dr. Starr Jameson had promised the white settlers in Matebeleland 6000 acre farms and the Shonas of Ndebele cattle.
  3. The attempt by the Ndebele indunas to punish some Shona who had disobeyed King Lobengula. In this the Shona servants were killed by the Ndebele. This caused the October 1893 Ndebele war broke.

The British army led by Dr. Starr Jameson had 1200 soldiers from Mashonaland and South Africa. The Ndebele warriors were few, had been weakened by smallpox and had inferior weapons.

Lobengula realized that he could not confront the British. So he evacuated his people and sent messengers to Jameson to stop the war, but the messengers were killed.

In 1894 Lobengula died and the Ndebele were defeated. The indunas got demoralized and surrendered to Jameson. This led to the British imposition of company rule in Matabeleland. It was followed with the pushing of the Ndebele to the reserves of Gwaai and Shangani. They were subjected to forced labour, taxation and confiscation of their cattle.

Many Africans were killed while others died due to starvation. This later led to hostility between the Africans and the British leading to the Chimurenga war.



The Chimurenga war (1896-1897)

It was a war that was fought between the British and the combined Shona and Ndebele who had political, economic and religious grievances against the British.

Causes of the war

  1. The Ndebele determination to resist British conquest after their defeat in 1893
  2. British erosion of the traditional authority of the Ndebele by destroying the monarchy through sending Lobengula sons to South Africa to get educated.
  3. The British denied indunas their powers e.g. they could not give out land, and even punished them brutally.
  4. The policy of land alienation that pushed the Ndebele to the reserves at Shangani and Gwaai. This denied them opportunity to engage in economic activities, hence starvation.
  5. The interference in their trading rights by forcing them to trade only with the B.S.A.Co which paid less.
  6. Confiscation of 250,000 herds of cattle to the British, followed with the tsetse invasion and a rinderpest outbreak that saw them lose 2 million cattle. The Ndebele could not replace this by raiding the Shona.
  7. Forced labour on the European farms. They were whipped and made to work for long hours
  8. The introduction of hut tax which was collected with a lot of brutality. The Shona and Ndebele were forced to work on the European farms to raise the tax
  9. The British ignored their class system and the hierarchy of the indunas. They treated them with a lot of disrespect and even flogged them before their own subjects.
  10. The British recruited the Shona in the Police force which didn’t please the Ndebele for the Shona got the chance to revenge on the Ndebele
  11. The cruelty of the company officials who threatened the black people with punishment before the pay day. This made some of them to run away.
  12. They were also affected by natural calamities such as drought, famine, which they attributed to the invasion.
  13. The rise of religious leaders such as Mkwati in Matabeleland and Kakubi and Nehanda of Mashonalalnd who promised the people protection against British bullets.

In 1896 Dr Leander Starr Jameson took most of the police to Transvaal in an attempt to take it over from the Boers. He was defeated. This absence of most of the police made Ndebele and Shona strike against the British easier.


The course of the war

In March 1896, the Ndebele high priest Umlugulu with senior indunas such as Sekombo, and Babiyance organized a ceremony to install Umfezela as Lubengulas successor. This plan failed as some policemen were murdered.

The Ndebele took the British by surprise by killing them on their farms, together with Africans policemen who worked on the Whitemans farms.

A total of 130 people were killed and by April the uprising had spread throughout the country forcing the European settlers to seek refuge in camps at Gwelo, Bulawayo, Belingwe and Mangwe. In Mashonaland the settler farms were raided and the whites took refuge in camps at Headlands, Salisbury and Marandelias

Religion played an important part in this rebellion. They stated that the drought, rinderpest and locust invasion were due to the presence of the white man. They claimed their god; the Mwari was urging them to force the white men out. They promised immunity from the British bullets.

However the two communities fought separately. Major Plumer brought reinforcement from Botswana which made the Ndebele agreed to peace talks. In the meeting the indunas presented their grievances and Rhodes agreed to their grievances. The Shona police were disbanded and the Ndebele headmen given powers.

However African priest were severely punished e.g. Singinyamatshe was sentenced to 12 years in prison with hard labour.

As the Ndebele war ended in December 1896, the Shona uprising was at its peak. The British were able to crush the Shona resistance in October 1897 since Ndebele support was not there. Then, colonial rule was imposed on them.


Why the Ndebele and Shona were defeated

  1. Disunity among the Africans e.g. they fought on different fronts making it easy for the British to deal with one group at a time. More so some African communities supported the British against the Shona and the Ndebele
  2. The Ndebele fought along their social classes e.g. the Aristocrats fought on their own ignoring the slaves
  3. The British had superior arms and fought ruthlessly which demoralized the Shona-Ndebele soldiers who relied on mediums (priests) confidence.
  4. British had well trained soldiers as compared to African soldiers who lacked the skills.
  5. They lacked the military practice and were weakened by drought, famine and diseases.
  6. British got reinforcement from Botswana and South Africa
  7. People were depressed by the arrest of the cult leaders such as Nehanda, Kakubi, compounded with the fleeing of Lobengula made them to give up.
  8. The magic from the Mwari cult failed to protect them against the enemy bullets.
  9. Rhodes determination to suppress their resistance made the Ndebele go for peace and this marked the end of the war.


The results of the war

  1. Africans lost their independence as the British established their authority forming Northern Rhodesia
  2. There was loss of life and property
  3. There was land alienation which forced Africans to stay in the dry lands and were to offer forced labour on European farms
  4. Missionaries got the chance to make converts as many people had lost confidence in their traditional religion
  5. The indunas were recognized and no Shona police stationed in the Ndebele area
  6. Africans were exposed to severe famine and the Ndebele were given relief food from South Africa
  7. Company rule was discredited by the colonial office due to poor administration.



Some African communities resorted to collaboration due to the following reasons

  1. To support fellow Africans
  2. To get strong weapons for the defense against the enemies
  3. Attraction to the Europeans education and way of life
  4. Realization that they could not resist the Europeans who had better weapons.

Communities that collaborated included the Buganda of Uganda and Lozi of Zambia.

Other communities adopted both collaboration and resistance.


The Lozi Collaboration

They are also referred to as the Luyi. It was founded in the Zambezi valley and was situated in the present day Zambia.

Their rulers were known as Litunga and they claimed direct descent from god.

Between 1830 and 1864 they were conquered by the Kololo who were fleeing from Shaka’s mfecane. Their rule ended in 1864 and Lewanika led the Lozi in re-establishing the Bulozi kingdom.

Lewanika did not resist the colonialists. He signed several agreements with British hoping to retain his position as king and preserve the independence of his kingdom.


Why he collaborated

  1. He wanted to protect himself from the Kololo and Ndebele. More so he met a lot of internal resistance so he needed a stronger power so as to be peaceful
  2. He wanted to gain from the missionaries new faith, medicine as well as education
  3. He got encouragement from Khama of the Ngwato, who spoke highly of the missionaries and the British enumerating their benefits.
  4. He wanted to trade with the British and above all desired to preserve the economic activities of his people such as fishing and agriculture
  5. He was faced with threats from the Portuguese, Boers, the Germans and the B.S.A C. He wanted to secure his position as the king of the Lozi and to safeguard the independence of the Lozi.
  6. Lewanika saw the futility of resisting a strong power like Britain, so he choose to collaborate


How he collaborated

Lewanika was tricked into signing treaties with the British South Africa Company representatives whom he believed stood for the British government.

In 1889 Lewanika asked for the British protection. It was followed with the coming of Harry Ware, a British citizen who sought mining rights in Bulozi. He then signed a treaty with Ware granting him rights to mine for 20years.

Ware later sold his concessions to two other prospectors named King and Nind who in turn sold it to Cecil Rhodes at 9000 sterling pounds on behalf of B.S.A Co.

Rhodes then sent Lochner to persuade Lewanika sign a treaty with the British.


The Lochner Treaty 1890

Frank Lochner met Lewanika with the help of a missionary Francois Coillard who had been allowed by the King to set up missions in the territory.

Terms of the Treaty

  1. S.A Co would have all the mining rights in Bulozi except in certain farming and iron mining areas
  2. Lewanika would be paid 2,000 Sterling pounds and 4% of all minerals mined in the area.
  3. Company would build schools, promote trade and develop telegraphy
  4. Bulozi would be protected against external aggression
  5. Lewanika would remain a constitutional monarch and not an absolute ruler as before.
  6. A British resident would be posted at Lealui, the kingdom capital to monitor company activities and advice Lewanika on foreign activities.

Later Lewanika realized that he had lost his kingdom to the British. He then requested that it be nullified, but he was ignored.

In 1897 the company sent a former police officer major Robert Coryndon as British resident in Bulozi, who made arrangements for the signing of another treaty.

The Coryndon Treaty of 1900

  1. The British would be responsible for the administration of Bulozi and the company administration would answer to the high commissioner at the cape.
  2. Company would appoint officials and pay for the administration of the area.
  3. Company would provide schools, industries, postal services, transport and telegraphic services.
  4. Lewanika would get 850 sterling pounds as stipend in a year.
  5. Lozi were guaranteed rights over game, iron working and tree cutting for canoe building.
  6. Company was allowed to acquire land on Batoka plateau.
  7. Company maintained prospection  for minerals in Bulozi
  8. Lewanika was made chief of Barotse and by 1905 many white settlers came reducing his powers.

This treaty dealt the Bulozi kingdom a death blow in that

  1. Lewanika became a mere employee of the company only receiving a stipend
  2. He lost control over his former subordinate states as they all began to pay tribute to the British.
  3. Their aristocratic system was broken and royal classes were reduced to the position of tax collectors.
  4. More settlers came to Baloziland and he was only cheated with the title of paramount chief. Barotseland was finally incorporated into North Rhodesia and it became a British protectorate.


The Baganda Collaboration

It was a highly centralized society with powerful kings. The kings expanded the territory through warfare against their neighbours.

They conquered the mineral rich areas such as Buddu, an iron ore area and Kyaggwe, a source of ivory.

As a kingdom, it grew due to its good policies and economic stability. They also traded with the Sudan, Ethiopia and the Swahili Arabs from the East African coast.

It became the most powerful state in the 19th century. However the following kings collaborated with the Europeans.


Kabaka Mutesa 1 1856-1884

The search for the source of river Nile led Europeans to Uganda. John Speke and James Grant came in 1862 when Mutesa I was in power. Because of his friendliness, Henry Morton Stanley visited in 1871 and convinced Mutesa to accept missionaries in Uganda. He accepted because

  1. He wanted his people to acquire education and medicine. He confined them to his capital at Rubaga.
  2. He wanted to reduce the powers of the Muslims and traditionalist. This led to religious wars in Buganda. He wanted his people to become Christians.
  3. Need for protection against Mukama of Bunyoro who threatened his position and trade.
  4. Needed protection against Khedive Ishmael of Egypt, who wanted to extend his territory into Buganda.
  5. He desired to trade with Europeans so as to get their goods especially firearms.

Mutesa died in 1884 and his son Mwanga took over the leadership of the kingdom.

Kabaka Mwanga (1884-1889)

He came to power in 1884. He failed to know which religious group to support. The Muslims convinced him that the Europeans would undermine him and take over Buganda. He reacted to this by persecuting Christians. In 1885 he ordered the persecution of three young missionary society (C.M.S) converts. In October Bishop Hannington was killed.

In May 1886 thirty young converts were burnt to death at Namugongo for refusing to denounce their Christian faith. This led to a period of political instability in Buganda.

In 1888, the traditionalists urged Mwanga to expel all the foreigners whom they blamed for causing chaos in the kingdom. This made the Protestants and the Muslims to overthrow Mwanga. He was replaced by his brother Kiwewa who was later deposed by Muslims for refusing to be circumcised. Kalema, his brother took over as a ruler. This move annoyed the Europeans for it reflected the Muslim dislike for Christianity.

In 1890 Christians and Bunyoro under Kabarega helped Mwanga recapture his position.

In 1890 the Anglo-German agreement was signed between the Germans and British. It declared Uganda a British sphere of influence. An IBEAC official, Captain Fredrick Lugard who was an ex-India officer came to Uganda as the first British administrator.

Mwanga signed a treaty with Lugard for protection giving IBEAC control over Buganda.

Why Mwanga Collaborated

  1. Need for protection from internal and external enemies especially the religious groups such as traditionalists, Muslims, Catholics and Protestants and the Bunyoro.
  2. Desire to secure his position and safeguard the Buganda from interference
  3. Wanted the British to help him gain regional supremacy over Bunyoro, Ankole and Toro.

In Uganda, company rule was shattered as IBEAC became bankrupt. In 1892, there was a conflict between Catholics and Protestants. In the dispute, Lugard supported the protestant and ordered Kabaka Mwanga to execute the Catholics, but Kabaka refused. In reaction to refusal, Lugard armed the Protestants who then attacked and destroyed a catholic mission. This led to the 1892 Anglo-Franco war in which the Protestants (British) fought the (French) Catholics.

However, the Catholics hit back and almost overpowered Protestants. The Protestants got reinforcements from the Sudanese soldiers thereby defeating the Catholics. The king’s palace was captured. Mwanga and the catholic leaders fled to an Island in Lake Victoria.

Later the Catholics helped Mwanga recapture his throne.

In 1894, Uganda was declared a British protectorate. Mwanga realized that under the British rule, he was just but a puppet for all the power was in the hands of the British administration.

He was captured and exiled in Kismayu in Somalia in 1899 and later Seychelles where he died in 1903.

He was succeeded by his infant son, Daudi Chwa who was assisted by three ministers, Apollo Kagwa, the Katikiro (prime-minister), the chief justice Stanislaus Mugwanya and the treasurer Edward Kisingiri.

This was followed with the signing of the Buganda agreement of 1900, which aimed at ensuring that Buganda remained self sufficient to enable her meet her cost of administration.


The Buganda Agreement of 1900

The provisions of the agreement revolved around land, taxation, government and boundaries.

  1. Before the agreement, all the land belonged to the Kabaka. The agreement changed the land tenure system in which half of the land in Buganda became crown land; the other half was given to the Kabaka, his ministers and his chief on a free hold basis.
  2. A hut tax of three rupees per hut was introduced.
  3. The powers of the chiefs were reduced. They remained a link between the government and the Baganda. The Prime minister, the treasurer and chief justice were recognized.
  4. It defined the boundaries of Buganda, including the 10 sazas she acquired from Bunyoro therefore doubling her kingdom.

By the agreement, chiefs were given new powers. The powers of the Kabaka and clan heads on issues of government and land were reduced. The Kabaka had to be consulted before any new taxes could be imposed on Baganda.

Later the British used Buganda Christians to extend their indirect rule over other regions e.g. Semei Kakanguru, a Muganda was used by the British to conquer Bagisu, Kumam, Teso, Busoga and Kigezi.

Apollo Kagwa, and the Katikiro also assisted the British in implementing their policy of indirect rule e.g. with his help, the British were able to crush the Sudanese mutiny in 1898.

Moreso, he encouraged the Buganda to accept modern farming practices and western education.

He also embarked on judicial, financial and administration reforms in Buganda.


Results of African Collaboration

  1. The collaborating communities failed to safeguard their independence for they were all conquered by the colonialists e.g. Buganda and Lozi.
  2. It led to the disruption of traditional political system as the kings were cheated with titles like his highness for the Kabaka and paramount chief for the Lewanika.
  3. Collaborating leaders got protection from their traditional enemies. They were used to exert indirect rule in other parts of Africa e.g. the Buganda were used by the British to conquer Basogo and Bagisu.
  4. The collaborators got western education and hospitals were built in their territories.
  5. Trade increased between the cooperating communities and the Europeans as they acquired glassware, clothes, guns and ammunition.
  6. They got subjected to economic exploitation such as land alienation, mining, taxation and forced labour.

Positive effects of European colonization of Africa

  1. Colonisation helped in the formation of states. These later became independent states with many tribes on gaining independence.
  2. It speeded economic growth in Europe through trade.
  3. Africans were introduced to international commerce.
  4. Development of infrastructure e.g. roads and railways by the Europeans in Africa.
  5. Development of urban centres in areas where Europeans settled.
  6. European powers who gained more colonies in Africa gained fame and p

Topic 2



Causes of the scramble for East Africa

  1. Nationalism in Europe
  • German success over France in the Franco-Prussian war of 1871 led to increase in nationalistic feelings among her nationalists. They forced Otto Von Bismarck to acquire colonies. The victory of Germany over France upset the Europeans balance of power. Germany and Italy therefore wanted to acquire colonies for prestige, pride and identity.
  • By 1870, Germany and Italy had also become powerful. When France was conquered by Germany, she lost her iron ore rich territories of Alsace and Lorraine. France therefore sought for ways of avenging the defeat and humiliation by acquiring more colonies in Africa.

Germany and British interests in East Africa brought the two powers to near war despite the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. Zanzibar became the operational base for these rival powers as they began to focus on the interior of East Africa.

  1. Strategic significance
  • From the days of the explorers, the source of the River Nile and the Suez Canal were the centre of interest to Europeans, British and France were trying to outdo each other in enlarging the ownership of Egypt and the source of the Nile. To effectively control Egypt, British had to control Uganda which was a source of Nile.
  • To safeguard further her position in India, Britain had to secure her position along the East African coast. Kenyan coast provided good harbor facilities and had proven strategic as a source of supplies hence the rivalry between Germany and Britain.
  1. Economic Imperialism
  • By the 19th century states in Europe were in the race for colonies to tap raw materials to keep their factories running.
  • Europeans were also searching for markets for the manufactured goods.
  • The European businessmen were looking for new avenues overseas for investment of their surplus capital. This could speed up their economic development.
  • Europeans believed that East Africa was favourable for agriculture because of her good climate.
  • They also came to abolish slave trade since it was not profitable, and establish legitimate trade.

This led to the arrival of the Germany East Africa Company under Karl Peters and the IBEA Co under Mackinnon intensified rivalry for colonization of East Africa.

  1. Social Factors
  • Racism – the Europeans had a supremacy complex which made them perceive their own cultures as more civilized. They desired to impose their rule over Africans in order to civilize them.
  • The missionaries wanted to spread Christianity to counter the spread of Islam. They believed that their religion was more superior to that of Africans.
  • They wanted to introduce western civilization in form of education and western medicine to Africans.
  • Missionaries appealed for help and protection from their mother countries.


The process of Partition

Though the Berlin conference laid down the framework for the partition of Africa, it did not fully resolve the rivalry between the Germans and the British in East Africa.

In 1884 Harry Johnstone signed a treaty with the Chagga Chief Mandara in which he declared Chaggaland a British sphere of influence. This made Karl Peters to move fast to prevent the British from pushing the Germans out of Tanganyika, who immediately declared Usagara Ungulu, Uzigua and Ukami as German protectorates. Such activities almost led to war. This led to the Anglo-Germany agreement of 1886. The agreement facilitated the peaceful settlement of claims on East Africa between Germany and Britain. By this agreement

  1. The sultan of Zanzibar was recognized as the owner of the 10miles coastal strip and the Island of Pate, Mafia, Lamu, Pemba, Zanzibar, Kismayu, Brava and Mogadishu. He had brought in a lot of opposition.
  2. The coastline of Witu and the territory between River Umba and River Ruvuma became Germany sphere of influence.
  3. The British were to take the territory between River Umba and River Juba to the north.
  4. The western boundary was not defined and Uganda was up for grabs from any power that got there first.

The agreement did not fully resolve the dispute between the two powers leading to the signing of another treaty in 1890 known as the Heligoland Treaty.


The Heligoland Treaty

This was signed to ease the tension between the two powers over Uganda, and it ended partition of East Africa.

Through the agreement

  1. Germany recognized that Uganda was a British sphere of influence. They also laid claim over Kenya and Zanzibar.
  2. Germany abandoned her claim over Witu. In exchange, the British gave up Heligoland Island in the North Sea to Germany.
  3. Germany acquired a strip of land on Lake Tanganyika and purchased the coast of Tanganyika from the Sultan of Zanzibar.
  4. The Sultan of Zanzibar retained the 16km Indian Ocean coastal strip.


The British government was not originally interested in Kenya. However it only provided a passage way to Uganda and harbor facilities. It later became a British protectorate in 1895.


Methods used to occupy Kenya

  1. Signing of treaties

A treaty was signed between William Mackinnon and Sultan Bargash of Zanzibar in 1887.

Other treaties were signed by agents of prominent chiefs. However many of these rulers did not understand the terms and the full implication of such agreements, e.g. the Maasai agreements of 1904 to 1911 between Oloibon Lenana and the British.

Other treaties were signed between the Germans and the Africans e.g. the Anglo-Germany treaties of 1886-1890.

Although the local leaders were allowed to retain their position and power, they operated under harsh conditions.


  1. Collaboration

The Wanga under Nabongo Mumia and the Maasai under Oloibon Lenana willingly agreed to co-operate with the British and they were compromised with goods and political benefits.

  1. Military expeditions

The British used force to those communities that did not embrace the colonial rule. Punitive expeditions were dispatched against the Bukusu, Nandi, Abagusi, Luo and Akamba who rebelled.

  1. Operational bases

They built forts to enhance political control e.g. Fort Hall Murang’a and Fort Smith Kabete, Some of the forts and commercial centres later emerged as administrative centres.


Company rule

The colonialists used trading companies to administer protectorates on their behalf due to the high cost that was involved to ensure effective administration.

The companies therefore did the following

  1. Put up administrative posts
  2. Conducted trade
  • Suppressed local aggression

Kenya was ruled by the IBEAC under William Mackinnon which had the following powers.

  1. Established political authority in British East Africa and maintained general order and security
  2. Developed and regulated trade by facilitating the movement of goods and people between the coast and the interior
  3. To collect taxes and institute custom duty in the area.
  4. To develop and civilize the indigenous peoples.

This company managed to do the following

  1. Managed to suppress rebellions from hostile communities like the Maasai, Nandi and Akamba.
  2. Laid the basis for colonial administration through putting up a number of forts e.g. Kibwezi, Machakos Fort Smith, Fort Hall and Dagoretti.
  3. Developed a rubber industry along the coast and the interior.
  4. They secured the freedom of several slaves
  5. They pioneered in putting up roads e.g. the road between Kibwezi and Busia (1894) which facilitated transport of railway building equipment.

However the company failed to administer Kenya due to the following reasons

  1. The region lacked minerals such as gold, copper, or diamonds to exploit and sell.
  2. They lacked money for the day to day running of the activities of the company.
  3. It faced rivalry from the Imperial Germany E.A.Co for the control of the region.
  4. The region lacked navigable rivers which made transportation of goods slow and expensive.
  5. Poor communication between Britain and Kenya caused delays, confusion and poor coordination of company activities.
  6. Many of the company officials were corrupt and misappropriated funds.
  7. Constant destruction of company forts and trade caravans were often ambushed by the Nandi who could also burn down posts.
  8. Lack of experience and knowledge by agents on what they required to accomplish their duties.
  9. Many of them were attacked by malaria and sleeping sickness due to the hot tropical climate.
  10. The company directors lacked the drive, initiative, business and administrative skills needed to manage a territory.

This made the company to hand over Kenya to the British government in 1886, and it was given 250,000 dollars as compensation for its services. Kenya was declared a British protectorate in 1895.


Kenyan peoples response to British invasion

In Kenya, some communities resisted the rule of the British; others collaborated while others displayed both.

Active resistance

The Nandi, Agiriama. Bukusu, Somali and sections of the Kikuyu used armed resistance to protect their independence. Military expeditions were sent against the resisting communities and this intensified the struggle.


The Nandi resistance

They resisted the rule of the British for 11 years. This was due to the successes they had in their political social and economic structures.

The decline of the Maasai power due to the succession disputes and natural calamities led to their rise. This gave them a sense of superiority and any stranger passing through their land had to seek permission or else face their wrath.

The warrior based age-set system provided the community with a strong defence. The youth got trained through the age-set on how to defend their community. This enabled them to always have a standing army which made them a powerful community. This was why they resisted the British for ten years.

However the British were determined to suppress them at whatever cost, exploit the highlands and access to Uganda using the Uganda railway.

The Nandi practiced mixed farming as their land was fertile. This meant that they had a strong economic base. They also had the institution of the orkoiyot (prophet) which united the Nandi and gave them a strong sense of unity.


Causes of the rebellion

  1. The Nandi pride. By the time the British arrived in Kenya, the Nandi as a tribe were experiencing real success over their neighbours. They were dreaded by the Gusii, Luo, Luyia and Maasai. This placed them above other communities hence they were determined to safeguard their supremacy at all costs.
  2. Their military supremacy. They were well trained and equipped for battle. Moreso they also engaged in cultural practices such as raiding, which prepared them for battle. This made them feel that they were military equal if not superior to the whites giving them the confidence to reject colonial rule in their territory.
  3. Physical appearance of the white man. To the Nandi, the pink complexion of the white man and his way of dressing were ‘evil’ and therefore had to be expelled immediately.
  4. Land alienation for British Government programmes. The British began to reallocate the Nandi away from their ancestral land, paving way for white settlement, agriculture, railway construction and the trading centres. This plan really annoyed the Nandi.
  5. Kimnyoles prophecy. A Nandi orkoiyot Kimnyole had predicted that the Nandi would be dominated by foreigners. To them the coming of the British was a fulfillment of this therefore the whites had to be really expelled.
  6. Need to safeguard their independence. As they lived they interacted with their neighbours well. They felt that the trickling of the foreigners in their territory was a sign of the loss of their freedom.
  7. Nandi unity. Led by Kimnyole Arab Samoei as their symbol of unity they got inspired enough to resist the British.
  8. History of resisting intruders. They had traditionally fought off any intruders into their villages e.g. the Arab traders avoided the Nandi territory due to the harassment they had faced. In 1895 they murdered a British trader Peter West and thirty of his workers after they killed two Nandi warriors. This led to tension and hostility between the British and the Nandi which lasted for ten tears.


The course of the rebellion

The Nandi staged guerrilla warfare. They frequently attacked the caravan traders and mail carriers who passed through their territory. These attacks provoked the British who accused the Nandi of interfering with the trade and communication.

In 1895 Andrew Dick murdered two warriors who strayed into his camp at Guasa Mesa. In reaction, the Nandi killed Peter West, a trader and his team. The British then sent punitive expedition in 1897 which failed to stop the raids.

In 1899 the Nandi refused to cooperate with the railway builders. They refused to give them water and food and instead kept on stealing their building materials such as rails and telegraph wires to make weapons and ornaments. They also ambushed and murdered railway builders.

This made the British to send punitive expeditions against them in 1900 under colonel Evatt. The Britons got reinforcement from Maasai, Buganda, Swahili and Indian soldiers.

The Nandi got support from the Kipsigis. Many people died hence the British and Nandi decided to settle for peace instead.

Between 1901-1905, Walter Mayes conducted a campaign meant to pacify the Nandi and in 1901 their warriors attacked the railway in protest against the settlers who were farming on their land. British reacted by destroying crops, villages and stealing cattle. These wars went on for 3 years.

The Nandi requested Koitalel to work out ways of coordinating the resistance. However captain Meinertzhagen believed that if Koitalel was murdered the warriors would be cowed. In October 1905 he invited him and his advisers who were killed on the pretext that they were planning to attack the government.

In October 1905 a military team comprising 1500 fighters of Indian, Swahili, Maasai and Somali were sent to attack the Nandi. They in turn put up a strong show and in December 1905 a truce was called by Hayes Sadler the British commissioner making the end of the 11 year rebellion.




Why the Nandi resisted the British for so long (protracted/prolonged)

  1. Their country comprised of forests, caves and hills which favoured the guerilla warfare. On the other hand the British were not familiar with the terrain and found it difficult to use their guns in such a landscape.
  2. The age set system supplied the Nandi with young men who were disciplined, organized and effective.
  3. The Nandi knew how to manufacture and repair weapons. Moreso they made their own weapons using stolen railway building materials.
  4. They got a regular supply of food and war equipment which sustained them for a long period of time.
  5. The wet and cold climate caused respiratory disorders among the British, which slowed down their advance, when the Nandi did well since they were used to that climate.
  6. Their mixed economy aided them i.e. when the British burned and destroyed their crops and grains, they would live on their livestock.
  7. They got help from the Kipsigis, Elgeyo, Lembus and the Nyang’ori.
  8. Orkoiyot was their symbol of strength. His powers gave the warriors the courage and determination to fight on.


Why they were defeated

  1. The death of Koitalel Arab Samoei completely demoralized them
  2. British got reinforcement from the Indians, Swahili, Somali and the Maasai formed the British forces.
  3. They had poor weapons for fighting and their tactics were dwarfed compared to the sophisticated weapons.
  4. The scorched-earth policy employed by the British including burning, looting and destruction caused starvation among the Nandi warriors.
  5. The Nandi were affected by small pox which killed many of their warriors eroding their military strength.


Results of the rebellion

  1. It led to the loss of the independence of the Nandi and British occupation.
  2. There was massive loss of life, e.g. Koitalel Arab Samoei and over 1000 soldiers.
  3. It led to extensive destruction of property through raiding and burning. 5000 herds of cattle were confiscated and more than 5000 huts and grain stores burnt.
  4. Lose of Nandi territory and salt licks e.g. Kamelilo, Kapchekendi were taken for the white settlements.
  5. Land alienation pushed the Nandi into the dry areas. This led to overgrazing, soil erosion, and drought, diseases such as influenza, cholera, small pox and STDs. Their few cattle were wiped out by East Coast fever.
  6. There was the disintegration of the military organization due to the many wars.
  7. The Nandi became squatters on white farms where they provided cheap labour.
  8. Many Nandi warriors were recruited into the colonial police.


The Agiriama Resistance

These are a Bantu speaking group along the coast. Their reaction to colonial rule was provoked by the Mazrui Arabs and the Swahili in 1895. They were also reacting to the manner in which the IBEA Co was conducting the business along the coast.

MacDougal, the company official at Malindi, appointed Rashid Bin Salim instead of Mbaruk bin Rashid as the legitimate heir to the Takaungu sheikhdom.

Rashid was in conflict with the Busaidi al Basaidi Sultanate for collaborating with the company after the death of the Mazrui. Mbaruk should have immediately ascended to the throne.

However having had a long standing trading links with the Mazrui Arabs, the Mijikemda community was willing to offer them support.

The Omani Al Busaidi Arabs were also encroaching on Mijikenda territory.

To silence the two groups, the British brought in regiments from India and they bombarded Rashids headquarters at Mweli. This made the Mazrui and Agiriama resort to guerilla warfare. The Mazrui surrendered but the Agiriama continued until 1914.


Causes of the resistance

  1. The Agiriama refusal to produce 1000 able bodied men within a month for military duties in Kings African Rifles. (K.A.R)
  2. The raping of Agiriama women by the British officials and policemen
  3. Assumption of the role of middlemen by the British in the trade disrupted Agiriama.
  4. Forced labour on the land taken by British from the Agiriama
  5. Taxation in terms of labour instead of paying from their cattle sales or gains. The hut tax was also imposed. Given the polygamous nature of their men, it meant payment of more taxes by such men.
  6. Dislike for the British appointed headmen who collected taxes and recruited labourers.
  7. Massive land alienation for settler farming which forced the Agiriama to seek wage employment on the farms. This angered the elders.


The course of the resistance

They began by refusing to be recruited for K.A.R in 1914. They barred the young men from moving outside their villages in order to provoke the British.

They forced some to migrate to marginal areas like Taru desert to escape the tax payment.

The Agiriama were inspired by a prophetess known as Mekatilili Wa Menza who led the Agiriama in a mass resistance against the rule of the British.

She opposed forced labour, military conscription and the collection of taxes. She was later joined by an elder Wanje wa Madorika in mobilizing the people. They called on their people to return to their ancestral shrine at Kaya Fungo and offer sacrifices.

They denounced all appointed puppet rulers and called for their support for the Agiriama council of elders.

To unite themselves, they administered traditional oaths where the woman took Mukushekushe and the men took the Fisi oaths. The oaths inspired the warriors to wage a serious war.

A state of emergency was declared on the Agiriama and they adapted a hit and run warfare where they attacked the villages of converts and homes of loyal chiefs, headmen, Europeans and collaborators.

The missionaries sought refuge in neighbouring stations at Rabai. In retaliation the British burnt villages and crops and drove away livestock.

Mekatilili and Wanje were arrested and deported to Kisii. It was easy for the British to suppress the Agiriama since they were staying in the Kayas, which they bombarded.

The Arabs led by Fadhili bin Omari mediated between the Agiriama and the British marking the end of the war. This was on condition that

  1. The Agiriama would offer a given number of people as labourers for European settlers.
  2. A given number of able bodied young men were to serve in the Kings African Rifles.
  3. All the land north of River Sabaki would be occupied by the British.


Role of Mekatilili in the resistance

  1. Administered oaths and encouraged the Agiriama to face the British
  2. Presented the grievances of the Agiriama, some of which were later addressed by the British
  3. She united the people together against a common enemy
  4. She led in the participation of women in the struggle for independence in Kenya.

Effects of the resistance

  1. Capture and deportation of Mekatilili and Wanje to Kisii and the closure of the Agiriama shrine at Kaya Fungo and opening up of a new shrine at Mangea
  2. Lose of independence to the British
  3. Many lives were lost and much property was destroyed
  4. Disruption of the community’s economic activities especially the trade at Takaungu
  5. They were prohibited from brewing the traditional liquor which was a crucial social activity.


The Bukusu resistance 1895

They offered one of the earliest and more fierce forms of resistance to the British authority in West Kenya before they were finally occupied.

Causes of resistance

  1. They were being forced to recognize Mumia as the overall ruler of the Luyia.
  2. They wanted to safeguard their independence.
  3. They were forced by the British to surrender all the guns that they possessed.


Course of the resistance

The commanding officer at Kavirondo had sent a trade caravan to the Ravine station. They were ambushed by the Bukusu who stole all the rifles.

The Bukusu were ordered to return the arms unconditionally by the British and they refused. The British then sent a punitive expedition which was defeated by the Bukusu.

The news of the defeat reached Charles Hobley at Elureko who appealed for help from the Uganda protectorate. In retaliation Major William Grant dispatched a contingent of Sudanese and Buganda soldiers.

In 1895 two major battles were fought at Chetambes on the Webuye hill. In this the Bukusu were defeated due to poor military provisions.

Effect of the resistance

  1. The Bukusu lost their land and their independence.
  2. There was massive loss of life within both the Bukusu and British forces.
  3. Bukusu lost their cattle and sheep which disrupted their economy.
  4. Their women and children were taken away as prisoners by the British.


The Somali resistance

Right from the beginning of the process of European invasion in East Africa, the British were not interested in the occupation of Somaliland. But later they decided to occupy Jubaland province as a British protectorate.

However the Somali led by Ahmed bin Murgan reacted harshly to these developments.


Causes of the resistance

  1. The Muslim Somalis were opposed to the domination by the Christian British for this would undermine Islam.
  2. Desire to secure enough pastureland and watering points from the British.
  3. They wanted to continue raiding the Samburu, Borana and Turkana for cattle which the British could not allow.
  4. They wanted to continue with their nomadic life yet the British compelled them to settle down.
  5. They didn’t like the division of Somaliland into Italia and British spheres of influence for it subdivided the Darod and Hawiye clans, so they wanted to reverse it.
  6. They hated the punitive expeditions sent by the British on their land.


Course of the resistance

The Somali began by raiding Kismayu in 1898 which was a British sphere of influence. This was in response to the injuries inflicted on them by the expedition.

However the British initially didn’t respond due to the following reasons:

  1. It would be too expensive in terms of arms and military personnel.
  2. The Somali were nomadic therefore it was difficult and time consuming to suppress them.
  3. The area they were to fight for was very uneconomical.

However in 1900 the Somali murdered a British sub-commissioner for Jubaland Mr. Jenner.  The British sent a punitive expedition of Indian regiment against them. The Somali were defeated.

In 1905 the Somali rose up against the British and continued resistance since they had acquired arms. This ended in 1914 when boundaries were changed. By 1925, parts of the British Somaliland were put under Italian Somaliland marking the end of the conflict.


Consequences of the resistance

  1. Loss of lives as many Somalis and some Britons were killed.
  2. Their cattle was confiscated
  3. The British divided the Darod and Hawiye clans
  4. Somalis lost their independence.



Several Kenya communities collaborated with the British due to the following reasons

  1. They stood to loose
  2. Had inferior weapons and ill-trained fighters
  3. Suffered from natural calamities.

Among the people who welcomed the invaders were the Maasai, Wanga, Akamba and the Luo.


The Maasai collaboration

The Maasai are a Nilotic speaking people who inhabit the plains of the rift Valley. Basically they are cattle keepers though the kwavi are mixed farmers.

For a long time, the Maasai were really feared by European explorers and foreigners. But in the 19th century this trend changed due to the death of Mbatian, the spiritual and religious leader of the Purko Maasai. His two sons Lenana and Sendeyo vied for oloibornship. This led to many problems in the community.

By 1878 the Purko Maasai had split into two, Sendeyo moved with his followers to Loita hills in Tanzania while Lenana remained with another group in the Ngong Naivahsa region.

The rivalry weakened Lenana Maasai who looked for an ally to rescue them from this state of affairs. However his decision to collaborate surprised many, given that the community had a fierce reputation.

Reasons for collaboration

  1. They were weakened by human and cattle diseases such as pleura-pneumonia, cholera, small pox and rinderpest.
  2. Natural calamities such as prolonged drought and locust invasion led to loss of large numbers of livestock
  3. Severe famine brought about by the natural calamities led to high death tolls
  4. The emergence of the Nandi as a power had another impact. The Nandi raided their villages.
  5. The Maasai civil wars i.e. the Purko and Kwavi Maasai kept on fighting each other killing and confiscating their animals. This too weakened them.
  6. Lenana wanted military aid from the British against Supet, his brother.
  7. Lenana wanted food to save his people from starvation hence got the assistance from the British
  8. The Kedong massacre in which Andrew Dick killed 100 Maasai after opening fire on them. This shocked the Maasai who realized that they could not resist the British.
  9. Lenana thought that by collaborating with the British, he would preserve his independence.
  10. They wanted to get back their women and children who had been captured by the Kikuyu during the 1891 famine. The Kikuyu had refused to surrender them.


How they collaborated

The Maasai warriors were recruited as mercenaries against communities such as the Nandi and Luo of Ugenya and they were in return rewarded with confiscated cattle.

The drought and famine had sent some women and children to the British and Agikuyu centres for food.

The Maasai warriors had at one time attacked a caravan that composed the Gikuyu and Somali on their way from Eldama Ravin across the Kedong valley. The attack left some of the caravan traders dead. Andrew Dick a Scottish trader with his two French friends opened fire killing 100 Maasai. This really scared them and they had to seek for peace.

The turn of events benefited Lenana who was immediately crowned the paramount chief of the Maasai. It was followed with the signing of the two treaties in maasailand, i.e. 1904 and 1911, which concluded the process of collaboration.



The 1904 treaty

  1. Created two Maasai reserves, the Laikipia plateau in the north and the Ngong area in the south.
  2. A corridor of five Kilometres was set aside in Kinangop for the Eunoto
  3. A road connecting the two reserves was constructed.
  4. The Maasai were to move from Laikipia to the northern reserve.


Consequences of the collaboration

  1. Lenana was recognized as the paramount chief of the Maasai in 1901
  2. Purko were divided into two sections, Loita and Ngong leading to the separation of related clans.
  3. Massive land alienation and creation of the Laikipia and Ngong reserves.
  4. The Maasai were curtailed from conducting their rituals by the five square mile reserve that was left for their initiation rites.
  5. There was total disruption of their cattle economy, e.g. the number of livestock was reduced. They were forced to abandon their nomadic habits.
  6. They got material rewards in the form of grains looted from the Nandi, Kikuyu and Luo of Ugenya.
  7. They lost their independence as their land was declared a British protectorate.
  8. The Maasai were hired as mercenaries against resisting communities such as the Nandi and Agikuyu.
  9. They were deterred from carrying out their old customs of livestock cross-breeding with their Samburu neighbours. This really weakened their stock.


The Wanga Collaboration

They are a section of the Luyia of Western Kenya. Their leader Nabongo Mumia was ambitious and shrewd. He decided to collaborate with the British with the aim of expanding his kingdom.

Initially he associated with the Arabs and Swahili traders who gave him firearms. On the arrival of the British he saw it as an opportunity to get arms.

Reasons for the Wanga collaboration

  1. Mumia wanted to be made the paramount chief of not only the Wanga, but the entire western Kenya.
  2. He wanted to get political protection against the Luo of Ugenya, Bukusu and Nandi.
  3. He wanted to expand his territory therefore sent appointees to British south Bukusu, Kabras, Marama, Butsotso and Samia to lay claim.
  4. Wanted to get modern firearm for his army.
  5. He realized that he could not fight the British owing to his poor arms.
  6. Wanted to get the British Western civilization, in education and religion.
  7. He chose to be an ally since he knew eventually Western Kenya would be made a British territory after Buganda.


Process of Collaboration

Mumia began by befriending the caravan traders who later teamed up with the IBEA Co merchants.

The company officials liked the hospitality and therefore built a fort and a trading station at his capital in Mumias. This was the start of better things. Mumias therefore remained the capital of western province until 1920 when it was moved to Kakamega.


Results of the Collaboration

  1. Mumia was honored by being declared the Wanga paramount chief whereby he ruled upto 1926 when he retired. His reign was recognized as far as Bunyala, Gem, Ugenya and Alego.
  2. Mumia’s warriors became agents of British colonization and they promoted British rule among the Luo, Bukusu and Nandi in western Kenya.
  3. IBEA Co was allowed to establish a base at Mumias which became a centre for colonial rule.
  4. Nabongo enjoyed trade by having Mumias serve as a major terminus for trade caravans to Uganda. He also acquired arms.
  5. The Wanga were viewed as traitors by other communities in western province.
  6. Mumia’s relatives were made to rule over western Kenya directly e.g. Murunga who was Mumia’s half-brother was made chief of the Isukha and Idakho.
  7. Mumia provided the local authority with information over the appointment of chiefs and headmen in Western Kenya.
  8. His headquarters Elureko became the major administrative headquarter in the British territory of western Kenya upto 1920 when it was moved to Kakamega.
  9. Wanga amassed territories in Samia, Bunyala and Busoga.
  10. Mumia and his people acquired western education and religion.
  11. The Wanga lost their independence when the British declared Kenya a British protectorate in 1920

Though Mumia’s desire were fulfilled at the time of the arrival of the British, the freedom was short lived as the British took over direct administration and retired Nabongo Mumia from active public life. This was a sign of betrayal.


Mixed reactions

This refers to communities that neither received nor collaborated i.e. some sections of their people cooperated while others fought back. This included the following.


The Akamba reaction

They occupy the eastern province. They rose to prominence in the 19th century due to their participation in the long distance trade.

The arrival of the IBEA Co made the British stop the Akamba from taking part in the trade and also raiding their neighbours.

The company agents stole Akamba property and raped women. This made the Akamba to rebel.

This conflict was intensified with the building of a Fort at Masaku from where the British sent several military expeditions against the Akamba. Several sections of the Akamba resisted while others collaborated.

Reasons for their resistance

  1. Desire to preserve their independence
  2. The British cut down a shrine tree for a flagpole at Mutituni in 1891. This annoyed them for it was where they made their offerings to ancestral spirits.
  3. Disruption of the long distance trade by the company.
  4. The abuse of the Akamba culture e.g. raping of their women and looting of their property.
  5. Forced labour
  6. Constant sending of punitive expeditions among the Akamba which led to deaths and destruction of property.
  7. The dislike the fact that the British stopped the Akamba from raiding their neighbours e.g. the Oromo and Agikuyu.


Organization of the resistance

In 1890 the Akamba led by Nzibu Mweu boycotted and refused to sell goods to company agents. In the same year Syonguu ordered the warriors of lveti to attack Masaku fort due to the sacrilege committed by cutting down the Ithembo tree for a flag pole. This led to the defeat of the British who reacted swiftly by burning and looting the Akamba villages.

In 1894, Mwatu Wa Ngoma ordered the Akamba to attack the British for stopping them from raiding their neighbours. He blessed them with some medicine which gave them the strength.

This time they were seriously defeated by the British hence they began collaborating with the British by giving them the support and in return they were given cattle and grains confiscated from the Agikuyu and the Maasai.

Later Mwanamuka from Kangundo incited the people against the colonial police. They attacked the British boma (Sheds) at Mukuyuni and Mwala and killed all. They also turned against Mwatu wa Ngoma who had become a collaborator.

In retaliation, the British sent an expedition to silence the Akamba using the Maasai mercenaries who took their livestock.

Mwanamuka decided to blockade the Lukenya area cutting off the British communication between Fort Smith and Machakos. In retaliation, another military expedition which comprised of the Kikuyu and Maasai warriors was sent against the Akamba. The result was many Kambas were devastated forcing Mwanamuka to petition for peace.

Reasons for collaboration

  1. They had suffered many defeats
  2. Some of their leaders e.g. Mwatu wa Ngoma began to restrain the Akamba from raiding the British.
  3. The devastating famine of 1899 made them very weak and easy to tackle.
  4. They were scared by the ruthlessness in which the British attacked them.

Why they were defeated

  1. There arose a group among the Akamba whose main objective was to enrich themselves by allying to the colonial agents.
  2. They were decentralized therefore could not stand to fight a common enemy
  3. They were weakened by famine which made them not able to withstand a resistance.
  4. The missionaries had undermined some sections of them by undermining their religious and traditional practices.
  5. The disruption of the long distance trade further weakened them.

Results of the reactions

  1. Ukambani became a British protectorate
  2. Large scale land alienation which paved way for white settlement.
  3. Loss of lives
  4. Property was destroyed e.g. grain stores and herds of cattle confiscated
  5. Interference of the Akamba culture by cutting the Ithembo tree, raping and sexually harassing their women.
  6. Introduction of taxation in Kambaland
  7. Conscription of the Akamba men into the kings African Rifles


The Agikuyu reaction

Like the Akamba, they were highly divided due to their decentralized political system.

Reasons for mixed reactions

  1. Their leaders e.g. Kinyanjui wa Gathirimu and Karuri wa Gakure wanted their leadership positions protected.
  2. The desire for protection from their local enemies.
  3. The resistors like Waiyaki wa Hinga feared the loss of their independence and leadership positions.
  4. They didn’t like the way they were raided by IBEA Co for cattle and grains.
  5. They disliked the missionaries who were polluting their culture
  6. They disliked the massive land alienation for white settlement.
  7. The British applied excessive force, punitive expeditions which they disliked.


Organisation of the reaction

In 1890 Captain Lugard put up a Fort at Dagoretti so as to get food for his people after entering into an agreement with Waiyaki wa Hinga.

He left for Uganda and Captain Wilson who could not control the soldiers at Dagoretti, was left in charge. In return the caravan traders began stealing food and livestock from the Agikuyu, who reacted by setting Dagoretti Fort on fire.

John Ainsworth, the sub-commissioner, sent a punitive expedition against Waiyaki who was arrested and died on his way to Mombasa.

It is believed that the chief was buried alive at Kibwezi by his captors.

In 1899 Fort Smith was closed down and another fort was opened in the interior by Francis Hall. All the land belonging to Waiyaki was given to the white settlers and missionaries and Kinyanjui wa Gathimu replaced Waiyaki wa Hinga as chief.

Fort Hall (Murang’a) became a British Fort. John Boyes helped conquer the Kikuyu of Fort Hall and those of Nyeri. He forged an alliance with Karuri wa Gakure leader of Fort Hall who linked Boyes to Wang’ombe Wa Gaki, who supported Boyes with soldiers and he benefited from the loot confiscated from resisting groups.

Francis Hall was succeeded by captain Meinertzhagen who pacified all the rebellions among the Gikuyu. He supported the Muruka, and the Agikuyu of Tetu.

The Gikuyu of Tetu led by chief Gakere had wiped an entire Asian caravan on the slope of the Aberdares. Finally he was murdered and his associates were deported to the coast.

In 1904 the Gikuyu of Iriaini were defeated, many of their warriors were killed and 10000 head of cattle were captured by the British.

The Aembu succumbed to the British after they had seen the suffering met by the Gikuyu.

By 1910 the whole of Mt Kenya region had been put under British rule. They all settled down in their reserves up to the 1920s when they began to fight for independence.




Results of the mixed reaction

  1. It led to hatred and animosity in Kikuyuland. This was among the Agikuyu of Murang’a, Kiambu and Nyeri upto date.
  2. Land alienation i.e. was carved out for the British with the help of the collaborating Kikuyu leaders, e.g. Wang’ombe wa Ihura gave the British building sites while Gathirimu gave out land and protection to the British. This made many Kikuyu became squatters hence poverty.
  3. Some elders rose to prominence due to collaboration e.g. Karuri wa Gakure and Wang’ombe of Nyeri.
  4. The collaborators got western education and Christianity e.g. Kinyanjui wa Gathimu.
  5. It led to homeguards colonial headmen and many agents who ruled in Kenya.
  6. Loss of life e.g. Waiyaki wa Hinga and many Gikuyu fighters.
  7. Given that the Gikuyu were highly segmented, they were easily suppressed leading to loss of their independence.
  8. Made the British shift their base from Fort Smith to Fort Hall.
  9. Massive destruction of property e.g. Agikuyu villages were razed e.g. Fort Dagoretti was burnt down by kikuyu warriors.


The Luo reaction

The main sections of the Luo who resisted were the Luo of Sakwa, Seme, Ugenya and Kisumu. Those of Gem and Asembo are among those who collaborated.

Reasons for resistance

  1. The need to protect their land
  2. Fear of losing their freedom
  3. The British attacked them took away their grains, livestock and even fish without paying.
  4. Disliked the punitive expeditions sent against them by the British.

Reasons for collaboration

  1. Influence from the Wanga about the benefits they derived from the white e.g. education.
  2. Needed British assistance to subdue the Luo of Seme, Uyoma, Sakwa, Ugenya and the Nandi.
  3. They realized they could not march the British by all means.


The Course of the Resistance

They began by attacking the Wanga, their traditional enemies to expand their territory. They also accommodated those who ran away from the Wanga and the British due to mistreatment.

They destroyed the British telegraph wires and attacked German and British stations.

The Luo of Seme were angered by the British practice of attacking them for cattle and grains, hence they attacked the Luo of Asembo for their collaboration.

In 1898 the British invaded the Luo of Seme. It was followed with their defeat and loss of lives. In the same year, the Luo of Kisumu on Winam Gulf attacked a British Canoe party which usually took fish without paying. However they were also defeated.

The Luo of Gen followed led by Odera Akang’o and those from Asembo supported the British and they helped the British to establish their authority not only in West Kenya but also to suppress the Nandi and Luo of Seme, Sakwa, Ugenya and Uyoma.

Consequences of the Luo reaction

  1. Both the Collaborators and the resistors lost their independence to the British
  2. The Luo lost their property through burning and looting
  3. There was massive loss of lives among the Ugenya Luo
  4. Led to hatred between the collaborators and the resisters
  5. Leaders were able to gain Western education and religion as the British put up schools and missions in their areas.
  6. African leadership was replaced by the British administration.
  7. Luos were alienated from their land to pave way for British occupation

African communities who offered mixed reactions realized their foolishness. They noted that they had the prime objective of safeguarding their culture, freedom and prestige whatever way they reacted. Unfortunately, the British were determined to establish their authority regardless of their reaction.

By the beginning of the 20th century, many communities had been suppressed and colonial rule was effectively established.


Topic 3



Having brought down all forms of resistance among the African communities, the British established a system of administration that would enhance their rule. They then set up the central and local government systems.


Central government

Hierarchy of Colonial administration in Kenya

  1. Colonial Secretary

He was the political head of the British administration. He co-coordinated colonial policies discussed by the cabinet and British parliament. He was based in London.

The protectorate was divided into provinces headed by P.Cs who were the representatives of the Governor.


  1. Governor

Represented the British government in the colony and was answerable to the colonial secretary. He was the head of the executive council which effected colonial policies and programmes

He gave ascent to laws before they were implemented.

  1. Provincial Commissioners (P.C)

Represented the governor at the provincial level

He implemented the policies and laws made by the government.

He supervised the work of the D.Os, Chiefs, D.Cs and headmen on behalf of the Governor.

  1. District Commissioner (D.Cs)

He implemented policies in their districts.

Maintained law and order

He presided over District advisory committee.

Co-ordinated the work of the D.Os, and Chiefs

  1. District Officer (D.Os)

They took orders from the D.Cs

They coordinated the work of the D.Os and Chiefs.

They maintained law and order in their divisions.

  1. Chiefs

Acted as link between the people and the governor.

Maintained law and order at the locations and also collected taxes.

Coordinated the work of the headmen.

  1. Headmen

They linked the government and the people at the grassroot level.

Mobilized the people for development in their villages and collected taxes.


The administrative hierarchy ensured that orders were issued from the highest level of administration to the lowest. The Chiefs and headmen were given the powers by the headmen ordinance and the chief’s authority Act.

The headmen and chiefs restricted in the African reserves.

The management of the central government was coordinated by the Advisory Council and the Executive Council which guided the governor and effected colonial policies.


The Local Government

It aimed at ensuring that the locals are also involved in the running of the government. However, only the Europeans were represented in it.

This idea of having a local government originated from the desire by the Europeans settlers to safeguard a number of privileges for themselves. They then created the District Advisory Councils where members were nominated by the central government, to be a link between the local government and the central government. This ensured that European interests such as roads, electricity and schools in the colony were to be given priority.


The role of the Local Government

  1. Promote a legal forum for local people to make decisions that touched their day to day affairs.
  2. Make use of local reserves to achieve development
  3. Provide a link between the central government and the rural community.


The Local Native Councils

They were set up in the colony in 1922 after the Legco passed the Native Authority Ordinance to create a forum through which African grievances could be addressed by the colonial government.


Objectives of LNCs

  1. Encouraging and developing a sense of responsibility and duty among the Africans.
  2. Providing a forum in which educated Africans could air their requests at the district level.
  3. Ensure proper restriction of the Africans in their reserves.
  4. Promotes a means in which the government could understand the Africans better so as to contain them.

The L.N.Cs achieved the following

  1. They restricted activities of the Africans especially political agitation
  2. It provided basic social needs e.g. water, cattle dips, public health, education and markets.
  3. It maintained basic infrastructure
  4. Managed to collect taxes to finance their operations.

In 1948 the L.N.C were renamed the African District Councils. Pascal Nabwane became their first African Chairman. This remained the local authority organ in African states until 1963.

The European areas such as Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, Nairobi, Naivasha, Trans Nzoia and Aberdares remained with the Local government. It had more powers and independence.  Africans found in these areas were regarded as migrant labourers who were represented in their reserves.

To maintain law and order, the police and the Kings African Rifles were used. An inspector was appointed from India to co-ordinate all this. The police reserve, regular police and the prisons services were created to maintain discipline, order and good governance.

Impact of the local government

  1. It exploited local resources and initiated development.
  2. It created a link between the central government and the local people.
  3. Helped to maintain law and order using a small police force.
  4. Promoted development of the infrastructure and general welfare of the African sector
  5. Helped in the arbitration of African disputes though the District African Courts.


Factors that undermined the local Government

  1. Acute shortage of trained and experienced personnel
  2. Poor transport and communication which led to poor coordination.
  3. Inadequate revenue to run their operations and suppress revolts.
  4. Rivalry between settlers and the locals which later led to the struggle for freedom.
  5. It clearly projected racial discrimination whereby Africans faced discrimination in the provision of basic services.


By 1890 the process for the scramble and partition of Africa was complete.

To facilitate maximum exploitation of the human and natural resources a relevant colonial system of administration was to be put in place. The following systems were used:

  1. Assimilation as used by French, Belgium and Portuguese
  2. Association used by French in Central Africa
  3. Direct rule used by British, Germans, Dutch and Italians.
  4. Indirect rule as used by the British


Indirect Rule

This policy was advanced by Sir Frederick Lugard, the British High Commissioner in northern Nigeria from 1900 to 1906.

Lugard summed up the ideas of the indirect system of government in his book ‘The Dual Mandate in Tropical Africa’ in which he stated ‘the resident acts as a sympathetic adviser to the native chief, being careful not to interfere so as not to lower his prestige or loose interest in his work. His advise on matters in general policy must be followed, but the native ruler issues instructions to his subordinate chief and district heads not as the elders of the resident but his own’

This indirect system was applied using traditional African rulers, who administered at the local government level while the Europeans occupied the senior positions in the colonies.

There were two factors that influenced this policy

  1. British feared expanding their territory due to the expenses involved
  2. British was keen with her Indian colony than the African possessions therefore she didn’t want to establish direct rule in Africa.

Under the indirect rule, each colony was divided into regions or provinces under P.Cs and each province into districts. The day to day affairs and the local ordinances were left in the hands of the traditional chiefs.

To Lugard, indirect rule was not just a system of giving power to African; he also argued that traditional chiefs needed to be modernized so that the British could use them to introduce modern practices of governance to Africans. This had to be done gradually so as not to disrupt African political structures.

The African practices that were primitive e.g. human sacrifice, slave trade and witchcraft, murder of twins and mutilation of limbs had to be eliminated.




Reasons for Indirect rule

  1. Britain lacked enough manpower to handle all administrative responsibility in the colonies. The British feared to serve in the tropics due to diseases and hardships.
  2. Little money had been set aside for colonial administration by colonialists. Local rulers were therefore used to cut down costs of administration.
  3. They knew that if they introduced direct system of leadership, then Africans communities would resist. The system aimed at making traditional rulers feel that they had not lost their powers.
  4. The policy had succeeded in India and Uganda, so this motivated the British to try the method out in Kenya and Nigeria.

Effects of indirect rule in Kenya

  1. Some African chiefs used their power to acquire wealth in terms of land and livestock.
  2. Appointed administrators facilitated the implementation of colonial rule irrespective of its effect on Africans.
  3. The policy of divide and rule was boosted. Africans were divided in tribal lines.
  4. Chiefs who were appointed were hated by those who rejected colonial rule irrespective of their effects on Africans.
  5. Creation of chiefs in the former stateless societies made them mediators between the rulers and the ruled.
  6. Most of the selected colonial chiefs lacked legitimacy and were rejected by the people. They saw the chiefs as instruments of colonial exploitation and oppression.
  7. There was spread of western civilization in most parts of Kenya in form of schools and hospitals.


The British in Kenya

By 1905, Kenya had become a British protectorate, and the colonial base was shifted from Zanzibar to Nairobi.

By 1914 the British faced the problem of

  1. Not able to establish a good administrative system
  2. Inadequate funds
  3. Lack of experienced personnel to facilitate the administrative system like that of Buganda to be emulated by all Kenyans.

This made the British to operate according to the administrative systems of the different regions of the country therefore applying indirect rule.

The communities that had chiefs e.g. the Wanga and the Maasai had their chiefs recognised by the British.

The British appointed chiefs even over communities where the institution of the chief did not exist e.g. among the Gikuyu. Kinyanjui wa Gathimu was appointed in Kiambu, Karuri wa Gakure in Murang’a and Wang’ombe wa Ihura in Nyeri.

They were appointed because

  1. They were able to speak Kiswahili.
  2. They were able to organize porters who served the colonial administration


In 1902 the Village Headmen Act was enacted and it gave chiefs powers to hear cases, maintain public order and clear roads and footpaths. They would be fined if they failed to perform their duties.

In 1912 another ordinance was passed which increased their powers and responsibilities of the chiefs e.g.

  1. They were allowed to employ other persons to assist them such as messengers.
  2. They were to assist European district officers in the collection of taxes.
  3. They were to control brewing of illegal liquor, cultivation of bhang and carrying of weapons.
  4. They were to mobilize African labour for public works.

The chiefs played an important role since the British personnel were few, young and inexperienced.

However many of the selected chiefs were rejected by the Africa elders and also by the young generation who saw them as instruments of colonial exploitation and oppression.

They were unpopular due to the fact that they used their power to acquire riches which were in terms of land, livestock and wives e.g. Musau wa Mwanza and Nthiwa wa Tama of Kambaland.


Why British used direct rule in Kenya

  1. Britain wanted to ensure effective control over the Africans
  2. Britain desired to control the economy of Kenya to maximize profits
  3. The indigenous institutions/political institutions based on local chiefs had been destroyed during the British occupation of Kenya.
  4. Most of the Kenyan communities had resisted British occupation of Kenya and therefore the British feared revolts
  5. Direct rule was one of the most effective ways of exercising the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885.
  6. The British also felt that their rule was superior to that of the Africans and the main reason for their colonization was to civilize Africans.


The British in Nigeria

The Nigerian protectorate composed of the regions which were administered separately. These were the Lagos colony, the Southern Nigeria protectorate and the Northern Nigeria protectorate.

It was therefore necessary to bring the three separate entities together under one administration. This led to the integration of Lagos into Southern Nigeria in 1906 and in 1914 the Northern and Southern protectorate were merged to form one Nigeria protectorate.

Lugard by then was the British Commissioner of Northern Nigeria in 1900 and by then he was experienced in administration after having employed indirect rule in Uganda.

The following factors motivated him to introduce indirect rule in Nigeria:

  1. Lack of enough manpower to control the entire Nigeria due to the fear of contracting tropical diseases such as malaria. West Africa was referred to as ‘the Whiteman’s grave’ before quinine was invented.
  2. The system was cost effective in that only a few British officials would be employed as the traditional leader would do most of the administrative work.
  3. Indirect rule would dilute African resistance to British rule for the local chiefs and elders who governed during the pre-colonial rule would continue to administer at the local level.
  4. The poor transport and communication network was a serious hurdle for coordination.
  5. Indirect rule had succeeded in Uganda and India.
  6. There was an already existing a well established system of government based on the Islamic law e.g. Emirs had set up courts, armies, police force and an efficient tax collection and education system.
  7. Europeans were ignorant of African languages and culture
  8. It enabled the British to gradually introduce modern ideas to Africans without interfering with their culture.


Administration of Northern Nigeria

Lugard used the centralized government of the Emirs to administer the region. When the Emirs realized that the British didn’t want to displace them they cooperated.

Nigeria was divided into provinces led by a resident P.C.  Below was a D.O and both were Britons.

The Emirs under the D.Os had much power and responsibility to impose and collect taxes as they did before the coming of the British.

In 1904 Lugard ordered that the chiefs pay a quarter of the revenue collected from taxation to the central government and use the remainder for their own needs within the emirates. This included

  1. Wages for messengers and local police
  2. Payment for the clearance of paths and roads.

Emirates were further allowed

  1. To try cases in their Muslim courts and have their own prisons in which the convicts were jailed.
  2. Maintained law and order in their emirates
  3. Elimination of practices that the British could not condone.

The British improved transport network in Nigeria for the following reasons:

  1. To promote trade in the region
  2. To facilitate the movement of colonial administrators
  3. To facilitate the exploitation of natural resources in remote parts of the country
  4. To facilitate evangelism of the colony by facilitating the movement of missionaries.
  5. To speed up communication between Nigeria and Britain
  6. To facilitate the transportation of raw materials or minerals
  7. To speed up transportation of agricultural products and equipments
  8. To raise revenue for the administration of the country.

In 1915 Northern and southern Nigeria were brought under one system of administration inspired by the success of indirect rule in Northern Nigeria. Lugard tried to impose the indirect system on southern Nigeria. It failed due to the following

  1. Southern Nigeria had many ethnic groups with diverse political and religious systems as well as cultural differences. This made it hard to unite them all. This was in contrast with Northern Nigeria which had only two communities (the Fulani and the Hausa) who were Muslims.
  2. The communities despised the Yoruba traditional chiefs (obas) whom Lugard had given power
  3. The Egba chiefs in the south resisted paying taxes and this led to violent riots in 1918 and 1929.
  4. The appointment of traditional chiefs in the south who were young and mission educated offended the elders who rejected them.
  5. The south lacked linguistic unity i.e. the elite spoke English while the local used their local languages making administration difficult.
  6. The elites in south Nigeria resented the appointment of illiterate traditional leaders as chiefs. The chiefs had been given more powers than they deserved.


Effects of indirect rule


  1. The traditional system of administration and justice was modernized in North Nigeria.
  2. African chiefs acquired wealth at the expense of their people e.g. large tracts of land and herds of livestock.
  3. In northern Nigeria, the people were protected by their leaders from foreign ideas e.g. Christianity, western education and technology. This made many jobs in the north to be taken by the educated southerners, the igbo This led to problems during independence when many of the Ibos lost their lives in the inter-communal violence.
  4. It helped to preserve the African culture unlike assimilation which sought to replace them.
  5. It helped in the spread of modern currency
  6. It led to the rise of nationalism because educated Africans were ignored in indirect rule and were not happy.
  7. Modern facilities like schools and hospitals spread in south Nigeria.
  8. Emirs backed by the British had more powers than before.

Demerits of indirect rule

  1. The new duties of the traditional leaders which included collection of taxes and recruitment of labourers made them very unpopular among their subjects.
  2. The local leaders lost their independence to the British making them resent the British.
  3. There was no communication with the African chiefs as the British could not understand the African languages. Instructions were not clearly understood.
  4. The chiefs and their councils usually disregarded what was unfamiliar to them and gave more attention to what they understood well.
  5. Some regions lagged behind in terms of development because the local leaders such as the Emirs opposed radical change in their traditional way of life.
  6. Lugard’s idea of education to chiefs in modern ideas needed long patient and skillful efforts which many British officers lacked and gave up.
  7. Chiefs whose rule did not conform to the British continued being replaced. They were considered as British puppets.
  8. It created suspicion and mistrust between the educated elites and the traditional chiefs who were given power in Southern Nigeria.


Direct rule

This refers to a system of administration where indigenous political and administrative institution and leaders are replaced with an European system.

In this system the European officers ruled directly without any intermediaries.

The system was used in colonies with large population of white settlers such as Algeria and Southern Rhodesia.


The British in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, formerly known as southern Rhodesia, was colonized by the British South Africa Company of John Cecil Rhodes.

Rhodes used his large sums of money to equip a group of South African Europeans who established themselves in the Shona territories from 1890.

More so, it is from Cecil Rhodes that Zimbabwe and Zambia got their colonial name Rhodesia.

The conquest of South Rhodesia was an extension of the South Africa system of white settler domination. From 1893 the white settlers fought the Ndebele a series of wars aimed at getting their land. Owing to their superior arms they defeated them and occupied their fertile land in Mashonaland and Matabeleland.

Under the B.S.A.C the British settlers entrenched themselves economically and politically in Southern Rhodesia.


Characteristics of Direct Rule in Zimbabwe

This was the best example of a colony where direct rule was practiced in Africa.

  1. There were a large number of European settlers. The population had risen from 50,000 by 1931 to 137 000 by 1951. This greatly advantaged them over the Africans.
  2. The British settlers developed the mentality that the territory was meant to be a white settler colony.
  3. The territory had for a long time been ruled by the B.S.A.C between 1890 to 1923.
  4. S.A.C had been headed by an administrator who had a long chain of European civil servants who performed simple administrative duties that were handled by African employees in most other British colonies therefore Europeans born in Africa served in many subordinate positions.
  5. The European government made all decisions. New chiefs who were appointed dethroned the traditional leaders.
  6. The system was applied to the resistors. In this, the local chiefs were deprived of their traditional power and served as organs of the colonial system.
  7. They had an existing legislative council which was dominated by settlers who attained self government in 1923.
  8. The Europeans acquired large tracts of land from the Africans. They began to compel Africans to provide labour.
  9. Racial segregation was also practiced making many Africans to suffer than in any other system of administration


Reasons for direct rule in Zimbabwe

  1. They wanted to acquire full control of the economy, so as to exploit resources such as minerals and farmlands
  2. The induna system had been disrupted during the British conquest of the area.
  3. It was used to ensure full control over the African communities.
  4. The B.S.A.C company officials had been stationed all over the colony.
  5. The Chimurenga uprising of the 1896 to 1897 eroded the European confidence in the traditional African leadership in the colony.


The B.S.A.C administration structure in southern Rhodesia

The company administered the colony from the 1890s when the territory was conquered.

The government was headed by a resident commissioner who had various commissioners in charge of the districts. Below them were the African chiefs whose role was

  1. Collection of taxes
  2. Recruitment of African labourers
  3. Maintenance of law and order in their areas
  4. Allocation of land to Africans
  5. Solving cases involving Africans.


In 1898 the British government set up a legislative council (legco) which was dominated by the European settlers e.g. five were elected while four were nominees. They then created an executive council that consisted of the Resident commissioners and four nominees.


In 1902 a native Affairs department was created and was headed by an European native commissioner.

His work was

  1. Allocate land to Africans
  2. Collect taxes
  3. Recruit African labour

This was the beginning of direct rule in Southern Rhodesia. In this, the African communities were not represented in the Legco and the policies passed were usually discriminative.

In the 1890s, more settlers began to come to Southern Rhodesia. They expected to find a lot of valuable mineral deposits which, was not the case. They retaliated by acquiring more land from African communities.

By 1901 they were 11,000 European settlers in the colony and by 1931 it had gone to 50,000.This population of settlers had a direct impact on the constitutional and administrative development in Southern Rhodesia e.g. the pioneer settlers were given grants of upto 3,000 acre pieces of land.

The B.S.A.C set up separate reserves for Africans in Mashonaland and Matabeleland. By 1915 African reserve covered an area of 24 million acres while European owned 21 million acres leaving 50 million acres unallocated.

Due to the mass powers that the settlers had acquired in the colony, by 1920 they had began considering themselves as real owners of Southern Rhodesia.

The B.S.A.Co officials outnumbered the Europeans settlers hence the company decided to give out its control over to the colony so that Southern Rhodesia could either become a crown colony or be merged with South Africa.


Crown colony rule 1903-1953

Crown land is land owned by the state headed by the Queen. When a vote was taken among the settlers to decide whether to merge with South Africa or to develop separately, many of the settlers opted for separate development due to the following

  1. They felt that a merger with South Africa would lead to domination by the Afrikaner in political matters.
  2. They feared that their economic interest would be neglected in favour of the Afrikaners.

In 1925 Southern Rhodesia became a crown colony and a new constitution was drawn.

A governor was appointed to represent the queen of England and the settlers were given the freedom in running the colony.

In 1923 the white settlers in Southern Rhodesia formulated a new policy ‘the two pyramids policy’ or ‘the parallel development policy’ to run the colony. This was a racist policy similar to the apartheid policy co-opted by the South Africa regime, and it was dominated by discrimination against the Africans.

Under the policy the minority whites occupied the upper ranks of the pyramid while the majority Africans formed the base i.e. meaning that the whites took higher positions in the economic and political systems while Africans were given the position of cheap labourers for white settlers.

This policy was supported by two main pillars:

  1. The land apportionment Act of 1930.
  2. The industrial conciliation Act of 1934.


The land apportionment Act of 1930

In 1925, the government established a commission to make recommendations on the future of 50 million acres of unallocated land in the colony. The finding of the commission led to the Land Apportionment Act of 1930 which became the greatest charter of Southern Rhodesia.

The Act introduced rigid territorial segregation e.g. it divided land into whites and Africans portion, i.e. Africans cold not acquire land outside their set up areas.

The minority whites acquired half of the best of the fertile land while Africans were settled in the harsh semi arid areas infested with tsetseflies and mosquitoes.

Under the act, land was categorized into four areas

  1. Native Reserve areas set aside for the Africans population. It was not enough.
  2. Native purchase areas. It was set aside for Africans to buy land though the area had harsh climatic conditions.
  3. Europeans area. It was set aside for whites only.
  4. The undesignated area was set aside for expansion of government buildings and other uses, a total of 18 million acres.




Results of the apportionment Act

  1. It made Africans to migrate to mines, towns, European farms where they provided cheap labour. Here, they were molested and not paid.
  2. Led to land alienation i.e. 50 000 whites got 49 million acres of land. Africans got only 29 million. This led to overgrazing, soil erosion and land deterioration among the Africans.
  3. Widespread poverty among the Africans. Those in towns lived in slums and those in the reserves starved.
  4. Change in social roles as men moved to towns to look for jobs leaving women to do their jobs.
  5. Racial segregation was done openly in the urban areas.
  6. It led to political demand for land for the Africans
  7. Africans were forced to pay taxes in order to provide labour to the Europeans.


The Industrial conciliation Act of 1934

The act was designed to protect white workers from African competition e.g.

Africans were prohibited from forming trade unions.

Africans were made to offer labour at low wages for the benefit of European employors.

The result was that Africans were reduced to manual labourers while the Europeans did the skilled labour.

The poor living conditions of the African communities led to increased nationalist awareness among labourers. This too was intensified by the World War 2 in which African fought hard for the success of the British, just for the British to reward themselves with large tracts of land as African ex-soldiers became more oppressed.

Africans became more agitated making the government to invite more settlers into Zimbabwe. The settlers began to agitate for the formation of a federation comprising Zimbabwe, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi)

They hoped that if all the settlers in the three territories ganged up they would wield more power at the expense of the African communities.


Central African Federation

In 1953 the British government gave approval for the formation of a central African federation (C.A.F) which comprised of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.

The federation was organized as follows:

  1. Each territory had its own government responsible for the local administration
  2. Each government was responsible for all aspects of native affairs within the boundaries.
  3. The British government was directly involved in the administration of the two northern protectorates.
  4. An African affairs board was established to ensure that no racist legislation against the Africans was passed in the Federal Parliament.
  5. The federal parliament was given powers to deal with all matters involving more than one territory.

The resolutions led to mass protests from the Africans. Garfield Todd, the prime ministers of the federation was sympathetic to the Africans hence he legalized trade Unions and gave more funds for Africans education and agriculture.

Later on, Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia which were directly under the British government began to demand political independence especially after Ghana got her independence in March 1957.

In 1963 Central African Federation was dissolved and Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland became politically independent.


The reign of Ian Smith in Southern Rhodesia

In the 1962 Rhodesia elections, Rhodesian Front Party led by Ian Smith won the election. The extremist party members had no regard for Africans.

In 1965 Ian Smith led the settlers to declare a Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Britain (U.D.I). This meant that the political leadership of the country was fully in the hands of the white settlers and not the British government.

This also meant that they had rebelled against the British government and were now politically independent.

This declaration provoked instant protests from not only the Africans, but also from the international community for this meant that the new regime would also exploit Africans to a greater extend.

Britain asked the U.N to punish U.D.I. by imposing trade sanctions. However, as a number of countries especially in Africa supported the U.N, others such as Portugal and South Africa continued to trade with Southern Rhodesia making the sanctions ineffective.

In 1970 the U.D.I regime declared itself a republic and established a new constitution which enhanced the position of the whites within the colony. This was done in two ways:

  1. Voting qualifications for Africans were revised and was based on income automatically restricting the Africans from voting.
  2. The Land tenure system was revised to enable Europeans purchase land from the government.

Meanwhile the U.D.I of 1965 provoked Africans in Southern Rhodesia to set up an armed struggle against the colonial government.

The war of independence began in Southern Rhodesia in April 1966. The Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) under Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU) under Joshua Nkomo formed a patriotic front to evict the settlers from the country. They waged guerrilla warfare against the U.D.I regime.

However there was a lot of pressure exerted within Southern Rhodesia and from her neighbouring countries namely Zambia and Mozambique where the guerrilla were hosted and also from the U.N. This forced the U.D.I regime to give up and in 1980 Zimbabwe became independent with Robert Mugabe as the first Prime Minister.


Effects of the rule of the British in Zimbabwe

  1. Land alienation i.e. large tracts of land were taken from the Africans by the white settlers, which led to the displacement of many Africans from their ancestral land.
  2. The African traditional chiefs lost their authority and political power
  3. Africans were exposed to exploitation, forced labour and brutal payments of taxes.
  4. Africans were forced to move into the lands of the whites so as to offer cheap labour
  5. There was separation of families as men went to seek means of livelihood.
  6. White settlers enhanced cash crop farming. Trade transport and industry were developed in the settler regions
  7. The British rule in Zimbabwe provoked African nationalism as the Africans could not bear the economic exploitation and political domination.
  8. The British never consulted Africans or referred to them where Africans interests were concerned.
  9. The minority government of white settlers declared a unilateral independence over Zimbabwe.
  10. African culture was undermined with the introduction of Christianity.
  11. White settlers were able to enhance production of cash crops, transport, trade and industry were also developed in settlers region.
  12. There was a lot of racial segregation in the government, economic and social sector



The term assimilation means ‘similar to’ meaning that the assimilated Africans were to be same as Europeans in terms of culture.

The policy of assimilation was perfected by Lewis Faidherbe in Senegal.

The Europeans countries which practiced assimilation believed that their culture and civilization were superior to those of the Africans. The French considered their culture and civilization to be the best in the world, and that French had a mission to educate her colonial peoples in this rich heritage.

In this system, the French destroyed all African chiefdoms and by 1937 only 50 of them existed with little prestige in the whole of West Africa.

     Requirements for Africans to be assimilated

  1. One must read, write and speak French language
  2. One must be converted to Christianity
  3. Knowing and practicing French legal system
  4. Knowing and practicing French civil and political system
  5. Those who had distinguished record in military service
  6. One who had learned French mannerism e.g. eating and dressing habits.
  7. People from the four communes in Senegal


As years went by, the policy of assimilation changed to the concept of association, which had been initially developed and applied by Savorganan de Brazza in central Africa and Senegal.

In this policy of association, the subjects were to be left to develop independently within their own cultures.

The policy was turned to when it was realized that it was impractical because non-westerners were racially inferior and would never be accepted as equal to the Europeans.


The French in Senegal

They had a highly centralized system. They believed in efficiency and uniformity.

French acquired eight colonies which were grouped into the federation of French West Africa and were governed from one capital, Dakar in Senegal.

The federation was governed by a governor general who was answerable to the French minister for colonies in Paris and below him were Lieutenant Governor in charge of constituent colonies.

Each colony was divided into units called provinces which were further divided into districts, then locations and sub-locations.


Minister for colonies (Paris)

Governor General (Dakar)

Commandant de carcle (In charge of province)

Chief de sub-division (in charge of district)

Chiefs de Canton (in charge of location)

Chief de village (in charge of sub-location)


However, many of the French colonial officials lacked education. Most of them were military officials who were rewarded with senior posts for their role in colonial conquest. This then led to a lot of inefficiency.

In the French lower House of parliament, there was a representative from each colony.

The policy of assimilation was only applied in the four communes i.e. St Louis, Goree, Rufisque and Dakar. Elsewhere Africans were ruled through their local chiefs who were in three categories:

  1. Chiefs de Province – equivalent to paramount chief usually successions of pre-colonial chiefs.
  2. Chief de canton – were chiefs appointed by the French officials due to their ability. His duty was to register taxpayers, helped in conscription of Africans into the army and assisted in mobilization of forced labour.
  3. Chief de village were traditional heads of the village. Their roles were collection of taxes, maintenance of law and order, organizing relief during famine and maintenance of roads in their areas.


The French policy of assimilation applied fully only in Senegal’s four provinces of Goree, St Louis, Dakar and Rufisque. In this the Africans enjoyed full political rights just like the Frenchman e.g.

  1. They enjoyed French citizenship for the Senegalese who qualified to become assimilated
  2. The French elected representatives called deputies to the French national chamber of deputies and Blaise Diagne was the first Senegalese deputy.
  3. They were provided with the same education rights like the French people in France.
  4. They were protected by the French constitution
  5. They were enfranchised like the French people in France
  6. They were allowed trading rights like the French people
  7. They were allowed to serve in the French civil service
  8. They were allowed to operate local authority structures which were similar to those in France.


Characteristics of Assimilation

The French system of assimilation had several distinctive features. These included administrative, political, economic and personal assimilation.

  1. Administrative assimilation. This involved the administrative relationship between the French colonies and the mother country. The colonies were regarded as overseas or departments.
  2. Political assimilation. This involved a close political identity between colonies of France. The colonies were represented in the French chamber of deputies (Lower House of the French parliament)
  3. Economic Assimilation. This involved the integration of the metropolis (parent country) economically with that of the colonies. The French currency was used in the colonies to promote the economic relationship.
  4. Personal assimilation. In this Africans in the French colonies e.g. Senegal were given French citizenship and other privileges enjoyed by the French.

Reasons for Assimilation in Senegal

The population of Senegal, especially in the four communities was prone to assimilation because

  1. There was a high percentage of mulattoes (children of mixed parentage between Africans and Europeans) This began way back in 1800 when the French population rose in St Louis. The French made traders intermingle with African women giving rise to light skinned mulatto population, many of whom are found in Senegal today. This population accepted and identified with the French culture making it easy for the French to apply the policy of assimilation.
  2. The Africans in the communes were familiar with European traders, colonial administration and missionaries due to their long period of interaction.
  3. Many of the people in the communes had been converted to Christianity therefore found it easy to accept the policy of assimilation.

The Africans in Senegal enjoyed a privileged status and all the indigenous inhabitants enjoyed civil and political rights equal to those of European Frenchmen.

The term originaires was used to refer to the Africans who were French citizens by birth. The originaries were under the Islamic law unlike other Africans in the west who had to follow the French law.

The Africans who lived outside the four communes could only qualify if they were able to read and write, and had knowledge of the French language, showed loyalty to the French government and worked for a number of years in the civil service.


Why Assimilation failed/Factors that undermined application of the French policy of Assimilation

  1. Some African communities had never came into contact with the Europeans therefore were still intact with their culture. It was therefore difficult to assimilate them.
  2. French was mainly motivated by economic factors i.e. get raw materials at home and markets for her manufactured goods. This objective could not be achieved through the Africans who had attained the assimile status.
  3. Making Africans equal to the French men would make it difficult to force Africans to work in the French farms and mines.
  4. The Frenchmen feared that the assimilated Africans could become serious economic rivals in trade.
  5. Assimilation proved to be expensive, i.e. schools and hospitals and other facilities had to be assimilated in the whole of West Africa, which was vast.
  6. Traditional rulers refused to lose their authority over assmiles hence objected to policy of assimilation.
  7. Muslims resisted the attempt to convert them to Christianity.
  8. French citizens in France opposed the policy as they feared being outnumbered in the chamber of deputies.
  9. There was the problem of racial discrimination. This was because the Frenchmen never accepted assimilated Africans as their equals.
  10. The colonial period did not last long enough to enable the Africans change their culture.
  11. The vastness of the French colonies made it difficult to supervise the implementation of the policy of assimilation. They did not have adequate personnel.


Consequences/effects of Assimilation in Senegal

  1. This policy undermined African cultures e.g. many Africans embraced the French culture e.g. French became the official language in the colony.
  2. Traditional African leaders lost their authority as they were replaced by assimilated Africans.
  3. The colony was incorporated into the French as an overseas province of France.

Africans from Senegal were allowed to take part in political matters of France e.g. Blaise Diagne was elected as a deputy in the French parliament.

  1. Islam was greatly frustrated as Africans were forced to get converted to Christianity.
  2. There was a great rift between the assimilated Africans who were regarded as French citizens and the rest of the African communities who were opposed to forced labour and taxation.
  3. Africans from Senegal were allowed to participate in the political affairs of France as deputies and ministers in French government.
  4. It created a class of privileged Africans who were regarded to be equal with white French people. Some Africans became citizens of France while others became subjects.
  5. It led to the rise of nationalism in Senegal as Africans in Senegal fought for their culture.


The Policy of Association

This concept had already been developed and applied by Savorgan De Brazza in Central Africa.

In this policy, the French colonial government was to respect the cultures of her colonial people and allow them to develop independently rather that force them to French culture and civilization.

The French adapted this policy after the failure of the assimilation. In the new policy of association

  1. The assimilated Africans were regarded as French citizens as the other Africans were treated as subjects or second class citizens. This French civil and criminal law did not apply to them.
  2. The assimilated Africans retained their cultural practices e.g. polygamy and Islam.
  3. The subjects came under the system of law known as In this, the subjects could suffer arrest or be forced to serve a longer period in the army than the assimilated citizens.


Comparison between British and French administration


  1. The British appointed traditional rulers e.g. chiefs while the French handpicked individuals who met their qualification e.g. had embraced the French culture and civilization.
  2. The British gave the traditional rulers a lot of power unlike the French who undermined African chiefs.
  3. The British colonies were administered by a governor accountable to Britain, unlike the French colonies which were governed as federations.
  4. Most of the French administrators were military officers while the British used a mixture of amateurs and professionals.
  5. The British mainly applied the policy of indirect rule while the French applied the policy of assimilation, which failed and they applied association.
  6. The French colonies elected their representatives to the chamber of deputies in France while the British colonies had legislative councils whose policies were debated in the colonies.
  7. Laws applied in French colonies were made in France while in British colonies laws were enacted by legislative councils.
  8. In French colonies assimilated Africans became French citizens with full rights while the elite in the British colonies remained colonial subjects.
  9. Indirect rule preserved Africans cultures while assimilation undermined them.

Main Similarities

  1. European administrators were in full charge of senior positions in government.
  2. Africans were subjected to oppressive colonial rule e.g. forced labour, taxation, and denial of right to vote.
  3. In both there was massive economic exploitation of Africans e.g. their natural sources were depleted and were forced to offer forced labour in mines and plantations.
  4. There was the establishment of chiefs in stateless societies e.g. the Somali of Kenya.

The various systems of colonial administration in Africa had the following in common.

  1. Weakened the traditional political institutions by undermining the authority of the traditional chiefs.
  2. Subjected the Africans to forced labour and taxation.

However the legacy of colonial administration systems and structures such as provinces, districts and locations is still evident in many African countries to this day.



Topic 4




     After establishing a protectorate over East Africa, the British were faced with the challenge of making her new territory economically productive to ease the burden of the British taxpayers.

The administration had to lure Europeans from Britain, South Africa, Australia and Canada to come and settle on the vast empty lands of Kenya.

To make the colony fit for European settlement, certain policies were formulated and structures were put up to facilitate changes in infrastructure, agriculture, education and health.



The Uganda Railway

It was built between 1890 and 1901 with George Whitehouse as the engineer.

Work was done by 32,000 Indian coolies and 5,000 clerks and craftsmen.

It cost the British taxpayers about 6million Sterling pounds.


Reasons for the construction

  1. Need to facilitate fast movement of troops to trouble spots.
  2. It was in accordance with the Berlin Conference to develop infrastructure within ones territory to promote economic development and be firmly in control.
  3. It was needed for easy movement into the interior to spread Christianity and replace slave trade with legitimate trade.
  4. The railway would enhance access to Uganda, a strategic territory via the Kenyan coast, hence the name the Kenya-Uganda Railway.
  5. To facilitate the transportation of Agriculture products from the interior to Mombasa and vice versa
  6. Existence of economic potential for exploitation led to the development of proper infrastructure to promote trade and transportation of exports.


The construction lacked labourers since the Africans were not willing to offer labour and also lacked technical skills. The British government brought in coolies from India to undertake the construction.

It was accompanied by feeder lines that included Nairobi-Thika, Konza-Magadi, Voi-Moshi, Kitale-Eldoret, Eldoret-Jinja, Gilgil-Nyahururu, Thika-Nanyuki and Kisumu-Butere.

By 1948 the Kenya – Uganda railway network had been linked with the Tanganyika network to form the East Africa railways.


Problems faced by the Railway builders

  1. Harsh climate across the coastal plains, the dry Nyika and Taru desert was intolerable due to heat and dehydration. Some areas had heavy rains.
  2. Tropical diseases such as smallpox, malaria and jigger attacks slowed down the progress.
  3. Attack by the man-eaters of Tsavo reduced the hours of work and caused mass desertions by labourers.
  4. Shortages of food, water and medicine.
  5. Railway materials and equipments were usually delayed and were costly.
  6. They faced hostility from interior communities e.g. the Maasai. The Nandi stole their telegraphic wires to make ornaments and weapons.
  7. The terrain across the highlands into the Rift Valley was rugged and expensive to level therefore caused engineering problems that took a long time to solve.
  8. The importation of coolies, clerks and craftsmen from India caused delays and additional costs.


Results of the Railway construction

  1. It led to importation of many Asians who embarked on business. They set up shops that were referred to as Dukas that catered for Africans and Europeans.
  2. It led to growth of urban centresg. Nairobi, Naivasha, Nakuru, Voi.
  3. It led to settlement of many Europeans in the interior who later developed large scale plantation farming on the white highlands
  4. It created employment for many Africans and Indians.
  5. It enabled the missionaries to move into the interior where they set up mission stations, churches and schools.
  6. Led to the development of other forms of transport and communication (e.g. telegraph) along the railway, such as roads that linked trading and agricultural centres
  7. It opened up the interior for the British administration.
  8. Speeded up the development of agriculture and industry e.g. agro-based industries like flour milling and milk processing developed
  9. It led to export and import trade
  10. It became a major revenue source for the colonial authorities.
  11. There was massive land alienation for railway construction with the Maasai and Nandi being herded into reserves.
  12. It facilitated cultural and social interactions among different races.
  13. It promoted rural-urban migration and enterprise activities such as hawking and charcoal selling became possible among Africans.
  14. It led to settlement of Asian community in Kenya, who took to business in most major towns in the colonial Kenya.
  15. The Indians introduced the Indian Rupee which became the first modern currency in Kenya.


Settler Farming in Kenya

The government encouraged settlers to settle in Kenya by providing them with land, loans, labour, transport and security.

The main aim was to raise revenue to meet the cost of administering the colony and building the Uganda railway.

Many settlers took up land in areas that were suitable for cash crops e.g. coffee and tea. They were faced with the problem of

  1. Crop and animal diseases
  2. Shortage of labour
  • Lack of farm inputs
  1. Attacks by the Africans


Reasons why settlers were persuaded/encouraged to come to Kenya

  1. Desire to exploit the highlands to meet the cost of administration and railway maintenance, which would spare the British taxpayers.
  2. Need for cheaper raw materials hence the growing of coffee, tea, sisal, pyrethrum and cotton by the settlers.
  3. The settlers would control the prevailing Asian immigration and influence in Kenya.
  4. The colonial government wanted to make Kenya a white man’s country therefore they encouraged white settlers to come.
  5. The Africans didn’t have the funds and technical know-how to be used in large-scale farming.
  6. The Kenya highlands were suitable for European settlement in terms of climate and soils.


Efforts made by the government to promote settler farming

  1. The government snatched large tracts of land and gave them to the settlers.
  2. To eliminate any competition for labour, land and markets they banned Africans from growing cash crops.
  3. They built and maintained various forms of transport i.e. railways, bridges and roads and therefore reduced freight charges on the importation and exportation of agricultural inputs.
  4. Government encouraged formation of co-operatives to help in processing and marketing of the produce.
  5. Government provided extension services for crop and animal farming through the setting up of the department of Agriculture and research stations.
  6. The government provided security to the settlers against hostile communities which enabled them carry out their activities.
  7. The removal of trade tariffs which were a barrier to trade greatly helped the settlers.
  8. The government provided continued flow of African labour to the settlers.


Methods used by colonial government to acquire labour for settlers

  1. Africans were put in the reserves which made them look for wage labour to earn their livelihood
  2. Introduction of hut tax which forced Africans to work for settler to earn 2 rupee required annually.
  3. Chiefs and headmen were forced to recruit labourers for public work and for settlers.
  4. Africans were given small pieces of land on which to cultivate their own food in settler farms in exchange for labour.
  5. Native registration where all males above 16 years were required to carry kipande which was kept by the employer to ensure employees do not desert duty.
  6. Africans were not allowed to grow cash crops so as not to compete with whites.
  7. Colonial administration confiscated livestock from Africans making them poor so as to seek wage labour in the settler farms.
  8. The Master–Servant Ordinance of 1906 made it an offence for any African to evade duty. This would lead to imprisonment.
  9. Africans were offered low wages so as to offer permanent service to Europeans.



Problems experienced by settlers in the early years:

  1. Constant raids of their farms by the local inhabitants such as the Nandi, Maasai and Agikuyu.
  2. Africans were not willing to offer labour needed to clear the bushes and prepare land.
  3. Settlers lacked basic farming knowledge and experience since they had not engaged in farming before.
  4. Lack of capital hindered the buying of farm inputs, machinery, labour and money for the day to day operations.
  5. Marketing was difficult during the inter-war period due to the economic depression of the 1930s.
  6. They lacked roads and railway for transport.
  7. Settlers were unfamiliar with the soils and the climate of Kenya.
  8. Pests and diseases were dominant in the highlands. They affected them and their animals.


Main crops grown


It was introduced by the Roman Catholic fathers of St. Austin’s Mission near Nairobi in 1889.

It was only grown by the whites.

Lord Delamere formed the coffee planters Association in 1908 which encouraged coffee growing. By 1913 coffee crop in Kenya had become a leading cash crop. It was grown in Thika, Kiambu and Murang’a by settlers.

     Africans were not allowed to grow it due to the following reasons:

Africans grown coffee would be prone to diseases, which could easily spread to their farms.

Africans lacked knowledge in coffee cultivation therefore would lower the quality of Kenyan coffee.

African labour would not be available for Europeans since they would pay the taxes from the sale of the coffee.

Africans would bring competition to the Europeans yet they were to monopolize it.


Wheat was introduced by Lord Delamere in 1903 on his Njoro farm. However his efforts were frustrated by the wheat rust disease. After research, a rust resistant variety was developed and from 1912 wheat farming continued.

In 1908 Lord Delamare set up a flour mill, Unga Ltd which boosted wheat farming.

Later on, it spread to Nakuru and Uasin Gishu areas.

Wheat was also cultivated by only European settlers from Australia, Canada, Britain and South Africa. Africans began to grow it after independence.


Sisal was introduced into Kenya from Tanganyika in 1893 by Richard Hindorf, a Germany Doctor. It was initially grown around Thika. By 1920 it was 2nd to coffee. It was mainly grown by the Europeans.

The main sisal growing areas were Baringo, Koibatek, Ol Donyo Sabuk, Ruiru, Thika, Murang’a, Voi, Taita Taveta.

Africans began to grow it in 1964 but faced competition due to the introduction of artificial fibres.


It was introduced in Kenya in 1903 around Limuru by Messes Caine Brothers. It didn’t succeed until after 1925.

In 1925, large tea companies e.g. Brooke Bond and African Highlands Tea from India were formed. The steady high demand for tea and coffee made many farmers to grow it on large scale.

The main teabelts were Nandi, Kericho, Sotik, Nakuru, Murang’a and Kiambu.

Stock Rearing

Exotic breeds were introduced into Kenya by lord Delamere. He tried with sheep and cattle at his equator Ranch in Njoro.

He faced the following problems

  1. Raids from the Maasai
  2. Diseases like the East Coast Fever and Rinderpest.
  3. Sheep died of mineral deficiencies
  4. Spent much on buying equipments, improving animals, building cattle sheds and dairies.

He only succeeded after cross breeding exotic types of local stock which gave rise to more resistant varieties.

Delamere’s efforts in dairy farming led to the establishment of K.C.C in 1925. The Uplands Bacon factory was established near Limuru and it promoted pig rearing. In 1930 Kenya Farmers Association was established.


Colonial land Policies in Kenya

The colonial government encouraged farmers to establish large scale agriculture. Land alienation was necessary to make this possible.


Land Acts or Ordinances/Policies

A number of land acts and ordinances were passed by the legislative council to empower the settlers to take up much of the arable lands. Land allocation was based on racial lines in the highlands with Asians and Africans being disregarded. The following policies were enacted

  1. The Indian acquisition Act (1896) empowered the authorities to take over land for the railway, government constructions and public utilities.
  2. The land regulation Act (1897) allowed the government to offer a certificate of acquisition and a lease of 99 years. It encouraged settlers to take up land left ‘vacant’ by the Gikuyu due to drought and famine.
  3. The East African Order in Council (1901) defined crownland as ‘all public land’ The government could take away any land at will, sell it or lease it for use by settlers.
  4. The Crown land ordinance of 1902 allowed the government to sell or lease crown land to Europeans at 2 rupees per 100 acres or rent it at 15 rupees per 100 acres annually.
  5. The Maasai agreement of 1904 pushed the Maasai into the Laikipia and Ngong’ reserves. Settlers were encouraged to come and take up Maasai land for livestock farming. This made Lord Delamere to take large tracts of land in Nakuru.
  6. In 1905 four more African reserves were created in the Kikuyu and Nandi areas.
  7. The 1907 Government Confirmation that the highlands were reserved for settlers. This was in opposition to Asian attempts to buy land in the highlands.
  8. The 1911 second Maasai Agreement which pushed the Maasai out of the fertile Laikipia reserve to create room for European settlement and large scale farming. The Maasai moved to the Ngong reserves.
  9. The 1915 Crown Land Ordinance provided a land registration scheme for settlers. Crown land referred to land occupied by and reserved for Africans who could be evicted at any time. This land could be sold or simply curved out for settlers.
  10. The Kenya Annexation Order in Council (1920) announced that Africans were tenants of the crown even in the reserves.
  11. The Land Commission of 1924 fixed the boundaries of the reserves which were later legalized in 1926.
  12. The 1930 Natives Lands Trust Ordinance stated that Africans reserves belonged to Africans permanently.
  13. The Carter Commission of 1932 fixed the boundaries of the white highlands leading to population pressure in the African reserves.
  14. The Kenya highlands Order in Council (1939) fixed the boundaries of the white highlands and reserved them permanently and exclusively for Europeans.


Impact of colonial land policies

  1. The land policies put Africans at the mercy of the colonial government i.e. they lost their land and were denied the right to own land in the reserves. This created a sense of insecurity and bitterness, e.g. by 1904 220,000 acres of land were owned by 13 European settlers living in Kenya. By 1914, 5 million acres of land had been taken from the Africans and lord Delamere and captain Grogan owned 100,000 and 200,000 acres respectively.
  2. The best available land was carved out for the construction of the railway, European settler farming and missionary work. The Kikuyu, Nandi, Maasai were offended as the white highlands were made purely the property of Europeans.
  3. Africans were pushed into reserves specially set aside for them. In the reserves there was overcrowding, overstocking and soil erosion. The reserves were also semi-arid and had poor soil for agriculture leading to poverty and misery among the Africans.
  4. Africans became squatters i.e. provided labour in exchange for tax money. Some went to towns to seek for paid employment.
  5. Land alienation disrupted traditional structures. Migration in search of better lands and pasture stopped. Women became heads of families as men went to search for jobs.
  6. Unwillingness of the Africans to offer labour made Europeans face labour shortage. This led to the introduction of the Kipande system i.e. in this all adult Africans had to carry an identity card to prevent laborers from deserting their employees and for easy labour recruiting.
  7. Introduction of taxation to force Africans seek wage employment e.g. a tax of 2 rupees per annum was introduced which forced Africans to go and work for the Europeans.
  8. The reserve of the highlands for the Europeans denied the Indian access to agricultural land therefore forced them to establish residences and businesses in urban centres.
  9. The land issue was among the factors that led to the formation of political movements and violent movements e.g. the mau mau.
  10. There was development of classes among Africans e.g. the wealthy verses the poor. This created a gap between the few rich and the minority poor.


The Devonshire white paper (1923)

The formation of the League of Nations marked a major turning point in the history of the British occupation of Kenya.

The league forced the British in Kenya to address the African grievances. In 1922 Sir Edward Northey was accused of having given too much power to the settlers.

This made the British government to change her position in line with the expectation of the League for the maintenance of global peace and security.

Back in Kenya the conflict between European settlers, Asians and Africans on land had intensified.

The following reforms took place in 1922

  1. Governor Northey was removed and was replaced with Sir Robert Cornydon.
  2. Racial segregation was abandoned in Kenya apart from White highlands
  3. Four Asians were elected to the legislative Council which had initially been dominated by the British.

In reaction to this, in March 1923 a delegation was sent to London by the settlers to settle scores with the secretary for colonies, the Duke of Devonshire. The outcome of this meeting was a fundamental set of principals referred to as ‘The Devonshire white Paper’


Terms of the Devonshire White paper

The paper stated that

  1. The Kenya highlands were to be exclusively for white settlers.
  2. Indians could elect five members to the Legco on a communal roll.
  3. The European settlers demand for self government in Kenya was rejected.
  4. Racial discrimination in all the residential areas plus restrictions on immigration was abolished.
  5. The interests of the Africans were to be given priority before those of the other races in the event of conflict, for Kenya is an African country and interests of the Africans were paramount.
  6. Colonial Secretary would exercise strict control over the affairs of the colony.
  7. A missionary would be nominated to the Legco to represent the interests of the Africans.
  8. Settlers had to maintain their representation in the Legco.


Implication of the White Paper

The paper left the settlers, Indians, and Africans more dissatisfied than before.

The Indians

  1. Opposed the total settler dominance in Kenya by calling for equality for all races.
  2. They opposed the fact that the government was inviting more settlers to check Indian migration in Kenya.
  3. They demanded for direct and adequate representation in the Legco, based on common elections. The Indian congress refused to cooperate with the government
  4. They opposed the separate taxation and education for Europeans and Indian.


The Settlers

  1. They opposed the Indian call for equality and termed it as unrealistic and wishful thinking
  2. They felt that racial discrimination would be justified since European culture was superior
  3. They claimed that they had a moral right to protect African interests. They’d better listen to Africans that Indians.
  4. They felt the highlands were theirs and they had a legal claim over them

In reality, Devonshire White Paper was an outcome of the struggle between the European and Asians. It later came to be known as ‘the Indian Question’ therefore the Asians joined the Africans in their struggle for freedom especially in the trade Union movement.

The Africans

  1. Wanted their land back
  2. Abolition of the Kipande and squatters system
  3. African representation in the government
  4. They wanted to be given freedom to offer labour the way they wished



Significance/results of the Devonshire White Paper

  1. Denied the Asians the right to settle in the highlands which were reserved for Europeans settlement.
  2. It intensified the rivalry between the Indians and settlers leading to Indian refusal to take up seats in the Legco.
  3. Led to the appointment of John Arthur (missionary) to represent the African interests in the Legco.
  4. The whites in the colony felt betrayed by the paper as they did not achieve their goal of self independence.
  5. The problem of land and labour affecting the Africans was not resolved
  6. Kenya was declared an African territory and the interests of the Africans became paramount whenever there was racial conflict.



Before the coming of colonialists, towns such as Mombasa, Lamu and Malindi were already at the coast. Many of the towns that grew up in the interior did so during the colonial time.


Factors that led to urbanization in colonial Kenya

  1. The construction of the railway. This enabled towns like Voi, Makindu, Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu to come up. They served as resting points and places for replenishing their supplies.
  2. The dukas put up by the Asians along railway line grew up into commercial centres.
  3. Administrative posts set up by the colonial government grew up into towns. This included Machakos, Murang’a, Mumias and Kapsabet.
  4. Plantation cash crop farming led to the growth of urban centres that served as markets, for the sale of the crops and buying of farm inputs. Examples of such towns were Eldoret, Nakuru, Naivasha and Sotik.
  5. Agro-based industries such as flour mills wheat processing plants and saw mills attracted labourers. They grew into urban centres.
  6. Mining also drew people to areas such as Magadi and Kakamega where soda ash and gold was found.
  7. Rural-urban migration led to the high influx of Africans into urban areas leading to the development of towns.


Reasons why African moved to urban centres in colonial Kenya

  1. They got attracted by the recreational facilities and other social amenities. They were fed up with the degrading conditions in the reserves.
  2. There were jobs in the towns with better wages than in rural areas.
  3. Land alienation had pushed Africans into reserves forcing them to seek alternative livelihood in towns.
  4. Rural-urban migration was a way of escaping forced labour and taxation.
  5. African entrepreneurs wanted to take advantage of the wider markets in towns to escape poverty in the crowded reserves.




Results of urbanization during colonial rule

The growth of urban centres had both favourable and adverse impact on the social, economic and political lives of the people in colonial Kenya.

Positive effects

  1. Led to interaction between people of different ethnic and racial background who shared ideas and formed common grounds especially African and Asians and later formed political association for the struggle of independence.
  2. Contact between people of different backgrounds watered down the difference between the Kenyan communities and instilled in them a sense of nationhood therefore promoting national unity.
  3. Welfare Associations were formed to cater for the needs of the Africans e.g. the Bara Association formed in Mombasa helped to lessen hostilities and forged unity.
  4. The sporting and cultural activities which took place in towns cemented relationship between different ethnic groups and races.
  5. Many Africans got employed in industries, Europeans homes and small scale businesses such as hawking, shoe shining, shoe repairing and charcoal selling.
  6. Led to industrial expansion due to the abundant labour force and raw materials.
  7. It led to the emergence of a class of wealthy Africans who earned their living by selling their labour.


Negative Impacts

  1. With influx of Africans in towns, unemployment increased since jobs were few. As a result, crime and poverty increased.
  2. Poverty in the urban areas led to the growth of slum and poor sanitation.
  3. Desperation and poverty in the slums saw people turn to drug abuse and promiscuity hoping to escape from their troubles.
  4. Some migrants became fully urbanized and lost contact with their rural villages. There was erosion of African traditions and morals as Africans imitated western culture.
  5. The employers took advantage of the large labour supply and began to underpay the workers. This led to the formation of trade unions to fight for their rights.
  6. Racial discrimination was perpetuated in towns and it led to continued hostilities and mistrust among races living in urban areas.
  7. The Kipande system became stricter as more regulations were put forward to control the number of African migrants.
  8. The Economic activities in the rural areas were disrupted by the absence of men as most duties had to be done by women and children.


Education and Health

Western education and health care were introduced in Kenya by Christian missionaries. The church missionary society (C.M.S) set up schools at Robai in1884 and Mombasa in 1873.

The completion of the Kenya-Uganda railway saw the construction of more schools, churches and hospitals.



Upto 1925 Kenyans were only provided with technical and agricultural skills. The British refused to give Africans higher education as they claimed that they had no mental capacity to pursue higher education.

They therefore gave them industrial education which would prepare them for jobs such as clerks and office messengers.

In response to this, the Africans formed independent schools to provide quality education to their people. Formal education was provided by four groups

  1. Christian missionaries
  2. The colonial government through local councils
  3. The Africans themselves
  4. Community organizations (Asians)

However the period between 1940 and 1963 saw a lot of improvement in the provision of education. This was due to the following reasons:

  1. The experiences of the ex-soldiers in World War 2 gave them the advantages of higher education.
  2. There was increase in improvement of the African education sector.
  3. The need to produce better and more skilled manpower for the future independent Kenya.
  4. Primary schools produced qualified children who needed higher education.


Missionary Education

There was an increasing demand for missionary education and medical work. Reading and writing had become a requisition for which to enjoy better lifestyles.

From 1911, the provision of education spread as the government gave grants in aid of mission schools. By 1926 a good number of Africans had completed primary education and could proceed to secondary schools.


Features of missionary Education

  1. It was elementary i.e. subjects taught included writing, reading, hygiene and arithmetic.
  2. It was industrial and technical i.e. aimed at training Africans to be carpenters, masons, agricultural assistants, shoe repairers.
  3. Was denominational and aimed at inculcating doctrines of a particular church in the learners.

Objectives of missionary education

  1. To impart in the Africans agricultural skills so as to promote European farming.
  2. Give Africans basic technical skills to improve their industrial knowledge.
  3. Have some Africans trained as catechists to enhance the spread of Christianity.
  4. To teach the Africans how to read the Bible and numeracy to do simple arithmetic.

However they fulfilled their objectives by

  1. Coming up with a curriculum that emphasized on agriculture, reading, masonry and carpentry
  2. Establishing the first secondary schools for Africans such as Alliance 1926, Kabaa 1927, Maseno 1938 and Yala 1939.
  3. Training African teachers who manned ‘bush schools’ which were found in remote areas and consisted of mud huts, with grass thatched roofs.
  4. They offered the necessary financial and material support to make the schools operational.


Levels of Education

Western education during the colonial period involved three levels.


Primary education

It was begun by missionaries and was later transformed into elementary schools.

It covered class 1-4 and the curriculum included writing, arithmetic, reading, C.R.E and hygiene.

Class 5-7 emphasized on acquisition of technical skills such as carpentry, metal work and masonry. It aimed at providing semi-skilled manpower for the colonial government and settlers.

The Fraser Commission of 1908 had recommended for a racially segregated system of education.

In 1911 the colonial government entered the education sector by building a school at Machakos.

In 1918 the education Commission made the following recommendations to the government in line with the Fraser Commission report of 1908. It recommended that:

  1. Technical education to be provided to Africans.
  2. Government was to maintain the racially segregated schools
  3. There would be more cooperation between the colonial administration and the Christian missionaries.
  4. They appealed for grants in aid of mission schools.

In 1924 the Phelps-Stokes education Commissioners toured Kenya with the aim of identifying the African educational needs. They made the following recommendations

  1. There should be a uniform system of education in all government and missionary schools.
  2. More teachers and other personnel be trained by building of more colleges.
  3. More schools should be built in rural areas. Therefore the Local Native Councils established schools for Africans from 1924 which included Kagumo, Kisii, Kakamega and Machakos high schools.


Significance of the Phelps-Stokes Commission on elementary Education  It led to the

  1. Setting up of an education department in 1911 which provided grants to mission schools and put up government schools.
  2. Set up an education ordinance that controlled and supervised education.
  3. Led to the building of the native industrial training centre at Kabete in 1924 and the Jeanes School, Kabete 1925 to offer technical and industrial training. Others like Kapsabet, Kajiado, Tambach, Kitui, Kwale, Kabianga and Kapenguria also followed.
  4. There was the provision of elementary education by Africans. This was begun by John Owalo of Nomiya Luo mission in 1910.

By 1930 the number of schools in Kenya had risen to over 2,000.


Secondary Education

It was exclusively left for the Europeans. The aim was to eliminate Africans from competing for jobs with the Europeans.

However the Africans pressed the government to address the imbalance. The missionaries took up the challenge in 1926 by forming an alliance of protestant missions and put up the first African secondary school known as Alliance at Kikuyu while the Catholics put up one at Mangu in Thika.

The secondary schools for the whites included

  1. Prince of waters (Nairobi School)
  2. Duke of York Lenana school for European boys
  3. Kenya Girls High school (Kenya High)
  4. Limuru Girls by CMS for European Girls.

Hospital hill became the first multi-racial school in 1953. The schools for Indians included “the Asian Railway School.


University Education

Initially, university education was only given to Europeans children.

Africans got university education only at Makerere University in Uganda.

Initially, Makerere was a technical college set up in 1922 offering diploma certificates.

It got affiliated to the University of London in 1949 to offer degrees to those graduating from secondary schools in East and Central Africa.

Those Africans who failed to get to Makerere sought education overseas. Mbiyu Koinage was the first Kenyan African to acquire University education.

In 1954 the Royal Technical College offered higher diploma due to pressure by the Africans. It was affiliated to the University of London in 1959 and in 1961 it began offering degree courses.

In 1963 Makerere, Dar es Salaam and Royal College Nairobi were joined to form the University Of East Africa which collapsed in 1977 with the collapse of the East Africa community.

Community Based Education

This was provided by Asians. The Ismaili and Arya Samaj families provided Community based education in urban areas settled by Indians.

Rich men like Allidina Visram set up centres for higher education.

In 1942 education became a must for Asian boys. Mombasa institute of Muslim Education was set up to provide higher level education and training in trade.

By 1954 with the advance of the Royal Training College in Nairobi, they got a chance in higher education in arts, sciences and commerce.

Role of Africans in the provision of education

They began their own schools so as to protect female circumcision and polygamy and to acquire higher education as opposed to technical and industrial education. This was due to their desire to compete for white collar jobs.

The schools were established in

  1. Nyanza under Nomiya Luo church.
  2. Central, known as the Independent schools. This was formed by K.I.S.A Kikuyu Independent Schools Association and the Kikuyu Koinange Education Association.
  3. By 1938, the Kikuyu set up Githunguri Teacher Training College under Mbiyu Koinange.



The pioneer settlers suffered from Malaria, sleeping sickness and plaques forcing the missionaries to come up with a good medical system.

The E.S.M and the C.M.S began their work in 1888. Later they opened up medical facilities in Kikuyu, Kaloleni, Kaimosi and Maseno.

Dr. Arthur one of the first missionaries put up the Thogoto Mission Hospital in 1907 which is today one of the leading mission hospitals.

The main objectives of establishing health centres were

  1. To eradicate diseases such as small pox, malaria and sleeping sickness.
  2. Train medical personnel to handle western medicine.
  3. Improve health and hygiene for Africans and Asians in towns where there was crowding.

Diseases contracted by World War 2 soldiers such as dysentery, influenza and Typhoid led to the demand for medical knowledge and personnel.

The missionaries responded by starting medical training centres e.g. in 1920 the Alliance medical college was put up.

The passing of the nurses and midwives ordinance saw many African school leaders train as laboratory and pharmacy assistants and some even went to Makerere for further training.

The government made Africans aware of hygiene methods of controlling diseases and also protective measures such as vaccination by missionaries and trained African medical personnel.

In 1921 the Public Health Ordinance empowered the medical department to use preventive rather than curative measures in the whole country for a 10 year period.

In 1948 the Development and Research Authority (DARA) gave 47 000 sterling pounds for health care and improvement of health services.

In 1949 the Bureau of Medical Research was set up. In 1951 the King George IV (today the Kenyatta National hospital) began to train female nurses.   By 1962 there were over 100 rural health centres in the country.


Role of Africans in Health Provision

They provided traditional medicine which was dismissed by the missionaries who viewed their traditional methods of treatment as inferior and archaic.

Today traditional medicine is still the best and herbalists are seen as an alternative in health provision.



Topic 5



Since 1895 when Kenya became a British protectorate, the Kenyans objective has been

  1. A return to basic human freedom
  2. Political independence.

Factors that led to the rise of African nationalism in colonial Kenya

  • Introduction of taxation i.e. poll tax and Hut tax
  • Introduction of Kipande system by colonial government
  • Forced labour and poor wages for Africans.
  • The question of land alienation,
  • Racial discrimination in provision of social services;
  • Disregard for African culture and traditions
  • Poor working conditions for African in industries and farms.
  • Imposition of de-stocking policy.
  • Lack of participation for Africans in the government

Nationalism was expressed through the formation of several political associations.


Early Political Organizations in Kenya up to 1939

Emergence of many political associations between 1919 and 1939 was attributed to the participation of many African in World War 1. The war made many Africans communities meet and compare their experiences and they realized they had common problems. They also realized that the whiteman was not different from them. He could get wounded and also die. This encouraged them to strive for equal rights with the Europeans. It also gave them unity.

However after the war, the following took place

  1. Governor Edward Northey introduced the soldiers’ settlement scheme in 1919 that settled many ex-soldiers who fought in the First World War. The African ex-soldiers did not benefit, neither did they get compensation.
  2. The Kipande system subjected Africans to forced labour.
  3. The colonialists replaced the Indian rupee with the Kenya shilling therefore those with the Indian rupee found themselves with valueless money.
  4. Reduction of the African wages by a third and the increase of the hut tax and the poll tax from 10/= to 16/=
  5. The change of the status of Kenya from a protectorate to a colony in 1920 made Africans realize that the whiteman was determined to stay.


Characteristics of early political organizations

  1. The political associations were ethnic/tribal/urban based before 1940.
  2. They were non-militant
  3. They were led by educated African chiefs
  4. They were formed in response to socio-economic and lands problems of various ethnic groups.
  5. Their demands focused mainly on the welfare of the people.


Kikuyu Central Association

It was the pioneer African political Association in Kenya. It was founded in 1920 by a number of Kikuyu chiefs loyal to the colonial government, but had realized that much of the African land was being taken away by the whites.

It was headed by paramount chief Kinyanjui wa Gathirimu (patron) and Chief Koinange wa Mbiyu as president. Other Members included Josiah Njonjo Philip Karanja, Mathew Njoroge and Waweru wa Mahui.

The association complained about land alienation, the reduction of African wages and the introduction of the kipande through the native Registration Ordinance.

In 1921 I.M Ishmael the secretary sent a letter to the East African Standard denouncing the two issues and equating the kipande system with slavery.

The Association did not achieve much for it was made up of loyal chiefs who didn’t want to differ with the colonialists.

Later, the association attracted Christian converts in central Kenya and Nairobi. Harry Thuku and Abdalla Tairara joined it.

In 1931 Thuku and his followers disagreed with the leaders at a meeting in Dagoretti because of his radical views. He decamped and formed the Young Kikuyu Association.


Young Kikuyu Association

Formed in the June 1921 and had the following founders

Harry Thuku

Abdalla Tairara

Mwalimu Hamisi

Mohamed Sheikh

Thuku was educated at the Gospel missionary Society school at Kambui.

He worked as a telephone operator in Nairobi.

The main reason why the Young kikuyu Association was formed was that the Kikuyu Association which was dominated by the colonial chiefs had failed to press the colonial government for African demands.

Y.K.A under Thuku adopted a mere radical approach which the leaders of the Kikuyu Association disliked.

Thuku with the Y.K.A demanded for the following

  1. All alienated land should be returned
  2. Better working conditions for Africans
  3. Reduction of taxes especially the poll tax
  4. Withdrawal of Kipande system
  5. The wages of African workers should not be reduced, but increased.
  6. That all land owners be given title deeds.

This organization was not tribal. Later on, the founders saw the need to bring in many more ethnic groups since they argued that all Africans had similar grievances against the whites. They then made them change the name to the East African Association.

Harry Thuku, through his articles, activities and speeches stressed on the importance of inter-community unity.

The name E.A.A was adopted at a meeting attended by Harry Thuku as a Chairman,

George Samuel Okoth

Abdalla Tairara

Kibwana Kambo (Tanzanian)

Jesse Kariuki

Joseph Kangethe

Z.K Sentongo (Uganda)

Molanket Ole Sempele

James Mwanthi and Mohamed Sheikh

Thuku sought the help of the Asian politicians like M.A. Desai who published the East African Chronicles newspaper and helped to provide vehicles for transport.

He also got in touch with the Pan- African movement by writing a letter to Marcus Garvey and W.E.B Du Bois. He also wrote to the London colonial office and this led to his sacking from government.

He was now able to travel the country widely and publicize his ideas. The Asians gave him a vehicle that enabled him to travel to Kisumu and get in touch with James Beauttah of the Kavirondo Taxpayer Welfare Association.

E.A.A met with a lot of opposition from the Kikuyu Chiefs and Christian missionaries who felt that he undermined their authority by preaching against them.

In the 1920s Thuku became so popular that he organized a rally in Thika that attracted 10,000 people. In this, he basically attacked the colonial chiefs and the white settlers. This made the colonial government organize more rallies through the chiefs to counter Thukus influence.

The E.A.A demanded for the following (at a rally at Ngara 10th July 1921)

  1. The revocation of the colonial status of the country by the British government.
  2. Organisation of Legco elections on a common roll for all races
  3. Abolition of the hut tax that was mainly paid by Africans.
  4. Return of the land taken by the white settlers and the colonial government.
  5. An end to the forced labour.
  6. An increase in wages for urban Africans laboures.
  7. Provision of better education for Africans.

The E.A.A. bitterly opposed the introduction of Kipande in 1920 through the native ordinance which stated that it was a criminal offence for any adult African not to have registered as a adult. Africans who left duty were easily arrested and taken back to their employers.

The Africans also got offended by the kipande which apart from stating the wage paid; it was put in a tin hung on the neck like dogs collar.

Harry Thuku was arrested on 15th March 1922 and detained at the Kingsway police station (Central Police Station). This attracted a large crowd of people who demanded for his release. A shootout began and 21 people were killed including Muthoni Nyanjiru who incited the crowd.

Thuku was deported to Kismayu. His friends like Waiganjo and Mugekenyi were banished to Lamu and E.A.A was banned.

Thukus arrest and final deportation led to the following.

  1. Kenyans realized that the colonial government was determined to maintain an iron rule.
  2. They were to be more radical while calling for change
  3. Positively the colonial government secretary Sir Winston Churchill recalled the governor of Kenya Sir Edward Northey for he had mishandled Thukus affair, leading to the death of many innocent Africans.
  4. The colonial government banned the formation of any political parties in Kenya till after the Second World War.
  5. It earned Thuku a name as the undisputed flag-bearer of Kenyan nationalism.

Kikuyu Central Association

It was formed from the remnants of Harry Thuku East African Association.

Jesse Kariuki and Joseph Kang’ethe were among the founder members.

It was formed in 1924 at Kahuhia (Fort Hall) now Murang’a with the following

  • Joseph Kang’ethe (President)
  • Henry Gichuru as Secretary
  • Job Muchuchu as Treasurer
  • James Beauttah as secretary general
  • Jesse Kariuki as vice president

They were regarded as extremists by the colonial government and their activities were closely monitored.


Its objectives

  1. Getting back the land that was taken from the Kikuyu
  2. Pressing for the reduction of taxes
  3. Putting an end to racial discrimination
  4. Lifting the ban on cash crop growing among Africans.

The Kikuyu were bitter because their arable land had been taken by the Whites at a time when their population was increasing very fast.

The association demanded for

  1. The release of Thuku
  2. The appointment of a well educated paramount chief elected by the majority of the Kikuyu.
  3. They demanded for the putting up of a secondary school, training facility for hospital workers and a school for girls.
  4. They sought for permission to grow coffee and cotton and an end to compulsory demolition of houses.
  5. They demanded that all colonial laws be translated to Kikuyu so that all members of the community could understand them.
  6. That the government should respect African culture e.g. circumcision.

However the colonial government saw them as people without direction and didn’t consider the demands of K.C.A seriously. By 1925 the Association had began to attract a large membership. The members began to take an oath of total loyalty to the association.

In 1925 they shifted their headquarters from Fort Hall to Nairobi so as to get into contact with the majority of the Gikuyu elites. In 1928, Kenyatta became the secretary general.

In 1929 the Hilton Young Commission was established to look in to the question of the Federation of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika. Beauttah, the K.C.A secretary was appointed to present their views to the commission. He was transferred from Nairobi to ensure he does not appear before Hilton Commission. It was for this reason that Jomo Kenyatta replaced him as secretary.

Kenyatta worked hard to strengthen and broaden the organization e.g. he began a party magazine called Muiguithania (The Conciliator) of which he was the editor.

The following were the demands that Kenyatta presented to the Hilton Young Commission on behalf of the K.C.A

  1. Introduction of free primary education by the government for Africans
  2. Provision of secondary education and higher education for Africans.
  3. Abolition of the Kipande law
  4. Appointment of African representative to the Legco.
  5. Release of Harry Thuku
  6. Granting of the title deeds to Africans as a guarantee against further land alienation
  7. Rejection of the proposed East African Federation since K.C.A felt that such a federation would make the whites too powerful in the region.

A conflict between K.C.A and the Christian missionaries emerged in the late 1920s over the Agikuyu female circumcision tradition. The Protestants led by the Church of Scotland mission opposed the rite. They argued that it would lead to complications at childbirth and secondly, it was a mutilation of women’s genitals.

K.C.A argued that it was a beautiful cultural practice which would eradicate prostitution in the community.

By then the elites were worried about the increased number of young unmarried women engaging in prostitution in Pangani and Kileleshwa slums in Nairobi.

The old men felt bad about the dowry they were losing from such unmarried women.

The Church of Scotland Mission (CSM), Gospel Missionary Society (GMS) and African Inland Mission (AIM) all fought against female circumcision.

In 1929 K.C.A sent Kenyatta to London to present the Agikuyu grievances to the colonial office. He went with Parrmenas Mukiri. The delegation main issue was land.

It continued to struggle for the African welfare until 1940 when it was banned together with the Ukambani Members Association and the Taita Hills Association.


Kavirondo Tax Payers and Welfare Association

It emerged as the Young Kavirondo Association in western Kenya in 1921.

It was founded by mission educated Young men graduates of the C.M.S school at Maseno.

It was started at a Baraza meeting at Ludha in central Nyanza in December 1921. Here, the mission educated Luo and Abaluyia met to discuss various issues affecting the African communities. The meeting called itself ‘Piny Owacho’ (Voice of the People)

The officials included

Jonathan Okwiri as Chairman

Simeon Nyende as treasurer

Benjamin Owuor as Secretary

Reuben Omulo

Ezekiel Apindi

George Okoth

Mathayo Otieno

Joel Omino

Jolmeo Okaka


Demands of Young Kavirondo Association

  1. Abolition of the Kipande law
  2. End to forced labour
  3. End of land alienation
  4. Scraping of high taxes for Africans
  5. Better wages
  6. Revocation of the change of status from a protectorate to a colony
  7. A separate Legco for Nyanza province with an elected African president
  8. Setting up of more government schools in Nyanza
  9. Creation of a paramount chief for Nyanza just as it was in Western Province for Mumia
  10. Giving of individual title deeds for land to guard against land alienation

In 1922, the Y.K.A met with the Nyanza Provincial commissioner to discuss the grievances. They also met with Governor Edward Northey at Nyahera in Kisumu. He then gave in to the following demands

  1. Closed down all labour camps in the region
  2. Reduced taxation
  3. Reduced forced labour
  4. Declared that the revocation of the crown colony was out of question.

Y.K.A became so popular in Nyanza till a C.M.S Archdeacon Owen was asked by the government to intervene as he had good relation with them. Finally Jonathan Okwiri was convinced to hand over the presidency of the association to Archdeacon Owen in 1923. By then, the leadership of Y.K.A feared that they would be banned like the E.A.A. To them, Owen would

  1. Protect their members
  2. Air their grievances to the colonial administration

Under Archdeacon Owen, the associations name was changed to Kavirondo Taxpayers Welfare association. Its objectives also changed from political grievances to social concerns which included better food, clothing, education and hygiene.

They resorted to the use of written memorandum to express their grievances to the colonial government. However, those in authority did nothing to address the grievances.

Owen went ahead and started campaigning for

  1. Digging of pit latrines
  2. Killing of rats
  3. Keeping compounds clean so as to eradicate diseases.

In 1931 the association faced serious problems that led to its splitting into the Abaluyia and Luo factions. The Luo continued to follow Owen while the Luyia formed the North Kavirondo Central Association which remained close to the K.C.A

The Luyia formed the N.K.C.A because they were unhappy with the Kakamega gold rush and land alienation.

By 1944 K.T.W.A had died because many of its top leaders were co-opted into the colonial administration e.g. Jonathan Okwiri was promoted to being a chief, Benjamin Owuor, Simeon Nyande and Jonathan Okwiri were made members of the Local Native Council. This meant that they would not contradict the wishes of the colonial administration.


Ukamba Members Association

It was founded by the Akamba in 1938. The founders were

  1. Samuel Muindi Mbingu as Chairman
  2. Elijah Kavula as Vice Chairman
  3. Isaac Mwalonzi as secretary
  4. Simon Kioko as treasurer.

Like the E.A.A, K.C.A, Y.K.A, the Akamba were concerned about the loss of land to European ranches, taxation and forced labour. They were overcrowded and practiced overstocking which led to serious soil erosion in Kitui and Machakos.

In response to this, the colonial government introduced a destocking policy. A company known as Liebigs Group set up as a meat processing plant in Ukambani. The government began to seize the Akamba animals and sell them to the plant at low prices. This finally provoked the Akamba into forming the Ukambani Members Association.

The founders of U.M.A were close to the E.A.A. e.g. Ali Kironji, James Mwanthi, and Mohammed Sheikh. U.M.A also got support from Indians such as Isher Das.

On 28th July 1938, U.M.A organized for a protest march to Nairobi. The Kamba men, women, and children walked with their animals to Nairobi to protest the seizure of their animals. They were led by Muindi Mbingu. They staged a protest for six weeks demanding to see the governor who talked to them and also gave in to their demands at a meeting in Machakos.

This action didn’t please the colonial administration. Muindi Mbingu was arrested in September 1938 and deported to Lamu.

U.M.A was banned together with K.C.A. Muiguithania journal for K.C.A helped to educate the cause of the Akamba through various activities.

The only unique thing about U.M.A was their ability to mobilize the whole community in a peaceful protest against the government.


Coast African Association

Its formation was influenced by Arabs and Asians who had already formed the Coast Arab Association and the Indian Congress.

The Key leaders of the association included

  1. Noah Mwana Sele as President
  2. Mohamed Bin Mwichande as Vice President
  3. W Timothy as Secretary General
  4. G Banks as treasurer

Committee members included

  1. Mohammed Bin Omar
  2. Enoch Benjamin
  3. Harrison

It demanded for the following

  1. Removal of the uneducated chiefs from the local native council and the replacement with educated Africans.
  2. The appointment of African colonial officials.
  3. Elevation of Shimo La Tewa School to a high school.
  4. Setting up of evening classes in the region to give adult Africans a chance to pursue western education.
  5. Use of taxes collected from African traditional drinks to improve the African facilities.
  6. Revocation of land allocated to Arabs and Asians who now owned large tracts of land at the expense of the Mijikenda.

This organization was led by educated African men. They adopted a method of sending memoranda to the government because they were careful not to be punished like the leaders of the E.A.A. and U.M.A.

This approach pleased the colonialists who did not ban the association.

C.A.A set up a newspaper ‘The Coast African Express’ whose editor was Elkana Young. The paper was used to articulate the grievances of the association, and by 1947 it was demanding for representation of the region in the Legco.

In 1955 it began to disintegrate when two of its members, Francis Khamisi and Ronald Ngala joined the Mombasa African Democratic Union and the Legco. This led to leadership wrangles among the members.

Achievements of the Coast Africa Association

  1. Education facilities were improved with the elevation of Shimo La Tewa school
  2. The Mijikenda were rewarded with Legco positions and other appointments.


Taita Hills Association

It was closely modeled on the K.C.A and U.M.A styles. They had two key grievances

  1. Land alienation i.e. most of the fertile land of the community had been occupied by European settlers and converted into coffee plantations
  2. Forced labour. They were to uproot the coffee and ferry it over long distances.
  3. They protested against kipande system and destocking policy

Daniel Mapinga, a young catechist began to mobilize the Wataita against the oppressive measures, but he died in 1937.

He was succeeded by

  1. Woresho Kolandi Mengo
  2. Jimmy Mwambichi
  3. Paul Chumbo who established the Taita Hills Association.

They used the system of protest letters to the colonial government. This made the government to shelf the plan of moving the Wataita from their ancestral land

On the other hand, the government also reduced the land initially curved out for European settlers.

They stopped the destocking measures against the Wataita.

The association faced two problems

  1. They failed to attract prominent people in Taita
  2. Not all groups in the region supported them, e.g. Taveta and Wagisiga.

Finally the association was banned in May 1940. Mwambichi was arrested and deported.


Problem faced by Early Political Organizations

  1. Harassment by the colonial government
  2. Deportation o f their leaders e.g. Harry Thuku, Muindi Mbingu and Mwambichi which demoralized members of the association
  3. Political wrangles/disagreements between members e.g. C.A.A which died upon the departure of the leaders.
  4. Lack of skills in running political parties which led to mismanagement of the offices.
  5. Lack of funds to run the association, since the Africans were faced with the problem of land alienation, taxation and poor working conditions.
  6. Disunity as most associations were ethnic based.
  7. Banning of the associations by the colonial government.
  8. Poor means of transport and communication


Characteristics of early political organizations

  1. Were led by mission educated young men who had the organization ability e.g. Harry Thuku, Jonathan Okwiri and Jimmy Mwambichi.
  2. They confined to one or two ethnic communities except the E.A.A.
  3. They got the support from Asians both material and moral.
  4. Had familiar grievances, of great importance being land alienation
  5. Most of them agitated for better living conditions and end to European exploitation and oppression.
  6. They failed to attract a large membership due to the ethnic concerns.


Methods used to air their grievances

  1. The use of mass media such as newspapers like Coast African Express.
  2. Protests e.g. the Akamba trek to Nairobi
  3. Writing memorandums
  4. Addressing protest letters to the governor e.g. Taita Hills Association


Achievements of early political parties

  1. They provided political education to the African communities. This was done through the rallies where the people were taught the injustices done by the colonial government and how to stop further exploitation and repression.
  2. They communicated the feelings of their communities through publications, memoranda or speeches.
  3. They defended African culture against erosion
  4. They awakened the masses and made them aware of the political situations in the country
  5. They played the role of trade unions by fighting for the welfare of the Africans in the absence of formal trade unions.
  6. They publicized the grievances of the Africans to the international community e.g. Jomo Kenyatta did this to the British.
  7. They helped to promote wider nationalism by forging inter-community relations in the struggle for freedom.
  8. Poll tax and hut tax were reduced.


Emergence of Independent Churches and Schools

This was an expression of African protest against European colonialism which had interfered with the traditional African economic and political organization.


Why they were formed

  1. The missionaries taught against African customs such as female circumcision and polygamy. Africans wanted to join Christianity and retain their cultural values.
  2. Africans disliked the 3Rs education that prepared them for low positions in government. They aspired for an education that could put them on equal terms with European and Asian children.
  3. They were formed to resent against colonial domination and exploitation expressed though the kipande system, forced labour and racial discrimination.
  4. The desire for leadership in their own churches by the Africans. They had little say in the mission churches and all major decisions were made by the missionaries.
  5. Rise of some Africans e.g. John Owalo and Elijah Masinde who had received a divine calling from God.
  6. Some were formed after they felt dissatisfied with the interpretation of the Christian scriptures e.g. the Holy Spirit church broke away from the mainstream churches on such account.
  7. Mission churches disregarded the traditional African expression of worship e.g. dancing, singing and divine healing; therefore some churches were formed to allow Africans to express their Christianity freely. They wanted to preserve their cultural heritage.
  8. To create more job opportunities for educated Africans.


The majority of such schools and churches emerged in Kikuyuland, Luyialand and Luoland in 1920s and 1930s.


Characteristics/results of Independent churches and schools

  1. They all accommodated African cultural values
  2. Both valued Christianity and western education but were against westernization by missionaries.
  3. Africans held leadership positions in the schools and churches.
  4. They worked closely with the African political associations. They led to formation of nationalism.
  5. Some churches adopted peculiar attire for their members.
  6. Their leaders were educated and Africans.


The independent Churches movement in Nyanza

The most outstanding church was that of John Owalo. He received western education from the mission. He started off as a Roman Catholic but soon joined the Church of Scotland mission at Kikuyu near Nairobi, then the church missionary society (CMS) in Nairobi and later in Maseno.

There were two main problems in the mission churches.

  1. African cultural values were ignored, and a lot of support was given to western education.
  2. Africans were denied a say in the liturgy.

In 1907 Owalo claimed to have received direct call from God instructing him to start his own church. The CMS at Maseno dismissed him as a lunatic.

Finally John Ainsworth the P.C. in Nyanza allowed him to start his own church as his teaching upheld law and morality in the society.

In 1910 he founded the Nomiya Luo Church which was the first independent church in Kenya that operated in large urban centres.

He proclaimed himself a prophet of God and doubted the divinity of Jesus.

Other independent churches in Nyanza included:

Dini Ya Roho was founded among the Luyia in 1927 after followers broke away from the Friends African Mission. The members believe in baptism by the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues and confessed their sins openly.

The Joroho church was founded by Alfayo Odongo Mango in 1932 among the Luo.

The Universal Evangelical Union was founded by Ismael Noo who was a teacher in a school at Maseno.

Revivalism in Nyanza was led by Noo. The revival movement emphasized on two things:

  1. Salvation by the blood of Jesus Christ.
  2. Public confession of sins.

Noo attracted many women into his movement, provoking complaints from their husbands. He differed with other mission churches in Nyanza over his preaching that men and women should have sexual intercourse since they were all saved.

Eventually Noo broke away from the Anglican Church at a convention at Nyabondo in Nyakach when he established his own church by the name ‘The Christian Universal Evangelical Union’ which changed its name to Christian Evangelical Church in 1965.


The Independent Churches and schools in Central Kenya

Central province experienced the presence of colonial rule more than any other region due to its proximity to Nairobi which was the headquarters of the colonial government in Kenya.

The Gikuyu community came into contact with the C.M.S, C.S.M, Consolata Fathers, Gospel Missionary Society, and A.I.M in the 1890s.

The result was that the missionaries put up many schools, where they taught people basic literacy and numeracy skills that aimed at converting Africans. Africans were to develop ability to read the Bible, the hymn books and the prayer books.

In their evangelization, they condemned polygamy, consumption of traditional brews and female circumcision. This later sparked off the formation of independent churches and schools in central province in 1929.

To the Kikuyu, female circumcision signified attainment of womanhood. To the missionaries, the rite had to be eradicated for it complicated delivery of a child and it was a brutal operation, painful and barbaric.


Kikuyu Independent Schools

The Kikuyu elders wanted their children to acquire education without being Europeanized. This made them put up their own schools since those who supported female circumcision were expelled from mission schools.

The first was built at Gaithieko in Kiambu in 1913 by elders. The land was donated by an elder by the name Mukunga Wa Njehu.

In 1925 a second school was built in Githunguri.

Two independent schools associations were formed:

  1. Kikuyu Independent schools Association (K.I.S.A)
  2. Kikuyu Karing’a Educational Association (K.K.E.A.)

KISA was closely associated with the African Independent Pentecostal Church while KKEA was closely associated with the Kikuyu Central Association.

KKEA was strong in Kiambu and KISA was prominent in Murang’a, Nyeri and Embu.


Kikuyu Independent Schools Association

Gituamba in Fort Hall provided a base for the Kikuyu movement towards Independence from CMS control in education and religion.

The elders got permission to build a prayer house around Gituamba and soon the Gituamba School was set up between 1929 and 1932.

The success of the Gituamba Independent Church and school inspired the emergence of independent churches and schools in central. KISA was set up to coordinate the naming of those schools. The leaders of KISA were:

  1. Daudi Maina Kiragi
  2. Musa Muriithi
  3. Hezekiah Gachui
  4. Peter Gathecha
  5. Johana Njoroge.

It responsibilities were

  1. Establish more schools
  2. Maintain the schools
  3. Mobilise funds for teacher training programmes.

At the beginning, the colonial authorities had a negative attitude, but they later realized that the Kikuyu elders were serious. They then insisted that the schools be registered at the D.Os and they also be managed well.

By 1935, there were 34 independent schools with a population of 2518, by 1936 they were 3,984.  Similar schools were coming up in the Rift Valley among the Kikuyu squatters.


Problems facing KISA

  1. Inadequate funds to support the large number of pupils and schools.
  2. Many teachers were untrained.
  3. Many KISA leaders lacked proper management skills.
  4. Mission churches fought their efforts.
  5. Lack of proper curriculum and facilities such as books.
  6. Disagreement among the KISA leaders with some demanding back the money and the land they had donated for the promotion of the independent churches and schools.
  7. It was banned in1952 when the state of emergency was declared.


Kikuyu Karing’a Educational Association

There was a female circumcision standoff at Gituamba Church leading to a split that led to the formation of KKEA. There was the Fort Hall group and the Kiambu members. The Kiambu members supported KKEA which was radical and more closely associated with KCA.

The term Karing’a means ‘pure’ meaning that the association advocated for pure Agikuyu customs and values which were not polluted by mission churches and western traditions.

By 1940 KKEA had put up 12 schools in Kiambu and in the Rift Valley. By 1952 it had 28 schools not only in central Kenya and the Rift Valley, but also at Moshi and Arusha in Tanganyika.

In 1932, KKEA put up its own church and the church ministers were trained at the Gituamba Seminary. It was named the African Orthodox church of Kenya. The Church was led by Arthur Gathuna and Philip Kiande.

In 1939 the Kenya Teachers Training College was put up at Githunguri in Kiambu with Mbiyu Koinange as the first Principal.

The aim of the college was to train teachers for the Kikuyu Independent Schools. By 1947, it had over 500 students.

It was closed down together with other independent schools during the Mau Mau uprising.


Problems faced by independent churches and schools

  1. Constant harassment from both the missionaries and the colonial government, i.e. they looked for every opportunity to close them down and arrest its leaders.
  2. Many lacked trained personnel who could run the institutions well
  3. Constant shortage of funds as they relied on African support.
  4. Leadership squabbles as all founders wanted to be recognized as leaders.
  5. Mission churches and schools competed with independent churches and schools for followers.


Political Organizations and movements after 1945

There were radical demands for better conditions and full political independence in 1940s due to the following factors:

  1. Acquisition of western education by many Africans enabled them to articulate their grievances more forcefully as well as understand political developments internationally.
  2. The experiences of the World War 2 ex-soldiers who discovered that the Europeans were not superior to them in any way. Also, the colonial government failed to fulfill promises made at the time of war, i.e. giving them land and employment. The European ex-soldiers were rewarded with large tracts of land after the war and this provoked bitterness in them towards the colonialists.
  3. The granting of independence to India and Pakistan in 1947 gave Kenyans the confidence that they could also achieve independence.
  4. The Atlantic charter signed in World War II in 1941 by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt declared that with the end of the war, all subject people should enjoy the right to self-determination
  5. The spirit of Pan Africanism spearheaded by African–Americans led by W.E.B Dubois and George Padmore urged that Africans should enjoy political freedom in their continent. In 1945 African leaders namely Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkurumah and Kamuzu Banda took part in the congress and resolved to press for self-determination.
  6. The rise of the Labour Party to power in Britain after World War II which favoured decolonization.
  7. The emergence of the USA and USSR as super powers who wanted the colonies to be granted full independence so that they could produce raw materials and also provide market for the expanding industries. The Soviet Union promoted decolonization believing it would lead to weakening of the capitalist nations.
  8. The World War II drained the treasuries of European countries including Britain and France. Their taxpayers were becoming reluctant to support the cost of running the rebellious colonies.
  9. The establishment of the United Nations after the World War II in 1945 called for the granting of independence to all subjects as the first step towards achieving international peace and security. France and Britain were members of U.N.O and could not afford to ignore its anti-colonial stand.
  10. The liberation of Ghana in 1957 was a big influence on the other colonized like Kenya. President Kwame Nkurumah championed the cause of the nationalists struggle in other parts of Africa.

This led to the formation of nationwide political parties, including the following:-


  1. The Kenya National Study Union

On 10th October 1944 Eliud Mathu, a graduate from Fort Hare University and Oxford University and a former teacher at Alliance School was nominated to the Legco by the colonial governor.

Later, he together with well educated Africans led by Francis Khamisi met in Nairobi and they formed the Kenya African Union (K.A.U)

Aims of K.A.U

  1. Assist Mathu in his new task in Legco
  2. Provide multi-ethnic organization for the development of African interests
  3. Fight for better living and working conditions for Africans.
  4. To advocate for more constitutional reforms for Africans

Its officials were

  1. Harry Thuku as Charirman
  2. Francis Khamisi as Secretary
  3. Albert Owino as Treasurer

Committee members were

  1. James Gichuru   S. O. Josiah
  2. John Kebaso   F. M. Ng’ang’a
  3. Simeon Mulandi   J. D Otiende  etc
  4. Harry Ole Nangurai


Two weeks after its formation, the officials were ordered to change the name to K.A.S.U since it was to be involved in studying the problems facing the Africans.

In 1945 James Gichuru became the president after Harry Thuku stepped down.

Under Gichuru, KASU made a lot of progress e.g. it published a newspaper ‘Sauti ya Mwafrika’ with Khamisi as editor. Gichuru and Khamisi travelled widely in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika to convince Africans not to accept the proposed federation.

In 1946, the leaders of the association felt that the name KASU was inappropriate since they involved in the political affairs of the country with a view of improving African life. In February 1946, they changed the name to K.A.U.


  1. Kenya African Union (K.A.U)

In 1946 Mzee Jomo Kenyatta came back from London. In June 1949 he was elected president of KAU after Gichuru stepped down. He was assisted by W.W.W Awori as vice president, Ambrose Ofafa as treasurer and Gikonyo Muchohi as secretary.


  1. Unite the Africans towards an African nation
  2. To foster economic, social and political interests of the Africans.
  3. To support Eliud Mathu

Its demands

  1. Abolition of the forced labour and the kipande system
  2. Self government for Africans
  3. More seats for Africans in the Legco
  4. Free and compulsory education
  5. Equality in wages and salaries among all races.
  6. More trade opportunities for Africans.
  7. Improvement in the living and working conditions of Africans.
  8. Compensation for the ex-service men
  9. Racial discrimination and undermining of cultural practices of Africans to be done away with.

To build KAU, Kenyatta appealed for unity and hard work. He travelled and addressed meetings in Nyeri, Kisumu, Eldoret, Mumias, Kakamega, Kiambu and Meru where he urged people to form and strengthen KAU.

In 1947 KAU experienced a major rift in the party between the radicals and the moderates. The radicals  led by Fred Kubai, Paul Ngei, and Bildad Kaggia advocated for the use of force while the moderates led by Kenyatta called for the use of a peaceful constitutional reforms.

The radicals took over Nairobi KAU branch. They demanded for the removal of the moderates from the executive committee.

However Kenyatta insisted that the party leadership had to be multi-ethnic and the secretary general had to come from Western Kenya.

When the national delegate’s conference met in 1951, the following were elected

  1. Jomo Kenyatta as President
  2. D Otiende as secretary General
  3. Paul Ngei as assistant secretary
  4. Harry Ole Nangurai as treasurer.

Other problems facing the party were

  1. Lack of enough funds to support its programmes including rent payment.
  2. Poor inadequate leadership e.g. Kenyatta was the Party president and also principal Githunguri T.T.C
  3. Ethnic divisions
  4. Threats from large communities like the Gikuyu who had dominated the party.
  5. Lack of political awareness by the Africans who lived in the urban areas.
  6. Poor means of communication channels to air their grievances to colonial government.
  7. Interference from the colonial government e.g. when they were forced to change the name from KAU to KASU.

The Nairobi branch of KAU was led by Fred Kubai as chairman, J.M. Mungai as vice and Kaggia as secretary. The radicals worked closely with members of the Mau Mau movement in Nairobi. This caused a lot of tension between the radicals and the moderates.

The activities of the radials increased when the British colonial secretary refused to meet the KAU representatives, Mbiyu Koinange and Achieng’ Oneko who had a memorandum on the land question.

By 1951, several KAU branches were opened in Kisumu by Oneko, Maragoli by Johana Adala, and Mombasa by Muinga Chokwe. They also held frequent rallies to revitalize the party.

In 1952 Jomo Kenyatta, Paul Ngei, Kaggia and Oneko held a rally in Nyeri which attracted over 25,000 people. This event shocked the colonial government thus the party was banned.

Reports also noted that settlers were attacked and their property destroyed in the rift Valley. In 1952 Sir Evelyn Baring declared a state of emergency following the murder of Chief Waruhiu wa Kung’u by the Mau Mau

This led to the arrest of most KAU leaders, who were believed to be behind the violence. Therefore Walter Odede became the acting president, Joseph Murumbi acting secretary and Awori as treasurer.

KAU continued to press for the release of their detained leaders.

Oliver Lyttelton, the secretary of state for colonies came to Kenya during the state of emergency. KAU presented to him a 24 point memorandum of grievances understood as the major causes of the violence in Kenya, i.e.

  1. Denial of a voice of the Africans in politics.
  2. Detention of African leaders unlawfully
  3. Land alienation
  4. Unequal economic practices
  5. Release of Jomo Kenyatta and his KAU colleagues.

They then engaged a British lawyer known as D.N Pritt to defend the Kapenguria six namely Kenyatta, Ngei, Kung’u, Kaggia, Oneko and Kubai.

On 9th March 1963 Walter Odede was arrested while Joseph Murumbi escaped to Bombay. On 8th June 1963 KAU was finally banned.


Achievement of KAU

  1. Provided guidance and political support to Eliud Mathu the African representative to the Legco.
  2. Laid down the foundation for the growth of KANU which ushered Kenyans into political independence.
  3. Some of the members e.g. Fred Kubai and Bildad Kaggia were active as Mau Mau fighters.

Other roles played by KAU in promoting nationalism

  1. It influenced the British colonial government to increase African representation in Legco.
  2. It opened up branches in various parts of the country to educate the Africans on the need to unite against European domination.
  3. It published its own paper, Sauti ya Mwafrika to popularize its objectives throughout the country.
  4. It supported trade unions
  5. It presented the grievances of the Africans internationally for it supported the activities of the Mau Mau freedom fighters by giving them moral and material support.
  6. It provided leadership to the nationalist struggle
  7. It organized rallies in most parts of the country to create awareness on the rights of the Africans.


Mau Mau

The meaning and the source of the name are not clear. To J,M Kariuki the name was derived from the Kikuyu phrase  ‘Uma Uma’ which means ‘get out, get out’ It was used to  urge people to flee from colonial forces.

The freedom fighters used various names to refer to the organization e.g.

  1. The land and freedom army
  2. The forty group

Most of the members of Mau Mau were young men who had been circumcised and some had taken part in World War II.

By 1947 those young men were showing defiance against the colonial government by

  1. Refusing to provide labour for public projects.
  2. Digging terraces

They had embarked on a serious oathing sessions in central and parts of Rift Valley.

KAU formed a central committee in Nairobi known as ‘Muhimu” which co-ordinated Mau Mau activities, all over the country.


Causes of the Mau Mau uprising

  1. Land alienation. Many communities lost their lands. The Kikuyu were the most affected due to their closeness to Nairobi. Africans were pushed to the reserves. Many of them opted to settle as squatters in the Rift Valley. This led to bitterness among the Africans.
  2. The poor living and working conditions. The labourers on the settler farms lived in poor houses, were fed on carbohydrates leading to malnutrition, and were severely punished at the slightest mistake. In the urban areas they were pushed into slums, were not allowed to have their families with them and their movements were restricted. This made African women resort to prostitution as a survival strategy.
  3. Oppressive policies such as increased taxation, forced labour and low wages. The introduction of the Kipande system too irritated the Africans for they felt discriminated and humiliated.
  4. The colonial government had totally failed to make any constitutional reforms e.g. Africans associations were banned and their leaders detained. This led to underground movement activities (by KCA) which involved oathing as a measure of secrecy.
  5. Preservation of culture at whatever cost, especially the female circumcision. To prove this, Africans at the Kijabe A.I.M forcefully circumcised an elderly white missionary who later died due to heavy bleeding.
  6. Colonial brutality. The killing of Africans on flimsy excuses caused a lot of attention e.g. on 5th September 1947; a number of Africans were massacred following a strike at the Uplands Bacon Factory. The killers were not punished.
  7. Cruel evictions. Africans were mistreated in the Rift Valley on the European farms. Eviction of Africans from the Olenguruone settlement scheme to the Arid Yatta region of Machakos bred a lot of hostility. The squatters lost their houses, livestock and crops during such evictions.
  8. Unemployment as African population continued to grow. The closure of the Karatina vegetable factory provoked Africans who lost employment.
  9. Africans were given the worst education, health and social facilities and low wages. The African adults were addressed as boys. This annoyed them.
  10. Conduct of police and chiefs. They were so brutal and many of the colonial chiefs brutally forced the African workers to provide labour for public works for white farms.
  11. Disillusionment of ex-soldiers. When African ex-soldiers returned home they were ignored as their counterparts from other races got land. This led to a lot of bitterness.


The course of the uprising

The uprising got support from the unemployed Africans, many of whom were ex-soldiers in the urban centres. Others were traders and the landless squatters in the rift valley.

In Nairobi, its activities were co-ordinated by the Muslim committee which. The Muslims committee organized for oaths

  1. To ensure that the members remained loyal and honest therefore could keep the secrets of the movement.
  2. To inspire courage and unite the members to one cause.

Betrayal of the oaths led to instant death. The movement had headquarters in several places and fighting was mobilized at the district level. The Nyandarua, Aberdares and Mt. Kenya forests were used as hideouts.

The leaders of the movement included Dedan Kimathi, Waruhiu Itote, Stanley Mathenge, General Ndung’u Gicheru, General Mwariama and General Matenjagwo.

The leaders had different armies in different areas such as the Aberdares, Nairobi, Kiambu, Ngong’, Murang’a and Rift Valley. They knew how to use guns and they used guerrilla warfare.

During the war, the guerrilla targeted European settlers, government officials, government buildings, settler farms, Christian converts and all collaborators.

They made their own guns, and robbed others from police stations or snatched them from the Europeans.

Hymn books in Kikuyu were used to spread Mau Mau ideas and to encourage peasants to revolt. By 1952 the Mau Mau ideas had been embraced and most of the peasants boycotted the soil conservation measures imposed on them.

The killing of loyalists to the government like Tom Mbotela and Waruhiu Kung’u made Sir Everlyn Baring declare a state of emergency followed by the arrest of Jomo Kenyatta, Ramogi, Achieng’ Oneko, Fred Kubai, Bildad Kaggia, Kung’u Karumba and Paul Ngei who were KAU leaders. They were jailed for seven years.

Many Africans fled from the reserves and urban areas to go and join others in the forests.

Methods used by colonial government to discourage activities of Mau Mau movement

  1. During the war, the government moved scores of Kikuyu, Meru and Aembu communities from Nairobi to detention centres and reserves in a bid to cut the fighters off from their communities.
  2. Ditches were dug around the villages where they were detained so that they could not get food or any equipment to the guerrillas.
  3. Fighters of Mau Mau were dealt with ruthlessly to discourage others from joining. Bodies of those killed were displayed in villages.
  4. They also engaged spies among the Africans who reported on the movement of mau mau fighters.
  5. Europeans got reinforcements and fighting equipments from Britain to assist.
  6. They arrested and executed leaders of Mau Mau e.g. Kimathi Dedan.


Women and children played a role in Mau Mau. They

  1. Supplied food and ammunition to the guerrillas.
  2. Supplied them with vital information.

The Asians also gave support by trafficking arms and ammunition to the fighters.

Mau Mau movement was crushed by the superior military of the British. Fighting subsided in 1956 following the shooting and arrest of Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi.


Factors that facilitated the Mau Mau movement (why it lasted for so long)

  1. Oathing helped to unite the fighters and sealed their commitment to the struggle.
  2. Fighters used the guerrilla tactics which made it difficult for the British to suppress the rebellion.
  3. Civilian population supplied the fighters with food and equipment e.g. guns and ammunition. They also gave them relevant information.
  4. Resourcefulness and courageousness of their leaders such as Deddan Kimathi and Stanley Mathenge.
  5. The natural forests of Mt Kenya and the Aberdares ranges provided good hideout for the fighters.
  6. Accessibility to swords, guns and ammunition. Some of them had homemade guns while others were seized from the European settlers
  7. Military experience due to participation in World War II. The World War II soldiers taught them fighting skills.


Problems that Mau Mau fighters faced

  1. They lacked transport and communication facilities.
  2. They died due to cold and other diseases that they were exposed to in the Aberdares.
  3. They were attacked by wild animals.
  4. They lacked proper fighting equipment.
  5. Suffered from anxiety due to the brutal retaliation by the British forces.
  6. Division arose among the fighters due to disagreements.
  7. Spies infiltrated the movement and exposed their military strategies.
  8. They lacked proper co-ordination due to the use of forest hideouts and mountainous terrain by the guerrillas.
  9. Arrest of their leaders such as General China, and Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi

Results of the Mau Mau uprising

  1. It exposed the attention of British citizens and the international community to the crimes that Kenyans were suffering from.
  2. The war speeded up the march to independence. The government used a lot of resources to quell the uprising at a time when the British treasury was depleted due to the costs of the World War II.
  3. It reduced the powers and influence of the settlers.
  4. Kipande system was modified to a pure identity card
  5. British accommodated African grievances and demands.
  6. Land reform measures such as land consolidation were adopted.
  7. Led to destruction of property. This included villages, houses, farms and other facilities.
  8. It changed the social life of Africans through the establishment of emergency villages which were set up to alienate the civil society from the Mau Mau fighters.
  9. The Agikuyu, Aembu and Meru communities were removed from the capital Nairobi as their jobs/occupations were taken by Africans from western region and the rift valley who were not associated with the uprising.
  10. Lose of lives e.g. 50,000 Mau Mau fighters died.
  11. It led to the declaration of a state of emergency in 1952, hence curfews and other restrictions became the order of the day among the Africans.
  12. It bred bitterness among the Kikuyu, Embu and Meru. The Gikuyu were divided into government loyalists and Mau Mau supporters leading to suspicion.
  13. Arrest and detention of thousands of Africans in which many died while others were injured in the infamous Hola massacre.

The colonial government realized that it made a mistake to ignore some of the grievances of the Africans regarding land. It made some reforms.

  • Sywnnerton Plan of 1954 which sparked off the resettlement of Africans in the countryside.
  • Political reforms whereby there was the lifting of the ban on all African political parties. In 1955, African political parties were authorized to operate in all regions except central Kenya.


  1. Kenya African National Union

KANU was formed on 21st March 1960 at Kirigiti, Kiambu during a meeting convened by ex-KAU strongman James Gichuru and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. The meeting comprised of attendants from over 30 African political groups. Jomo Kenyatta was detention but was elected as president in absentia.

Formation of political parties was allowed by the 1st Lancaster House Conference which was attended by Ngala as chairman, Mboya as secretary and Daniel Arap Moi.

The colonial government refused to register K.A.N.U with Kenyatta as the president. A meeting in May 1960 led to

  • James Gichuru being elected president
  • Odinga as vice-president,
  • Mboya as secretary general,
  • Arthur Ochwada as assistant secretary general,
  • Moi as treasure
  • Ngala as assistant treasurer.
  • Mwai Kibaki and Mboya helped in drawing up of constitution.


Objectives of K.A.N.U

  1. To attain political independence for Africans in Kenya.
  2. Achieve national unity through a unitary national constitution.
  3. Create a society based on African socialism
  4. Eradicate poverty, ignorance and diseases.
  5. Get back all African land
  6. Have all political detainees released
  7. Unite with other liberation movements in other countries in Africa in a bid to end imperialism and colonialism in the continent.
  8. To encourage good neighbourliness in the East African region.


Role of KANU in the struggle for independence

  1. It mobilized Africans and united them in the struggle for independence.
  2. It provided political education to the Africans in Kenya.
  3. Took part in the constitutional talks in London in 1962 where the independence constitution was formulated.
  4. It acted as a training ground for political leaders who took over leadership of the country after independence.

Challenges that KANU faced

  1. Inadequate funds
  2. Undermining of small communities by the big communities i.e. Gikuyu and Luo who were looked at with a lot of suspicion as having taken up all key leadership positions.
  3. People were dissatisfied with the way the leaders were running the affairs of the party.
  4. Rift within the leaders over party ideologies. Some were advocating for a unitary system of government while others favoured a majimbo (federal) system. This led to a split within the party. Some joined K.A.D.U and others A.P.P.
  5. Party elections were not held in a transparent manner.

The release of Kenyatta boosted the party. He was viewed as an eloquent natural leader of the Africans in Kenya, and also a political martyr. He made the party popular.

On 1st June 1963 Jomo Kenyatta became the Prime Minister as Kenya achieved self-government or Madaraka. The Queen of England remained the head of state.


  1. Kenya African Democratic Union (K.A.D.U)

It was formed in 1960 as a way of avoiding Kikuyu and Luo dominance in the political arena

Its senior leaders were

  • Ronald Ngala as president
  • Masinde Muliro and vice president
  • Daniel Arab Moi as chairman
  • Martin Shikuku as secretary general
  • Justus ole Tipis as treasurer.

They were from the small tribes and they represented the Kalenjins, Abaluyia, Maasai and the coastal communities.

In May 1961, the first general elections along party lines were held. KANU got 19 seats, KADU got 11 and other parties got 3.

KANU refused to form the government as long as Kenyatta was still in prison. Ronald Ngala was then requested by Sir Patrick Renison to form a minority KADU government in coalition with the European and Asian members who belonged to the New Kenya Party of Michael Blundell. Ronald Ngala became leader of government business and minister for education.

In 1962 KANU and KADU formed a coalition government while awaiting the 1963 general elections. Ngala became the minister of State in charge of constitutional affairs.

At the 2nd Lancaster House conference, Ngala led the KADU group of parliamentarians thereby challenging Kenyatta as the overall nationalist leader.

During the independence elections in May 1963 KANU won 73 seats, KADU had 31 seats and African Peoples Party had 8.

KADU became the major opposition party. In 1964 it disbanded and its members crossed the floor to join KANU after being persuaded by Oginga Odinga and Jomo Kenyatta.

KADU operated for a few years and was able to achieve the following

  1. United the smaller tribes such as Kalenjin, Abaluyia and Maasai.
  2. Mobilized Africans against the colonial domination.
  3. Contributed to the formulation of the independence constitution
  4. Provided political education to Africans
  5. It served as the opposition party and helped in ensuring checks on the KANU government.

Problems faced by KADU

  1. Pressure from their rivals in KANU to decamp
  2. Wrangles between senior officials undermined its operations.
  3. Suspicions that certain ethnic groups were dominating the party
  4. Persistent lack of funds
  5. Illiteracy of the majority of its members
  6. Determination by the colonial government to manipulate the party.


  1. African Peoples Party (A.P.P)

It was founded by Paul Ngei, a leader of both KAU and mau mau. Ngei formed the party due to the divisions in KANU and KADU that made the Somalis and coastal Arabs threaten to move from the country. He too feared for the Akamba, hence he formed A.P.P.

However during the 1963 elections KANU won by a landslide followed by KADU, APP and other minority parties got only 8 seats.

In 1964 Kenya became a republic and both APP and KADU decamped from the opposition to join KANU.


Trade Union Movement

A trade union is an association of workers whose main purpose is to improve the welfare of the members through collective bargaining.

The unions worked hand in hand with political parties to achieve political independence for Kenya.

Indians were firs to form trade unions i.e. the Indian trade union in 1914. Most trade unions were formed after the Second World War. They were formed along racial lines. Artisans and labourers were not allowed to join them for they would cause many strikes.

Up to 1914 there existed no African trade union because

  1. Africans were illiterate lacked the knowledge to run workers unions.
  2. The migrant labour systems discouraged them from joining such unions.
  3. The colonial government fought attempts by Africans to form workers organizations


In 1922 the Asian artisans in the railway department formed the Railways Artisans Union, Soon their leaders were sacked and the union was closed down.

In the 1930s, the artisans of Mombasa who included masons and labourers held a mass meeting and establish a trade union named Trade Union Committee of Mombasa. This was after Africans got provoked with a tragic accident in which some road constructors died but were not compensated. R.M Shar was appointed the president of the Union.

Indians played a very important role in that they had more experience with workers organizations.

In 1934 the Indian trade Union became the Kenya Indian Labour Trade Union (K.I.L.T.U) to reflect the fact that it drew members from across the whole nation.

In 1935, one of the trade unionist Makhan Singh advised the union to accept membership from all races. They then changed the name to the Labour Trade Union of Kenya, then to Labour Trade Union of East Africa (L.T.U.E.A)


African Workers Federation

The Second World War was important in the development of trade unions in Kenya. The demands of trade unionists in Kenya were

  1. They were against low wages hence demanded for higher wages
  2. Food shortages
  3. Poor working conditions for African workers
  4. They were against the Kipande system
  5. They demanded the release of arrested and detained trade unionists
  6. They were against forced labour
  7. They problem of restricted movement of workers
  8. They were against racial discrimination in places of work

All this led to major strikes in Nairobi and Mombasa.

On 14th January 1947, the striking workers in Mombasa formed the African Workers Union

The strike paralyzed work in offices, banks, hotels, docks and railways. It was on this day that AWU was born with

  1. Mohammed Kibwana as President
  2. Mwangi Macharia as Secretary
  3. Mbaruk Kenze as treasurer
  4. Chege Kibachia as executive Officer

A committee of 12 members was also appointed to assist the elected officials.

On January 21st 1947 the union sent a letter to the East African Standard Newspaper in which it outlined the workers grievances that led to the strike. These were

  1. A salary increase due to the high cost of living
  2. Implementation of the policy of equal pay for equal workers regardless of race.
  3. Respect for African workers whereas they were employed
  4. Payment of enough allowances to cater for African wives and children
  5. Elimination of deliberate strategies applied by employees to keep Africans in their places of work all the time.

During the strike, the Mombasa D.C invited the newly appointed member to the Legco, Eliud Mathu to talk to the workers. He

  1. Suggested a change of the name from AWU to African Workers Federation (AWF)
  2. He convinced the workers to return to work on 25th January 1947.

Later, a trade dispute tribunal was set up by the government to look into the African grievances in Mombasa. It was led by:

  1. Justice Thacker
  2. Hope Jones
  3. T. Holden
  4. C Merrit
  5. H. Noor Mohammed

The Africans who made contribution to the tribunal were

  1. Chege Kibachia
  2. Fred Kubai
  3. John Mungai
  4. Willy George
  5. Osore

The success of the Mombasa strike made AWF more popular. Chege Kibachia travelled all over the country to educate Africans on the importance of trade unions. He put up branches in Nairobi, Thika, Kisumu and Nakuru.

His activities like threatening to call a nationwide strike alarmed the government and he was arrested and detained at Baringo. His colleagues were repatriated to their respective reserves where they were monitored.

Achievements of A.W.F

  1. It mobilized Africans from various communities to come together and fight for better wages.
  2. Educated Africans on their rights.
  3. Introduced the concept of Kenyan workers
  4. Fought for better living and working conditions
  5. Advocated for better allowances for African workers, wives and children.
  6. Made the colonial government change its attitude towards labour unions and it began to give much attention to workers grievances.
  7. It exposed the African grievances to the international community.


Kenya Federation of Labour

After the declaration of a state of emergency in 1952, the government took drastic measures against Africans. This involved:-

  1. Mass deportation
  2. Detentions
  3. Banning of all political activities
  4. Revival of forced labour

This led to the loss of members for the unions and the membership dropped from 40,000 in 1952 to 14,000 in 1956.

A trade union ordinance was enacted in 1952 which allowed formation of unions. Various small African trade unions united to form the Kenya Federation of Registered Trade Unions (K.F.R.T.U). The small unions included

  1. Kenya local Government Workers Union led by Tom Mboya
  2. Domestic and Hotel Workers Union
  3. East Africa Federation of Building and Construction Workers Union


The officials of K.F.R.T.U were

  1. Mwichigi Karanja as president
  2. Aggrey Minya as secretary general.

The members were S. Ondiege, Elkana Okusimba, Silas Okeya, David Jomo, S. Osore, James Wainaina and Dishon Sambili.

K.F.R.T.U did the following during the time of emergency

  1. Fought for the rights of the workers and better living conditions.
  2. Campaigned against low wages.
  3. Campaigned against poor conditions of the workers
  4. Campaigned against the detention of trade union leaders.
  5. Protested against the forceful evacuation of the Ameru, Aembu and Agikuyu from Nairobi
  6. By 1955 it protested against the increased prices of tea and bread.
  7. It protested against continuation of the state of emergency.

When elections for K.F.R.T.U were held later on, the following were elected as officials

David Njomo as president

Stephen Obwaka as vice-president

Tom Mboya as secretary general

G.W Owuor as assistant General Secretary

Daniel Ng’ethe as treasurer

John Opiyo as assistant Treasurer

In 1955 K.F.R.T.U changed its name to the Kenya Federation of Labour (K.F.L). By 1956 the organization was representing 35,000 African trade unionists.

Tom Mboya travelled widely and established links between K.F.L and other international trade unions. As a result, K.F.L was affiliated with the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (I.C.F.T.U) which helped to check the excesses of the colonial government. This alarmed the government and the white settlers.

In 1956 a letter from the register of societies was sent to KFL notifying it that it would be dissolved. KFL mobilize its members locally and internationally to petition against its cancellation. The cancellation was withdrawn.


Role of K.F.L in the campaign for Workers Welfare

  1. It kept the spirit of African nationalism alive after the ban of KAU i.e. it expressed the grievances of the Africans in the absence of political parties
  2. It secured international support for the cause of African nationalism.
  3. It educated Africans on their rights.
  4. It helped to improve the living and working conditions of African workers e.g. in 1956 it secured a salary increase of 68% for the workers.
  5. It prepared some African nationalists for leadership roles in the struggle for independence e.g. Tom Mboya and Martin Shikuku.


The Role of Trade Unions in the struggle for independence

  1. They contributed to the improvement of workers and working conditions. This was done through strikes, go-slows, sit-ins and therefore reviewed the terms of the workers.
  2. They introduced the concept of collective bargaining i.e. workers raised their complains as a group rather than as individuals. This helped to reduce victimization.
  3. They opposed colonial rule and raised the people’s political awareness, thus replacing the political parties. They educated African workers on their rights and this encouraged them to struggle for independence.
  4. They kept the spirit of African nationalism alive when political parties were banned.
  5. Trade unions secured international support for the cause of African nationalism.
  6. They promoted regional co-operation i.e. in East Africa, they worked together for the good of the workers in the region.
  7. They promoted co-operation between employers, employees and the government through consultation. This reduced industrial disputes.
  8. Trade unions provided relevant training ground for potential nationalist leaders, e.g. Mboya Tom
  9. They pressed for release of political leaders such as Harry Thuku
  10. Trade Unions contributed money to political parties that struggled for independence.

Problems faced by Trade Unions

  1. The trade unions were harassed by both the white settlers and the colonial government e.g. Chege Kibachia was exiled to Baringo due to his role in AWF.
  2. The migrant nature of the Africans workforce made the people ignorant about the role of trade unions.
  3. They lacked trained personnel with knowledge of trade unionism.
  4. They experienced shortage of funds. This was due to
  5. Meager contributions from the workers
  6. Mismanagement of funds
  7. Choice of leaders which was based on ethnic consideration rather than competence
  8. Constant wrangling among the leaders of the trade unions.

To date, trade unions continue to play an important role in fighting for the welfare of workers. Examples of trade unions are Kenya National Union of Teachers and C.O.T.U


Role of women in the struggle for independence

In Kenya women played an important role in the struggle for independence

  1. During the Abagusii resistance, the Kitutu prophetess Moraa incited a Kisii warrior to spear General Norhcote in 1908.
  2. In Ukambani Syotune wa Kithuke used a dance called kilumi in 1911 to mobilize the Akamba to protest against the colonialists. In the dance which was performed by medicine men to ward off evil spirits, Syotune gathered the people and urged them not to pay taxes, and provide labour. She was later exiled to Kismayu.
  3. Makatilili wa Menza among the Agiriama mobilized and administered oaths to the Kaya elders so as to instill confidence and unity in the community. Mekatilili was arrested and deported to Kisii to ensure that she did not inspire another resistance.


Role of women in political association

  1. In 1922 during the arrest of Harry Thuku as the crowds swelled and feared to attack the police, a woman by the name Mary Muthoni Nyanjiru, a strong follower of the E.A.A challenged the men to remove their trousers and wear skirts if they could not free Thuku by force. This made the men to become fierce and surge towards the cells. Fearing that the crowd would free Thuku, the colonial police opened fire and massacred many people including her.
  2. In 1924, Women gave financial and moral support to the former members of E.A.A who ran short of funds.
  3. In response to the attempts of the protestant missions to ban female circumcision practice, women together with their husbands abandoned the mission churches and also withdrew their children from the schools. This then led to the formation of independent schools in Western, Nyanza and Eastern.
  4. In western Kenya, the Legio Maria sect was founded by a woman called Aoko who claimed to have received a divine calling.
  5. Songs were composed and dances by women to ridicule the colonial chiefs and their agents.
  6. In 1930s some Kikuyu women felt that K.C.A was not recognizing their role in the association therefore a number of women formed as association mainly for women which worked closely with K.C.A It was called the Mumbi Central Association.
  7. Sarah Sarai was detained in 1952 due to her participation in nationalist activities in the Ziwani African location in Nairobi. She was a strong member of KAU.


Role of Women in the Mau Mau movement

The following are some of the contributions of women to the freedom movement.

  1. They took part in armed resistance and some of them proved to be better soldiers than the men. Such included Marshall Muthoni from Nyeri, Nduta wa Kore, Elizabeth Gachika and Wambui Wagarama.
  2. The Agikuyu, Aembu and Ameru community formed the fighters in the forests. The women coordinated the rural networks.
  3. They provided the fighters with food, medicine, guns and ammunition, clothing and shoes. The elderly women hid their supplies of guns and ammunition in the loins and the policemen felt ashamed to strip them naked while looking for the guns.
  4. They acted as spies e.g. some women befriended the home guards and gathered useful information about the colonial forces.
  5. They composed songs to mobilize support for the Mau Mau and also to ridicule the home guards and other colonial agents. The songs inspired warriors to fight on.
  6. They mobilized men and women to join the liberation by using ridicule for those who resisted joining the movement.
  7. They were the chief oathing administers and the oath bound the members to secrecy.
  8. They were raped and subjected to forced labour and physical torture by the colonial officers in search of vital information but they still refused to betray the fighters, despite the inhuman treatment which they got.
  9. Over 8,000 women from the Agikuyu, Ameru and Aembu were detained at Kamiti. Others were put in concentration camps
  10. More women lived in villages encircled with barbed wire and ditches. They were subjected to curfew and starvation though they were still monitored by the colonial government so as not to give information to the Mau Mau.

After Mau Mau, a good number of women were recognized, such as Jemimah Gechaga who was the first woman nominated to Legco, Priscillah Abwao was the first woman at the 1st Lancaster House conference 1960, an Grace Onyango became the first mayor of Kisumu after independence.


Role of civilians during the struggle for independence

  1. They provided material support to the warriors who were involved in the war with British
  2. They provided moral support to those who were fighting
  3. They acted as spies for their forces
  4. Provided hideout for the soldiers
  5. Stole ammunition and guns from Europeans and gave them to their soldiers
  6. Refused to volunteer information to the whites about African forces despite being tortured
  7. Endured hardship for the sake of independence e.g. curfews and starvation.


Constitutional changes leading to independence

Factors that promoted decolonization in Africa

  1. The experiences of the ex-soldiers encouraged them to demand for more political rights.
  2. The Pan-African movement pressurized the colonial government to grant political independence to their subjects
  3. Colonial powers began to realize that colonies were becoming expensive due to the constant revolts e.g. in Britain and France, the citizens were reluctant to finance colonial empires.

All these led to

  1. African representation in the Legco

African demand for representation in the Legco led to Eliud Mathu becaming the first African to be appointed in the Legco.

Ohanga Beaniah became second following KAU demands.

After Mau Mau, the government set came up with several commissions which included

  1. The Sywnnerton Plan of 1954 which recommended the consolidation and registration of African land for better management.
  2. The report on African wages and the Lidbury Commission on civil service recommended better pay for African workers.
  3. The East African Royal Commission in 1955 which recommended
  • an end to racial segregation
  • increased involvement of Africans in the colonial administration
  • opening of the Kenya highlands to all races


  1. Lyttleton Constitution

In 1954 Oliver Lyttelton, the British colonial Secretary visited Kenya and made proposals for the following constitutional reforms.

  1. The creation of a multi-racial society where all races would share equal power.
  2. A multi-racial council of ministers to replace Governor’s executive council. The unofficial members of the new council would now include 1 African, 2 Asians and 3 Europeans. Africans and Asians would be represented by members with executive power over their ministers. The first African unofficial member to be appointed was A. Ohanga who became minister for community development and African Affairs in 1954.
  3. Each race should elect its representatives to the Legco. Elected members to the Legco should be 29. Nominated members should be 30. This led to the registration of 127,000 Africans as voters.

In March 1957 the first African elections to the Legco were held. The winners were

  1. Tom Mboya for Nairobi
  2. Masinde Muliro for N. Nyanza
  3. Oginga Odinga for Central Nyanza
  4. Lawrence Ogunda for S. Nyanza
  5. Ronald Ngala for Coast
  6. Daniel Arap Moi for Rift Valley
  7. Bernard Mate for Central
  8. James Muimi for Ukambani

After the elections, the elected African members of the Legco formed an organization known as African Elected Members Organisation (A.E.M.O) with Jaramogi Odinga as Chairman and Tom Mboya as secretary.


Demands of AEMO

  1. Equal representation in the Legco
  2. Every African 21 years and above be allowed to vote
  3. Registration of voters be done on a common roll
  4. An end to the state of emergency

Two Africans in the council opposed the Lyttelton constitution because it strengthened the position of the Europeans.

The Europeans led by Captain Briggs objected the involvement of Africans and Asians in the political management of the economy.

In 1955 the government lifted the ban on political organizations, except in central where mau mau was still on. The Africans were allowed to form local district based political organizations. This led to the formation of

  1. The Nairobi Peoples Convention Party led by Mboya
  2. Taita African Democratic Union led by D. Mwanyumba
  3. Abagusii Association led by John Kebaso
  4. The Kenya National Congress led by Argwings Kodhek
  5. The Maasai Front led by John Keen.


  1. Lennox-Boyd Constitution

Oliver Lyttelton was succeeded by Lennox-Boyd as secretary of state for colonies in 1957. On his visit to Kenya he made proposals for further constitutional changes. These were

  1. African seats in Legco to be increased by six bringing the total representation to 14 which was same as that of the Europeans
  2. He proposed special membership in the Legco with four members from each race
  3. Suggested that the number of African ministers be doubled.

AEMO members opposed the idea of the specially elected members of the legco saying that this was undemocratic. They boycotted Legco from 1958-1959.

However Musa Amalemba and Wanyutu Waweru were elected to the Legco as special members. They were then branded traitors. Amalemba later was appointed the 2nd African minister for Housing in 1958.

The AEMO members were sued by the government for libel, i.e. they discourage candidates from accepting special seats. They then called on D.N. Pritt, Kenyattas lawyer to defend them. They were fined 75 pounds each.

There was division between moderates led by Blundell and extremist led by Captain Briggs.

In 1959 Michael Blundell resigned from his Agricultural ministerial post and formed the New Kenya Party (N.K.P) He was backed by 46 non-African members of the Legco who supported his ideas.

The European radicals formed the United Party (U.P) led by Captain Briggs. They demanded that the Legco be abolished and be replaced with regional assemblies. Their aim was to preserve the white highlands for the whites.

A division also emerged in AEMO. The moderates led by Ngala, Muliro, Mate, Moi, Towett and Jeremiah Nyagah resigned from AEMO and formed the Kenya National Party (KNP). It advocated for multipartism. The party was joined by all the Asians, Arab members and one white member of the Legco.

The radical members of AEMO led by Odinga, Mboya, Gikonyo Kiano formed the Kenya Independent Movement (KIM). They opposed multiracialism. Their party was purely for Africans. They demanded for

  1. Convening of a full constitutional conference to discuss Kenyas future.
  2. The release of Kenyatta.

Lennox Boyd was later succeeded by Ian MacLeod


Lancaster House Conferences

By 1959 the colonial government was committed to remove all racial barriers and grant political independence to Africans. The Lancaster house conferences were convened to iron out these differences whereby there was an open opposition between the radical Europeans and AEMO who were opposed to multi-racialism.


The first Lancaster House Conference (1960)

This meeting was convened in London at the Lancaster house, the Headquarter of the British colonial office in January 1960.

It was convened by the secretary of state for colonies Sir Ian MacLeod. All members of the Legco attended the conference. They were led by Ronald Ngala as chairman and Tom Mboya as secretary.

The Africans demanded for

  1. A vote on the common roll based on one man one vote.
  2. A majority in the proposed council of ministers


The following decisions were reached

  1. 12 elective seats in the Legco would remain intact.
  2. There were to be 33 seats in the Legco vied for on a common roll
  3. 20 seats would be reserved 10 for European 8 for Asians.
  4. The council of ministers was to be altered to bring in 4 Africans, 3 Europeans and 1 Asian.
  5. It authorized the formation of countrywide political parties for Africans. This led to the formation of KANU and KADU.

This conference was an important milestone in African political development in Kenya. In this, the Europeans lost their bid to dominate in Kenya. Some began to leave the country.

On the other hand, Africans felt that it failed to give them a responsible government though 4 of the elected African members of the Legco accepted ministerial positions reserved for Africans

  1. Ronald Ngala Minister for Labour, Social Security and Adult education
  2. Julius Gikonyo Kiano, minister for Commerce and Industry
  3. Musa Amalemba, Minister for housing, common services, probation and Approved schools.
  4. James Nzau Muimi, minister for health and Welfare.

Among the African communities, new alliances were formed due to the high hopes of independence

  • Kalenjin Political Alliance led by Taita Arap Towett
  • Coast African Political Union led by Ronald Ngala
  • Kenya African Peoples Party led by Masinde Muliro

These political groups were formed due to the fear of political domination by the larger ethnic groups e.g. the Luo and the Agikuyu.

In 1960 more members of the Legco joined KANU and KADU.

When the first general elections were held in 1961 KANU beat KADU and KANU gave the release of Jomo Kenyatta as their condition for agreeing to form a government. Ronald Ngala was requested by the colonial government to form the government with KADU together with other European and Asian members.

When Kenyatta was released, Kariuki Njiiri offered him his Murang’a constituency seat therefore enabling him to join the Legco.

The Second Lancaster House Conference

It was called by the Colonial secretary Reginald Maulding in 1962. The main goal was to draw an independence constitution acceptable to the two major African parties KANU and KADU. KANU was led by Kenyatta and KADU was led by Ngala. KANU favoured a unitary system of government while KADU was for a federal constitution.

After a lengthy discussion KANU gave in to the wishes of KADU for a federal government. This was for the sake of speeding up political independence.

A Constitution was therefore formed on a majimbo system with a provision for six regions. The Legislature was to consist of two chambers, the senate and the lower house.

In May 1963 elections, KANU won 73 seats while KADU won 31 and APP won 8 seats. Jomo Kenyatta then became the Prime Minster on 1st June 1963 (Madaraka day). This meant that Kenyatta controlled only the internal affairs and defense dockets were still under the control of the British government.

On 12th December Kenya attained full independence meaning that Kenya could now run all her internal and external affairs. Kenyatta was the Prime Minister while the Queen of England remained the head of state.

On 12th December 1964 Kenya was declared a republic with Kenyatta as an executive president. In this the Queen of England ceased to be head of state.










Topic 6




Nationalism is defined as the desire for independence and self-determination among a group of people. Oppressive colonial rule Africans were subjected to is what led to nationalism.


Factors that led to the rise of nationalism in Africa

Internal factors

  1. Economic exploitation i.e. land alienation, forced labour, low wages and harsh treatment of the Africans e.g public flogging and use of insulting language.
  2. Imposition of taxes ranging from hut tax, poll tax and ‘breast’ tax in Congo.
  3. Interference of their political institutions e.g. disregard for traditional rulers such as Council of Elders. They replaced them with chiefs who were rejected and regarded as instruments of colonial oppression.
  4. Disregard for the African culture. African customs were regarded as primitive and barbaric. This led to the rise of independent churches that aimed at retaining the African traditions such as polygamy, dancing etc.
  5. Rise of urban centres such as Mombasa, Lagos and Dar es Salaam enabled different communities to interact and overcome tribal prejudices that prevailed among some groups.
  6. Racial segregation that was encouraged by colonialists. This was done in schools, hospitals, clubs and other recreational facilities. The best was preserved for the Europeans.
  7. Provision of western education led to the rise of African elites who knew how to read and write. They got exposed to European History which helped them spearhead nationalism in all corners of Africa

External factors

  1. The Africans who took part in World War One both as carriers and combatants acquired experience that enabled them break the myth that Europeans were superiority.
  2. The spread of Leninist-Marxist ideas, after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 which led to communism in Russia. The communists described colonialism as an act of economic exploitation of the weaker peoples of the world.
  3. The Pan Africanists such as Marcus Garvey, W.E.B Dubois made Africans realize that they shared common problems. This made them unite. Garvey argued that since the Europeans had their Europe as a continent, then they should leave African continent. In 1945, a Pan African meeting was held in Manchester England. It was attended by Kwame Nkurumah of Ghana, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Leopold Sedar Sengor of Senegal and Kamuzu Banda of Malawi. In the meeting they called for the self-determination of Africa.
  4. World War II encouraged Africans to realize that they were not different from the Europeans, a fact that boosted their self-confidence.
  5. After World War II U.N.O was formed with the aim of preserving international peace and security. It also stressed on the need for political independence of all peoples as a way of obtaining global peace.
  6. Asian nationalists greatly motivated African nationalists e.g. after Indias political independence in 1947, the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru inspired African nationalists such as Tom Mboya to fight for political independence.

In Africa, political freedom was achieved through struggle. Where colonial government exploited, humiliated and oppressed Africans, the reaction was violent e.g. in Algeria, Kenya, Southern Rhodesia, Mozambique and South Africa. Where colonial powers were not exploitative and harsh e.g. in Nigeria, Uganda and Tanganyika, nationalism was less violent.


Rise and growth of African Nationalism in Ghana

Ghana was initially known as the Gold Coast. The first people to settle there were the Portuguese and their interest was trade in gold and other goods.

They then named it the gold coast with reference to the vast gold deposits in the area. From the 15th century, a lot of gold was mined and sent to Portugal. The Dutch, British and the Danes joined the Portuguese later on.

Some communities in Gold Coast welcomed the trading opportunities. They opposed any form of European political dominance. That is why the Asante led by the Asantehene organized stiff resistance which was crushed and he together with the Queen Mother were deported to Seychelles

In 1865, the Fante Confederation was formed to oppose the British domination. In 1897, the African elites and chiefs formed the Aborigines Rights Protection Society mainly to guard against the alienation of African land by the British. This was the pioneer modern nationalist organization in Ghana.

By 1930s, a large group of western educated Africans were not happy with the colonial order in the country. J.B Danquah launched the Gold Coast Youth Conference that aimed at awakening the youth to the economic and social needs of the country.

The African elites who included lawyers, journalists, teachers and business men demanded an end to the economic and social injustices and wanted more political rights.

The government led by Governor Burns reacted by revising the constitution to increase African representation in the Legco. African representatives in the Legco increased to 18. 13 were drawn from the chiefs and 5 were elected popularly.

The African communities rejected the change. They regarded the chiefs as mere instruments of the colonial control. What followed was the formation of the United Gold Coast Convention (U.G.C.C) led by Danquah. In 1946, Kwame Nkurumah came to assist him organize the party.

Nkurumah attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia USA and got a law degree.  He had the academic qualification and enough political experience having taken part in the 1945 Pan-African congress in Manchester.

On 12th June 1946, Nkurumah broke away from U.G.G.C to form Convention Peoples Party. The party condemned colonialism and the structure of authority in which Ashanti chiefdom had a lot of power. Nkrumah introduced a red white green flag for his party, a party salute and composed slogans and songs.

The party became vibrant and popular among the youths.


Factors that led to the growth of nationalism

  1. Existence of a large group of young people with elementary education who were unemployed and therefore frustrated. They flocked towns and were easily influenced.
  2. The fact that the British put up only one university i.e. the University of Ibadan in Nigeria instead of Ghana to serve the whole of British West Africa causing a lot of bitterness among school leavers.
  3. Existence of a smaller group of Africans such as Nkurumah, Danquah, Akuffo Addo and Ako Adjei who had attained higher education. They were trained either in Europe or USA and could articulate the grievances of their people well. They were well-versed in the ideals of democracy, equality and freedom, which they wanted to uphold in the country.
  4. The poor profits from the cocoa sales, expensive European goods and the British order that farmers cut down cocoa trees after an outbreak of the swollen shoot disease.
  5. The ex-servicemen gained more confidence in dealing with the colonial authorities. They encouraged the African veterans to fight for the independence.
  6. The government gave trading licenses to whites and deliberately denied the Africans. This annoyed the people of Gold Coast.
  7. Colonial exploitation of African resources like land and minerals.

In 1948, the ex-soldiers protested to the governor Sir Gerald Creasy against the unfulfilled promises they made to them when they were in service. This included good jobs and more opportunities for social advancement.

During the protest, two ex-servicemen who had gone to present a petition to the governor were shot dead. This led to the Accra riots of 25th February 1948. There was also high inflation.

At the same time, the Africans in Gold Coast had began to boycott Asian shops causing a lot of tension and chaos in Accra, the capital. 29 people were killed by colonial authorities.    Nkurumah, Danquah, William Ofori, Addo, Adjei and Obetsebi Lamptey were arrested and confined in different areas in isolation.

A commission led by Andrew Watson was set up in 1948 to find out the causes of riot. It concluded that the oppressive, socio-economic and political environment were the cause. A new constitution was therefore needed.

On 8th January 1950, Nkurumah advocated for positive action through

  1. Legitimate political action
  2. Newspaper and educational campaigns
  3. Constitutional application of boycotts, strikes and non-cooperation based on the principles of non-violence.

He started a paper known as ‘The Accra Evening News’ to advance the grievances of the Africans. He was later arrested and charged with incitement.

However he was released when he won the February 1951 elections by landslide majority. He became the leader of government business in the cabinet.

In 1954, National Liberation Movement (NLM) was formed with majority of members drawn from Ashanti community. They opposed Nkrumah because he was from a little known community in Southern Ghana and favoured unitary system of government. Ashanti wanted federalism. Secondly, he had very radical ideas unlike the conservative traditional leaders. As a result of opposition, elections were held in July 1956 whereby Nkurumas Convention Peoples Party won with a landslide majority.

On 6th March 1957, the country attained political independence under Nkurumah. The name changed from Gold Coast to Ghana. It was the first African country to get political independence. To Nkrumah, independence was meaningless unless the rest of Africa was freed from the yoke of colonialism.

Role of CPP in leading Ghana to independence

  1. It united Africans in the struggle for national liberation.
  2. It used positive action such as political meetings to force the government to liberate Africans.
  3. It formed the first African government before independence and Nkrumah rule was marked by economic, social and political developments e.g. construction of new transport infrastructure, better prices for cocoa, provision of free primary education etc.
  4. It advocated for the unity of all Africans in the country, a fact that enhanced progress towards political liberation.


Role of Ghana in inspiring other African countries to fight for political independence

  1. Convened two Pan-African meetings in Accra which paved the way for a series of pan-African conferences which led to the formation of O.A.U in 1963.
  2. Nkurumah supported liberation movements against colonial rule both morally and materially e.g. in Algeria he gave them grants and in Guinea he funded the nationalists.
  3. Nkurumah supported other African states whenever they faced political threats from their colonial masters e.g. Patrice Lumumba in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Nationalism in Mozambique

Portuguese settled in Mozambique with an interest in gold trade at Sofala. Most traders settled in river Zambezi valley. The agriculturalists joined the African communities and shared lifestyles.

However, given that Portugal was poor with agricultural economy and high levels of illiteracy, little money was available for running colonies. Colonies had poor infrastructure and lacked facilities.

Between 1940 and 1950, Mozambicans travelled to South Africa, S. Rhodesia, N. Rhodesia, Tanganyika, Kenya etc and came back with liberation attitude. They opposed oppression, economic exploitation etc.


Factors for the growth of nationalism in Mozambique

  1. The replacement of traditional leaders with their own appointees
  2. Portuguese settlers pushed many African out of their land
  3. Forced payment of taxes by the administration
  4. Disregard of the African traditional customs e.g. misuse of their women.
  5. Forced labour and treatment of Africans like slaves.
  6. Land alienation, competition for semi-skilled jobs such as taxi driving with the Africans. Moreso, the Portuguese showed least interest in uplifting the lives of Africans.
  7. Imposition of many restrictions to Africans e.g. limiting their freedom of expression and intellectual advancement and censorship of press freedom
  8. Cruel treatment of Africans by the police e.g. any political unrest was crushed ruthlessly.


The peak of nationalism in Mozambique

Early 1960, Makonde people of Cabo province founded Mozambican Makonde Union (MANU). In June, it held a protest outside the Portuguese administrative office in Mueda. They resisted arrest and 600 of the m were massacred. All political parties with more than 30 members were banned. Activities of parties were held underground.

In 1962, Julius Nyerere invited different liberation groups from Mozambique and encouraged them to set up headquarters in Dar es Salaam. MANU plus two others relocated. Nyerere advised them to merge leading to formation of Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO) with Eduado Mondlane Chirambo as its founder president.

In 1961, Mondlane resigned from his U.N job after noting problems faced by Africans under Portuguese. He made contacts with Mozambicans in exile. From 1962 to 1964, preparations for war using guerrilla tactics were made. Training was done in Bagamoyo, the Mozambique Institute, and in Algeria.

From September 1964 FRELIMO embarked on a full scale war targeting Portuguese military bases, communication and transport lines in different parts of the country. Portuguese called for more reinforcement (had 65,000 troops by 1967)


Strengths and Weaknesses of FRELIMO

  1. They were able to attack the Portuguese from all directions, therefore defeating the fragmented soldiers
  2. Many Africans joined the nationalists war e.g. by 1964 there was 8,000 armed fighters in the villages.
  3. The country was ideal for guerrilla warfare e.g. it had forests that favoured guerilla warfare, the Portuguese aircrafts and armored vehicles were of little use.
  4. They were fighting among fellow Africans who supported them and also got a constant supply of information from fellow Africans about the movements of Portuguese troops
  5. FRELIMO grew its own food to relieve the local population of the burden of supplying the force with food.
  6. Support from communist nations such as USSR, Czechoslovakia and China in form of training guerrillas, providing food, medicine, weapons, ammunition, vehicles and even finances.
  7. The independent African countries through the O.A.U liberation committee with its headquarters at Dar es Salaam hosted the guerrilla, gave them the training, finance, weapons and other resources.
  8. FRELIMOs system of administration that wooed more people to support it, e.g. it abolished all forms of exploitation e.g. taxes, forced labour and repressive measures. It also set up schools, health centres and allowed peasants to form producer co-operatives that were free from any form of economic exploitation.
  9. Recognition of the role played by women e.g. many guerilla units were made up of women, and they also mobilized the African communities to support the struggle.
  10. Elimination of ethnicity i.e. they used traditional songs and dances to instill national consciousness in the fighters.
  11. FRELIMO collaborated with freedom fighters from Southern Rhodesia and they fought together against Portuguese bases in Mozambique.


Problems faced/weaknesses

  1. They ran short of basic needs in the forests. The government ensured that few supplies reached the nationalists.
  2. The church in Mozambique maintained that FRELIMO was a terrorist organization. This attitude made scores of the African faithfuls reluctant to support the liberation war.
  3. It suffered from internal decisions that arose due to ideological and selfish ambitions among the nationalists e.g. Reverent Uria Simango and Lazaro Kavandame saw FRELIMO as an instrument of acquiring power and economic assets for their own selfish benefit.
  4. It encountered competition from rural guerilla movements such as COREMO (Revolutionary Committee of Mozambique) which broke away from FRELIMO.
  5. The assassination of FRELIMO leader Eduardo Mondlane in 1969 was a great blow to the nationalist.
  6. Use of cruel methods in fighting the sympathizers of African nationalists by the Portuguese.
  7. Apartheid regime in South Africa and (Unilateral Declaration of Independence, U.D.I) regime in Southern Rhodesia combined forces with the Portuguese to fight the nationalists in Mozambique.

After the assassination of Mondlane, Samora Machel took over in 1969 as an army commander and later the president. Following the events in Portugal leading to coups, an agreement to hand over power to FRELIMO was signed in 1975. Samora became the first president. He died in 1986. His widow Graca Machel married Nelson Mandela in 1994.


Nationalism in South Africa

African nationalism began in 17th Century against the Boer racist policy of apartheid that was advanced against the indigenous Africans. They resisted the Boer interference in their political freedom and economic resources.

In 1866, gold and diamonds were discovered in Transvaal. This made the British to stay on and occupy large areas of South Africa in order to amass the mineral wealth. They clashed with both the Africans and the Afrikaners (Dutch speaking settlers)

In 1906, a Zulu chief named Bambata led an uprising against the British rule and like Cetewayo who had tried so earlier; he was captured and taken into exile.

In spite of this oppressive environment, Africans could vote and contest in parliamentary if they fulfilled certain qualification set up by the Europeans.

In 1910, the union of South Africa was created and the Afrikaners took political control of South Africa from the British. This led to the Africans losing all their political freedom. New oppressive laws aimed at subduing them were passed. In reaction, Africans founded independent churches and formed new local organizations e.g. the Orange River Organisation. This aimed at puting power in the hands of Africans. Nationalism began.


Factors that led to the growth of nationalism in South Africa

  1. Introduction of Christianity in South Africa. It taught ideals that encouraged African to fight for equality.
  2. Land alienation by the Afrikaner government made Africans to be dependant on the Afrikaner farms that had been taken away from them.
  3. Pan Africanists like Rev John Dube from South Africa who joined hands with W.E.B Dubois and fought for equality among blacks and whites. He then founded the Ohlange Institute to educate fellow Africans in South Africa
  4. Discriminative labour laws against Africans e.g. the 1911 mines and works Act that excluded Africans from all skilled occupation. So Africans were confined to manual occupations in mines, farms. The pass laws that ensured that they did not desert their white employers and the Industrial Conciliation Act of 1904 that made it illegal for Africans to form trade unions.
  5. Urban centres enabled Africans to form close inter-ethnic relations that enabled them to counter the Afrikaner racist policies.
  6. Participation in World War II exposed many Africans to democratic ideals i.e. they discovered that they were no major differences between African peoples and whites.
  7. The policy of racial discrimination enhanced by the Boers convinced them that only political freedom could save them from further humiliation.
  8. Existence of African elites like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Rev John Dube helped in promoting national consciousness.


The African National Congress (A.N.C)

South African Native Congress was the earliest political organization in S. Africa founded by

  1. Rev John Dube of Natal as president
  2. Thomas Mapikela
  3. Walter Rubusana
  4. Solomon Plaatye
  5. Sam Makgatho

In 1923, it changed its name to ANC led by D.D Jabavu and Rev Dube. The organization favoured non-violent resistance as advocated for by Mahatma Gandhi. From 1940 to 1949 A.B Xuma was the president of ANC

World War II saw an influx of Africans in South African urban centres to provide labour. Many of the educated Africans were able to secure professional and clerical posts. This provided a favourable platform for African nationalists in the post war era to spread their ideas.

In 1943, a radical youth league was formed to use militant action to attain national liberation. It got support from the African-Americans who insisted that the Europeans must leave Africa for Africans.  The leaders were

  1. Nelson Mandela
  2. Walter Sisulu
  3. Oliver Tambo.

In 1948, the Nationalist Party led by Dr. Malan won the election. The party introduced the apartheid policy against the Africans and other non-whites. They advocated for a programme of total European supremacy.

In 1949 the youth league adopted a militant programme of action that agitated for strikes, boycotts and civil disobedience against the apartheid regime. This led to violent confrontation against ANC and the government in 1952 in Witwatersrand, Kimberley and Eastern Cape.


The Freedom Charter

In 1952 Albert Luthuli became the president of ANC. During his tenure, the organization became so popular. He then convened congress for ANC, South African Coloured People’s Organisation and South African Congress of Trade Unions.

The delegates of the congress adopted a ‘freedom charter’ which declared that South Africa belongs to all who live in it both black and white.

This annoyed the apartheid regime who arrested 56 people and confined them for 5years.

In 1956, a split emerged in ANC. Some supported the Charter while others exclusively agitated for African nationalism.

Those who agitated for African nationalism formed the Pan-African congress (PAC) led by Robert Sobukwe. He believed that all evils of apartheid were to be fought by all means available including the use of violence.

In 1960, Robert Sobukwe and Albert Luthuli announced a nationwide campaign against the press laws that were only applicable to the Africans. During the campaigns, 67 adults and 200 innocent Africans including school children were seriously injured. This was the Sharpeville massacre of 1960. Over 2000 Africans were detained and ANC and PAC were banned.

The immediate result was that many African political parties went underground. Nelson Mandela formed the fighting wing of ANC ‘Umkhonto we Sizwe’ i.e. spear of the nation.

P.A.C also formed its own wing known as Poqo.

In 1963, the apartheid police discovered the underground headquarters of ANC at Rivonia in Johannesburg. It led to the arrest of Mandela and other leaders of PAC.  Mandela and Walter Sisulu were found guilty of organizing a violent movement against the government. They were all condemned to life imprisonment. Many of the ANC and PAC members went into exile from where they conducted their activities.


The Black Consciousness movement

In June 1969, a black medical student called Steve Biko formed an all black movement that was to spread the philosophy of black consciousness, since all other political expressions were outlawed.

Biko believed that Africans in South Africa needed to develop confidence in their own capacities. He expressed his views through student organization, but he gave up when he realized that the multiracial National Union of South Africa students (NUSAS) discriminated against African students.

In 1969 Biko and other African students formed their own all black organization, The South African Students Organisation (SASO). Biko organized a series of meetings with religious organizations. It was through this that they got to understand the concept of black consciousness which later spread throughout the country among the black communities.

In 1972 he made an impact when the black Allied Workers Union was formed as an umbrella organization for the growing number of black trade Unions. The workers began to organise strikes and boycotts to compel the employers to heed to their demands.

High school students from South Africa and the neighbouring African countries formed a movement that was closely associated with that of Steve. The journalists formed the union of black journalists. The clergymen also formed their own.

On 16th June 1976, many school children demonstrated against the apartheid regime. They protested the use of Afrikaners as a language of instruction in schools. The result was over 360 school children were killed and thousands were arrested.

As a result Steve Biko was arrested. He died in police custody on 12th September 1977. In 1977 all black consciousness organizations were banned and their leaders imprisoned. Their papers namely The World and the Weekend World were also banned and their editors jailed.


The Peak of Nationalism in South Africa

In May 1963 the South African premier P.W. Botha introduced constitutional amendment to the house of assembly that provided for three chambers in the house, namely

  1. 50 members in the White chambers
  2. 35 in the coloured chamber
  3. 13 in the Indian chamber

The aim of this amendment was to divide the black nationalists, by giving the coloured more political privileges. Each chamber was only to deal with matters affecting their ethnic groups. National matters were tackled by the three chambers, where the whites had a lot of control.

The new arrangement didn’t please the Africans and neither did it please the white nationalists. The Africans felt that it aimed at denying them the right to vote while the right-wing nationalist felt that it was a departure from the policy of apartheid. Radical Afrikaners led by Eugene Blanche used all means e.g. violence to make sure that apartheid was weakened.

This led to political resentment and upheavals in South Africa in the 1980s. Africans formed underground political groups that attacked the government e.g. a powerful bomb made by Africans killed 18 people in Pretoria to express their hatred for the new constitution.

Some of the radical organizations that emerged were the United Democratic Front U.D.F and the National Front (N.F). The church too led by Desmond Tutu joined and he won the Nobel peace prize in 1984.

In 1988, the government realized that ANC and UDF were united and it declared a state of emergence that lasted one year. Africans responded with violent protests in the form of school riots, bus boycotts, and municipal workers strikes in urban areas. At the end, 1000 people lost their lives and more than 8000 people were imprisoned. The funerals were used by Africans to spearhead their views.

The international community noted that there was not going to be peace in South Africa as long as the policy of apartheid prevailed. The insecurity also kept off the foreign investors. Later in 1985 the US congress voted for economic sanctions against South Africa and fifty USA co-operations terminated their operations in South Africa, denying the country large profits. This made South Africa begin to experience problems in repaying her foreign debts.

Due to international pressure, P.W. Botha was replaced with Fredrick De Klerk in 1989. He was a moderate. He began by releasing Walter Sisulu and other prisoners except Mandela who had refused to denounce violence as a method of the struggle for freedom.

In February 1990 De Klerk lifted the ban on all anti-apartheid movements.

On 11th February 1990 he released Nelson Mandela, after 27 years in prison.

In 1991 he repealed some of the oppressive racist laws that were used to ban all political parties.

African nationalism took a new turn. ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Fighters led by Mangosuthu Buthelezi enjoyed lots of support from the Zulu and other Africans.

Unfortunately during their campaign, bloody clashes were usually experienced between ANC and IFP supporters because Buthelezi advocated for a federal government while ANC wanted a unitary government. This made IFP to call for postponement of elections until the issue was sorted out. This stalemate led to the intervention of the U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger and Lord Carrington of the United Kingdom, but they failed. It was until a Kenyan diplomat Professor Washington Okumu came in that it bore fruit. In April 1994 elections were held, and ANC won by a landslide.

Nelson Mandela, a former prisoner was sworn in as the president of the new South Africa on 10th May 1994. All sanctions placed against the apartheid regime were lifted and the country became a member of the commonwealth, United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity.

Some of the people who played an important role in the struggle for independence are Nelson Mandela, Walter Sizulu, Oliver Tambo, Albert Luthuli, Steve Biko, Robert Sobukwe and Desmond Tutu.


Nelson Rohihlahla Mandela

He was born at Umtata in the Transkei on 18th July 1918. His name Rohihlahla means pulling the branch of a tree, or trouble maker. His father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa was a traditional chief. His mother Nosekeni Fanny was a Christian who sent Mandela to school. He proceeded to Fort Hare University for further studies. However he was expelled due to stubbornness. He fled home to avoid marrying and ended up in Johannesburg where he met Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo.

They joined ANC and helped to establish ANC Youth League. He became its secretary in 1947 while pursuing law degree at the University of South Africa.

In 1952 he was elected deputy president of ANC and got involved in defiant campaigns against apartheid. He helped formulate The Freedom Charter in 1955 which demanded equal rights for all races in the country.

He gave up on non-violent resistance following ban on ANC after Sharpeville massacre.

They began an underground movement of armed resistance called Umkhonto we Sizwe which sabotaged vital government facilities such as railways, telephone and power installations.

In 1962, he addressed Pan African freedom conference in Ethiopia, had audience with Labour party of Britain, and undertook guerrilla training in Algeria. He visited Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia where he got overwhelming support by African nationalists.

He was arrested on 5th August 1962 for leaving the country illegally and organizing African workers strike. Together with him were Walter Sisulu, Andrew Mlangeni, Ahmed Kathrada, Elias Motsoaledi, Govan Mbeki, Mhlaba and Dennis Goldberg. They were sentenced to life imprisonment and confined to Robben Islands, except Goldberg who was taken to Pretoria Central prison.

Mandela was released from prison on 11th February 1990. He was elected president of ANC and South Africa. He eased tension between whites and blacks by preaching the concept of a ‘rainbow nation’ (various races)

He also established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission that was headed by Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu to investigate apartheid human rights violations.

Internationally, he helped in redeeming Libya from a pariah status i.e. convincing the Libyan Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to hand over the Lockerbie bombers to the Pan Am Airliner to the I.C.J for trial. Eventually sanctions against Libya were lifted.

In a very important milestone for democracy for Africa, Mandela handed over power to his deputy Thabo Mbeki after ANC won the 1999 elections. In his farewell speech he said

‘I step down with a clear conscience, feeling that I have, in a small way, done my duty to my people and my country’


Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe

Born in 1924, he was educated at Fort Hare where he met students from all over Africa. He was able to identify with the problems faced by Africans from various communities in South Africa.

He was a journalist and he used his skills as a journalist to promote the course of African nationalism. He was the editor of a newspaper known as The Africanist. He later left it to join the University of Witwatersrand where he became a language assistant at the university. He came to believe that African liberation could be achieved through armed struggle.

In 1959 he founded the Pan African Congress Party in South Africa with the aim of using armed struggle to win political independence. He was arrested during the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 and imprisoned in Robben Island. On completion of the jail term, he was detained in his home area of Kimberley until 1978 when he died.


Chief Albert Luthuli

He was born in 1898. He was a school teacher and a government chief in Zululand.

He was strongly devoted to the struggle for the rights of Africans and finally he rose to become the national president of ANC in 1953.

He was greatly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of Satyagraha (non-violent campaign) in fighting against the racist’s campaign.

He was put under house arrest between 1953 and 1956. He played a big role in the African bus boycott at Alexandra in1954. This withdrawal led to the reduction of fares for the Africans.

He took part in the drafting of the freedom Charter.

In 1961 he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in recognition of his efforts in fighting apartheid using peaceful means. In the same year, he published his famous book entitled ‘Let my people go” He died in 1967 after falling from a moving train, though a lot of foul play was suspected. Some believed he could have been pushed out of a moving train.


Methods used by African nationalists in South Africa

  1. Use of political parties to articulate their grievances to the White authorities.
  2. Use of trade unions to press for better working and living conditions. Clement Kadalie was one of the leading trade unionists.
  3. Organised protest marches, demonstrations and defiant campaigns.
  4. Use of force to fight the unjust regime. Traitors were killed.
  5. Use of diplomacy in an attempt to get government attention and that of the international community e.g. they contacted O.A.U and U.N.
  6. Use of peaceful protests to force the government to listed to them.
  7. Use of the media to highlight the injustices of the apartheid regime.
  8. Use of the churches e.g. the Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu who was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in recognition of his role in fighting against apartheid.


Problems encountered by the Nationalists in South Africa

  1. Many were killed e.g. Steve Biko and thousands of activists and hundreds of school children.
  2. Harassment by security agents, they were arrested, jailed or detained.
  3. They were forced to flee their country and seek refuge in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Kenya and Tanzania.
  4. Banning of their political parties e.g. ANC, and PAC and the communist Party
  5. Harassment of African journalists
  6. Perpetual intimidation of African trade unionists and other leaders.
  7. Use of the divide and rule tactics to divide the African through the setting up of Bantustans i.e. this policy settled each ethnic group in its own separate area isolating the blacks.
  8. The use of the pass laws curtailed the African freedom of movement (The natives Act). Over 1000 Africans were arrested for not carrying a pass.



Topic 7





The name Kenyatta was acquired from the Maasai ornamental belt called kinyata that he was fond of wearing. He added the name Njomo, a Kikuyu word for a sharp sword used by boys while herding cattle. It was later shortened to Jomo.

He was born between 1889-1895 to Muigai of the Magana clan at Ng’enda in Gatundu Division, Kiambu district. His Kikuyu name was Kamau wa Ngengi. He lost his father when he was young and was brought up by Ngengi who married his mother Wambui.

He joined the Thogoto School where he obtained elementary education in reading, writing, agriculture and carpentry skills.

He was circumcised in 1913 and he became a member of Kihiu Mwiri/Mobengi age group. He was baptized ‘Johnstone’ in 1914.

He married Grace Wahu in 1919.

In 1922, he secured a job with the municipal council of Nairobi as a store clerk and water-meter reader.

He opened a shop at Dagoretti named ‘Kinyatta’ where people gathered to socialize as they took liquor.


Role in Politics

He joined KCA in 1924 where he worked with James Beauttah and Joseph Kang’ethe. He later became the secretary of the party due to his good command of English.

In May 1928 he became the editor of Muiguithania. The paper encouraged the Kikuyus to take their children to school and also supported the practice of female circumcision.

It was printed by the Asian-owned press, showing his ability to work with diverse groups of people.

In 1928 he accompanied KCA officials to give evidence to the Hilton Young Commission.

In 1929, he was sent by KCA to Britain to present African grievances to the colonial secretary.

In 1931 he went back to England accompanied by Parmenas Mukiri to present KCA grievances before the Joint Select Committee on Closer Union of East African Countries.  In this, he stated that Africans did not support the idea of a federation. This idea was shelved by the colonial government.

1932 to 1933 he studied political science and politics at Moscow University at the invitation of Padmore, a Pan-Africanist from Trinidad. However, Padmore disagreed with the Russians, making Kenyattas studies to be cancelled. He went to Britain to pursue his studies in Anthropology and Economics at the University College, London.

In 1936 while in London he expressed solidarity with Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia after the Italian removed him from power in 1935.

In 1938 he published his book Facing Mt Kenya in which he taught the Agikuyu culture.

He also met nationalists from India and Nigeria which inspired and changed his views. He also expressed his views in an article called ‘Give back our land” which was published by a communist paper, the Sunday worker.



Kenyatta and Pan-Africanism

He was one of the founder members of International Friends of Abyssinia Organisation that condemned the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935.

Together with others, he set up the International African Services Bureau to propagate the Pan-African movement.

He addressed rallies in London attacking British colonial policies such as the Carter Land Commission and the destocking policy among the Akamba in 1938.

He later settled down in Britain as a farmer and married Edna Clarke.

In 1945 he helped in the organization of the Pan-African Congress in Manchester where he met Pan-Africanists such as W.E.B Dubois and Kwame Nkurumah. In the meeting they agreed to fight for the freedom back at home, and they adopted the slogan ‘Freedom now and Africa for Africans’


Role in the Struggle for independence

Kenyatta took over the presidency of KAU after James Gichuru stepped down in his favour.

He agitated that independence be achieved through negotiations. He conducted rallies all over the country to promote nationalism.

The ex-soldiers formed Mau Mau which terrorized white settlers and put pressure on them to leave. This led to the declaration of a state of emergency and in 1950, Bildad Kaggia, Fred Kubai, Paul Ngei, Achieng Oneko, Kung’u Karumba and Kenyatta were arrested and charged with involvement in the mau mau. They were sentenced to seven years in prison by the judge R.S. Thacker at Kapenguria. They served with hard labour and his detention made him a national hero.

Kenyatta was not a member of the mau mau movement. He disliked their violence, but the colonial government argued that his speeches and writing stirred people to violence.

Rawson Macharia was a Kenyan lawyer who was bribed to give false evidence against Kenyatta. His detention at Lokitaung’ in North Western Kenya caused a lot of public concern.  Ambu Patel formed the Jomo Committee to mobilize support for him. Oginga Odinga also put a lot of pressure on the colonial government to release him together with the African elected members of the Legco.

Kenyatta was elected the president of KANU in absentia. When KANU won elections, the leaders refused to form a government until Kenyatta was released.

He was released in August 1961 and got to parliament as an Mp for Murang’a after Kariuki Njiiri stepped down for him. In 1962 he attended the second Lancaster House conference to discuss constitutional amendments.

On 1st June, Kenya attained internal self government (Madaraka) and Kenyatta became the Prime Minister.

On 12th December 1964, Kenya became a republic with Kenyatta as the first president.


His role in nation Building

Kenyatta formed a government of national unity by convincing KADU and APP to join KANU. His motto was Uhuru na Kazi.

However he encountered the following challenges

  1. Divisions in KANU that came up due to his policy on land, in which he accepted to protect the white settlers’ lands. Radicals such as Oginga Odinga, Bildad Kaggia and Achieng’ Oneko broke away from KANU and formed KPU
  2. KADU as a party was opposed to a government of national unity and it agitated for majimboism.
  3. Lack of funds to provide for the country’s development.
  4. Poverty, ignorance and disease.
  5. Shortage of manpower due to the educational policy that equipped Africans with manual skills.
  6. Lack of a good road network
  7. The existence of banditry in North Eastern in which the Somali threatened to secede to Somalia
  8. Assassinations of Tom Mboya, J.M Kariuki, Pio Gama Pinto made Kenyans lose confidence in the government.

However he worked hard to eliminate problems of poverty, ignorance and disease. He did this through the spirit of Harambee. He also urged Kenyans to work hard in the spirit of self reliance.

Internationally he supported the liberation of other African countries. He joined OAU, Commonwealth and embraced the principle of non-alignment.

However in 1977 he suffered a mild heart attack and on 22nd August 1978 he died peacefully in his sleep. He was laid to rest at a mausoleum at parliament buildings, Nairobi. He was succeeded by Daniel Arap Moi.

His son Uhuru Kenyatta followed the footsteps of his father becoming the KANUs presidential candidate in 2002 and he lost. However he became the leader of the official opposition party in Kenya, then in 2007 he became the Deputy Prime Minister and later on in 2009 as a Minister for finance.




He played a vital role in the labour movement and politics in Kenya. His determination and ambition to achieve his goals earned him the nickname ‘sungura mjanja’ among his peers.

Early life

He was born on 15th August 1930 on a settler sisal farm at Kilimambogo, near Thika. He was a son to Leonardus Ndiege and Marcela Awuor from Rusinga Island, Nyanza.

He learnt at Donyo Sabuk primary school, then went to St Mary’s Yala, then to Mang’u. He was not able to continue with his education due to lack of fees.

He later undertook a sanitary inspector’s course at the Kenya Sanitary Institute at Kabete.

There he was elected the president of the students council, an experience that later influenced his political career.

In 1951 he secured a job with the Nairobi Municipal Council as a sanitary inspector. He hated the European racism against the Africans; hence he joined the trade union movement. He then became the chairman of the Kenya Health Inspector Association.


Role in the Trade Union movement

He joined politics through the trade union movement. In 1950 was employed in the Nairobi city council where he realized the injustices against the Africans e.g. they got low pay, and had poor housing and were segregated upon.

In 1952 he joined the Nairobi Local Government servants Association in which he was the vice Chairman.

In 1952 he declared the association as a trade union.

In 1953 he registered the Kenya Local Government Workers Union.

On 12th September 1953 he became the acting Secretary General to the Kenya Federation of Registered Trade Unions, on which he was confirmed as secretary General in 1953.

In 1954 the colonial government launched operation Anvil in which all adult males were arrested and screened. Mboya however escaped detention by ensuring that all his actions as a trade unionist were within the law.

He got support from the international confederation of trade unions. He established the Tanganyika Federation of Labour and the Uganda Trade Union.

In 1954 he visited Brussels and wrote an article that highlighted problems facing workers. He was able to be granted a scholarship to stay at Ruskin College, Oxford to study labour related matters.

In 1955 there was a strike at Mombasa dock workers. He used his negotiating skills and tactics to strike a deal between the dockworkers and the government. He also organized trade union courses in various parts of the country.

Later, he left Ruskins College where he studied economics, political and industrial relations. While there he published a book ‘The Kenya Question, An African Answer’.

In 1956 he held a conference at the Transport house in Britain where he touched on the following issues

  1. End of the state of emergency
  2. Formation of national political parties
  3. Adequate African representation in the Legco
  4. Removal of racial discrimination.

He then travelled to the USA on a lecture tour before returning to Kenya. He appealed for funds to put up a labour Centre in Kenya and an American Trade Union scholarship programme for Africans in Kenya.


His role in politics

In 1952 a state of emergency was declared. In this a number of KAU leaders were arrested and detained. This annoyed him hence he joined KAU and was given the post of Director of information in the party.

In 1953, he became the treasurer while Fanuel Odede was the chairman of KAU. Here they continued to pursue the ideal of the founder members of KAU. This led to the banning of KAU in 1953 making Mboya to channel his energy towards the Kenya Local Government Worker Union where he was the general Secretary.

1957 he was elected to join Legco as a member of Nairobi East constituency under the Lyttelton constitution.

He joined hands with his Legco members and formed AEMO which

  1. Opposed the Lyttelton constitution
  2. Rejected the two ministerial positions offered to them in the new government.

In 1958 he visited Ghana which had become independent under Kwame Nkurumah. In Ghana he was elected chairman of All African People Conference in Accra.

He got an honorary doctorate from Harvard University and got scholarship for Kenyan students, what came to be known as ‘student’s airlifts’.

In July 1958 he became the president of his own political party, The Nairobi Peoples Convention, which campaigned for Uhuru na Kenyatta.

In 1960, he was one of the delegates to the first Lancaster House Conference which lifted the ban on political parties. He was one of the founder members of KANU and was elected secretary General.

In February 1961, he contested for the Nairobi South seat to Legco and won. In 1962, he attended 2nd Lancaster conference that led to coalition government of KANU and KADU.

In 1964 he was appointed minister for Labour. He then took leave from KFL to concentrate on the Africanisation policy. He also welcomed foreign aid in form of money, skills and ideas.


Mboya after Independence

In 1963 he was appointed minister for Justice and constitutional affairs. He was vital in constitutional amendments that removed the regional assemblies and the Senate and created a republic with an executive president.

In 1964 he was appointed the minister of Economic planning and Development.

In 1965 he developed a social economic and political master plan ‘the Sessional Paper No 10’ on African socialism and its application to planning in Kenya.

He drafted the 1966-1970 Development plan for Kenya

1966 as a secretary to KANU, he organized a conference at Limuru to unite the radicals and the moderates in KANU.

He was assassinated outside a pharmacy in Nairobi on 5th July 1969.



He was born in 1923 at Vishakani village, Kaloleni division of Kilifi District at the Coast.

He went to Buxton Primary School in Mombasa, then to Alliance High school.

He then went to Makerere where he graduated with a diploma in education. He returned to Buxton as a teacher and rose to the position of a headteacher. He then became a supervisor of schools in Mombasa.


Role in Politics

He was very vocal on issues affecting Africans such as low pay, discrimination and poor working conditions.

  • 1947 he joined the Coast African Association which expressed the problems of Mijikenda people.
  • 1950 he was appointed a member of the Mombasa African Advisory Council which represented the interests of Africans on the Mombasa municipal Board. They demanded for a seat for Africans in the Legco.
  • By 1952 he organized political rallies in coast where he demanded for the release of K.A.U leaders. He won a lot of admiration and support due to his educational background and professional career and oratory skills.
  • He was opposed to the rise of radical and militant nationalists for he was a soft moderator and always bridged the extremes in African politics.
  • He together with others formed the Mombasa Democratic Union in 1955
  • 1956 he assisted in the formation of the Kilifi African Peoples Union.
  • In 1957 he was elected to the Legco to represent the coast.
  • In 1958 he was appointed the minister for labour, social; security and adult education.

As a member of the parliament

  1. United all other elected Africans
  2. Demanded for the voting of Africans on one man one vote basis
  3. Demanded for political equality.
  • He travelled across the country to solicit for national support. He addressed meetings throughout Kenya and he pressed for reforms in colonial policies.
  • At the Lennox Boyd constitutional talks, with Ngala as chairman and Mboya as secretary, he pressurized the colonial secretary to allow for more democratic reforms. This led to the increase of the number of Africans in the Legco from 6 to 14.
  • In 1958 he raised a motion in the Lego seeking inquiry into the condition of political detainees with special reference to Kenyatta in Lokitaung Lodwar.
  • In 1960 he was at the Lancaster House Conference Ngala was party to the resolutions that ushered in the majimbo constitution that gave autonomy to provinces and also gave Africans a majority in the Legco.
  • In 1960 KANU was formed. Ngala got the post of party treasurer in absentia and he turned down the offer. In 1960 he met with other leaders of minority ethnic groups in Ngong and founded KADU where he was elected the president.
  • In 1961 elections, he led KADU to secure 11 seats against KANUs 19 seats. KANU refused to form a government until Kenyatta was released. KADU formed the government.

KADU formed the government and it argued that it was only the African in effective political positions who could pressurize for the release of Kenyatta.

Kadu was supported by the settlers, now Kenya Party and the Indian Congress.

In 1962 he pressed for a federal (majimbo) constitution while KANU wanted a unitary government.

A majimbo constitution was adopted, and KANU and KADU formed a coalition government, and Ngala became Minister of state for constitutional affairs and administration.

In the May elections of 1962, KADU lost to KANU and KANU formed the first independence government and Ngala became the leader of the opposition.

In 1964, after being persuaded by Oginga Odinga, he led the KADU members in voluntary dissolving and joining KANU. This was done to promote unity.

In 1966 he served as minister for co-operatives and social services, then as Minister for power and communication.

He died in 1972 in a road accident near Konza at the age of 49 years. His son Noah Katana Ngala replaced him as the Mp for Kilifi until the 2002 elections when he lost his seat to a NARC (National Rainbow Coalition) candidate.



He was born in 1911 at Nyamira Kango, Sakwa location in Bondo District.

He began his education at Maranda Primary, then went to Maseno intermediate school, which was headed by Carey Francis.

In school with his friends he formed an organization known as the Coast Boys Association.

He completed the primary school certificate between 1933 and 1934 and trained as a lower primary school teacher. He then joined Alliance High School where students from Nyanza formed the Nyanza Alliance Boys Society.

Later he went to Makerere where he studied for a diploma in education.

He was invited by Carey Francis to teach at Masesno School. There he hated the European teachers’ attitude that Africans cannot hold any responsibility. He never used his Christian name of Obadiah Adonijah but always wanted to be known as Oginga Odinga.

In 1943 he joined the Maseno veterinary school where he rose to the post of the Principal. In 1946 he was suspended from the college for being rude


Role in Politics

All through his education he hated the superiority felt by the Europeans. However equipped with good education and the brains to fight for self-rule, he joined other nationalists in politics.

After being expelled from Maseno, he got into business and formed the Luo Thrift and Trading Company. He used the paper known as Ramogi to promote the activities of the Luo Thrift and trading Company. Other publications included Nyanza Times, Radioposta, Sauti ya Mwafrika and Mumenyereri.

1956 and 1957, Ramogi house and African House were built in Kisumu. He formed the Luo Welfare Association that had branches in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, who all joined hands to form Galamoro Luo Union and Odinga was their patron.

During the Mau Mau wars of 1952, Ambrose Ofafa was killed. Odinga encouraged the Luo not to join the colonialists and therefore kill fellow Africans. He then began to solicit funds to put up Ofafa Memorial hall in Kisumu in 1957 which became the headquarters of the Luo Union.


Political contribution 1948-1963

In 1948 Kenyatta visited Kisumu together with KAU leaders. He gave a speech in which he urged the people to prepare to shade blood to attain independence. Oginga promised that Kenyatta and the Luo would now work together.

In 1947, he was elected a member of central Nyanza District Council.

In the Legco, he became the chairman of AEMO whereby he together with others rejected the Lennox-Boyd constitution.

In this year, a split occurred within AEMO whereby Masinde Muliro, Daniel Arap Moi, Benard Mate, Taita Arap Towett, Jeremiah Nyagah and Ronald Ngala formed the Kenya National Party. This party was joined by the Asian and Arab members of the Legco.

Odinga Oginga, Mboya, Gikonyo and Kiano formed Kenya Independence Movement, with Mboya as the secretary, Kiano as Chairman and Odinga as President.

After the first Lancaster House conference in London, odinga and other members met in Kiambu to form KANU. James Gichuru was the acting president, Odinga his vice, Tom Mboya as secretary.

Odinga travelled to the East i.e. U.S.S.R, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania and was accused of being a communist.

In 1963 he became the Minister for home affairs in coalition government.


Odinga after Independence

When Kenya became independent in 1964, Kenyatta appointed Odinga as his vice president as a reward for his support and that of the Luo. He was also the Minister for Home Affairs.

Soon, Odinga opposed Kenyatta over land policy. Together with radicals like Bildad Kaggia, Odinga demanded that mau mau fighters be compensated, the landless be given free land and the nationalization of some companies and active trade unionism.

On the other hand, Kenyatta-Mboya moderate camp wanted a gradual change from colonization to independence, hence they agitated for

  1. Making agreements for large scale settler farms to be bought by the government, then landless buy them from the government
  2. Need for foreign aid from the west therefore need for closer ties
  3. Trade unions be controlled by the government

Odinga found himself in a difficult situation. He was accused of smuggling arms from Russia, so as to topple the government. He was then attacked in the press by his colleagues who insisted that Kenyatta sacks him.

To solve this, the Limuru Conference was held, and a plan was hatched out to appoint seven other vice presidents representing six regions and Nairobi. Odinga was kicked out of his influential position. In response, he resigned as the country’s vice president and minister for Home Affairs. This was followed with resignation of 29 more members of parliament together with two Ministers namely Achieng’ Oneko and Okello Odongo.

Odinga then formed an opposition party K.P.U which was frustrated by KANU through the snap elections.

He wrote a book ‘Not yet Uhuru’

In 1969 he travelled to Kisumu to open the Russian Hospital built by Russia through his efforts.

During the opening, Kenyatta publicly attacked Odinga prompting people to stone his motorcade since they believed the government had a hand in the killing of Tom Mboya. In retaliation, the police opened fire killing 13 people and injuring many others.

It was followed with the detention of Odinga, Oneko and the banning of KPU. Odinga got into political wilderness until the introduction of multipartyism.

In 1971 after detention he bought a KANU membership card but was thrown out on grounds that he had not shown a true change of heart. He then concentrated on being the leader of the Luo and his business of farming.

In 1980, he was appointed the chairman of the Cotton Lint and Seed marketing Board by President Daniel Arap Moi. He was also given life membership card by Moi.

However, he was thrown out of politics when he described Kenyatta as a land grabber at a public rally in Mombasa.

In 1982 he attacked the government about corruption and leasing of military bases to foreign powers. This made the government declare Kenya a one party state, for it feared that Odinga will form another party.

Odinga was suspected to have played a role in the 1982 coup. He was detained at home. His son Raila was detained and some of his friends sacked from Parliament e.g. Peter Oloo Aringo.

In 1984 he formed an organization known as RADET (Ramogi Development Trust) that aimed at alleviating poverty in Luo Nyanza. It was denied registration.

In 1987 he resorted to writing open letters to president Moi on his way forward for Kenya.


Odinga and Multipartyism

He was at the forefront in the struggle for the re-introduction of pluralism in the 1990’s. In the 1990, he linked up with Kenneth Matiba, Charles Rubia and Raila Odinga to publicly campaign for change. In July they wanted to hold a rally at Kamkunji, but the government denied them a permit and they were detained.

In 1991 he formed National Democratic Party (NDP) which was denied registration.

He then teamed up with Masinde Muliro, Martin Shikuku, Philip Gachoka, George Nthenge and Ahmed Bamahriz and formed FORD (Forum For Restoration of Democacy)

With repealing of section 2a of the constitution, it evolved as the opposition party.

Unfortunately the party split into two with FORD-Kenya for Odinga and FORD ASILI for Matiba. This made Moi win and Odinga became the leader of the opposition.

However he served as the leader of the opposition but met with opposition from his members namely Kiraitu, Muite, Farah Maalim and Gitobu Imanyara for deciding to co-operate with the government.

However he died on 20th January 1994 and was replaced by his son Dr. Oburu Odinga as the M.P for Bondo.



He was born in 1924 in Kapkorios village, Sacho location of Baringo District in the Rift Valley.

He was born from a poor home. He lived his life herding sheep and goats.

His father died when he was four years old. He was then educated by his uncle, senior chief Kiplabat who took him to the African Inland Mission School at Kabartonjo.

He walked for long distance to school and would then look after cattle. He was baptized Daniel. He left Kabartonjo and joined Kapsabet where he sat for the Nyanza Competitive Examination and passed.

He was encouraged by the missionaries to train as a teacher.

In 1944 he joined the Kapsabet Government Teacher Training College and later Tambach. Government African Teachers College. Among his other teachers were Argwings Kodhek.

In 1948 he began his teaching career at Tambach Government School. Later he was transferred to Tambach Teachers College where he served as an assistant principal

In 1955 he was transferred to Kapsabet. Through teaching, he shaped his personality and got introduced to public life.


His role in Politics

He was elected to the Legco in 1955 after the resignation of J.M Ole Tameno. Together with other elected members of the Legco he demanded for more African representation in the Legco. He also argued for the lifting of the state of emergency.

In 1957 the Lyttelton Constitution provided for the election of African representation to the Legco. Eight members were elected with Moi being elected to represent the Rift valley.

In 1959 he became the first national leader to visit Kenyatta in Prison in Lokitaung Lodwar.

In 1960 he was elected KADU chairman with Ronald Ngala as president and Masinde Muliro as vice president.

In 1961 Moi together with other KANU and KADU leaders visited Kenyatta in detention at Maralal. He stood on a KADU ticket in the 1961 elections and won with an overwhelming majority. He was elected secretary to the Ministry of Education. Eight months later was made Minister for Education.

In 1962 he played a vital role in the Lancaster House conference that led to the positive steps towards independence.

He served as President of Rift Valley regional assembly in the independence majimbo constitution.

In 1964, Moi and other KADU leaders dissolved their party and joined KANU to promote national unity. In the KANU-KADU coalition he served as local government minister.

In 1966 he was elected the KANU Rift Valley vice president. In that year, Murumbi resigned as vice-president and Moi was appointed vice president and minister for Home Affairs.

In 1968 he became leader of government business.

As a vice president, he represented Kenya in many international forums where he talked against tribalism which endangered national unity.

On 22nd August 1978 President Kenyatta died in Mombasa and Moi succeeded him as Kenya’s second president. He spoke strongly against corruption and other social injustices. He therefore launched the ‘Nyayo’ philosophy of peace, Love and unity.


His achievements

  • 1979 he released some political detainees such as George Anyona, Jean Saroney etc
  • 1981 he hosted O.A.U summit and was elected the chairman for two years.
  • He turned Nairobi into a centre of conflict resolution where he was called upon to solve conflicts between differing groups in Sudan, Uganda, Congo and Mozambique.
  • He paid special attention to the development of education e.g. he organized Harambees to assist learning institutions, which led to the increase in the number of schools, universities and middle level colleges in Kenya. He changed the education system from 7-4-2-3 to 8-4-4 and introduced the nyayo milk programme which failed later on. This was after the 1981 Mackay commission recommendations.
  • He expanded medical facilities through the building of the nyayo wards. He also expanded roads, came up with Nyayo buses and built airports such as Mombasa and Eldoret.
  • He improved the agricultural sector by putting up the nyayo tea zones to boost tea production.
  • He then launched the district focus for rural Development to help Districts identify and implement projects based on their priorities.
  • Internationally he represented Kenya abroad during meetings of U.N, the Commonwealth and O.A.U.
  • He also reopened the border with Tanzania hence restored co-operation in the East African region.
  • In 2001 he declared HIV AIDS a national disaster. He also promoted environmental conservation by planting trees and digging gabions.
  • He raised the status of women by appointing women e.g. Nyiva Mwendwa to the cabinet and a number of women served in the Moi government.

Problems associated with Moi’s era

  • After a section of the Air Force attempted to topple him in a military coup on 1st August 1982, his reign became authoritarian marked with torture and detentions without trial.
  • Tribal clashes were also common in the Rift Valley especially after elections
  • Corruption and mismanagement of public utilities and funds such as Golden Bag scandals and land grabbing.
  • Poverty in Kenya was high and this weakened the economy. Hiv was also common.
  • Violation of human rights which made the World Bank and IMF froze all forms of aid to Kenya. The government was accused of torture, arbitrary arrests, and unresolved murders of Robert Ouko. All this led to poor relations between Kenya and her neighbours such as Sudan, Ethiopia and Somali

However both internal and external pressure forced Moi to give in to multi-partism by repealing section 2A of the constitution in 1991. He retired as president after the 2002 general elections in which he handed power over to Mwai Kibaki of NARC party.

He retired as KANU chairman in 2003 after failing to convince Kenyans to vote for Uhuru Kenyatta.  Kibaki has been the president since then, being described by political analysts as a hands-off president whose second election in 2007 witnessed bloodshed and displacement of people from the Rift Valley (IDPs) following the disputed results released by ECK. ECK was disbanded and an Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) put in place.  It proved to be effective after conducting peaceful referendum vote on the new constitution on 4th August 2010, which was promulgated on 27th August.

The flawed 2007 elections saw nullification by the court of the election of nine MPs. They lost their seats and by-elections were conducted.



Professor Wangari Maathati was born on 1st April 1940 in Ihithe village near Nyandarua ridge in kikuyu. She was born to Muta Njugi and Lydia Wanjiru.

She went to Ihithe Primary School, then St. Cecilia Intermediate School till 1956. She joined Loreto Girls High school in Limuru for her secondary education. She interacted with girls and nuns from different ethnic backgrounds which made her trust people and also work hard.

In 1960, she got a scholarship to pursue university education in USA where she obtained a Barchelor of Science degree from Benedictine College in 1964.

In 1966 she studied for a masters Degree in biological sciences at University of Pittsburg in Pennysylvania.

In 1967, she got a job of research with University of Nairobi.

In 1968, she enrolled for a doctorate degree at University of Giessen in Germany.

In May 1969, she got married to Mr. Mwangi Mathai

In 1971, she became the first woman to receive a Ph.D in East and Central Africa.

In 1974, she became a senior lecturer in Anatomy and became an associate professor in 1977. She campaigned for working women to be given house allowance.

In 1979, she divorced her husband.


Activism, environmental and community services

1973-1980, she was the director of Kenya Red Cross Society, Nairobi branch. She was also a member of the Kenya Association of University Women.

1971 to 1987 she was an active member of of National Christian Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK) which unified all women groups in the country. She became its chairperson from 1980 to 1987.

She was a chairperson of Environmental Liaison Centre which facilitated the participation of non-governmental organization in the work of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). She gained a lot of experience in environmental matters and began the idea of tree planting to reduce environmental problems.

On 5th June 1977, NCWK planted seven trees at Kamukunji Park in honour of historical community leaders. This led to what came to be called the Green Belt Movement.

The Green Belt Movement is an organization involving women in tree palnting in order to preserve the environment and to improve the quality of life of the women of Kenya. Maathai believed trees would provide shade, employment opportunity, protection of watersheds and soil, and also provision of food for both humans and animals.

Green Belt movement has planted more than 20 million trees in schools, churches, peoples homes and other public places. Such ideas have also spread to Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Lesotho, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.


Maathai and Politics

The Green Belt movement joined other organizations in demanding for constitutional reforms to make the government more accountable. Wangari fought against queuing voting method introduced by KANU

In 1989, she opposed the proposed 60 storey building of Times Media Trust Complex which was to be KANU headquarters at Uhuru Park. She wrote protest letters to Ministries, NGOs directors and British High Commissioner. The project was stopped. However, Green Belt Movement was evicted from government offices.

In 1992, Wangari participated in the formation of the pro-democracy movement called Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD). Their believe that the government wanted to assassinate some of its members led to arrest of Wangari and other leaders. They were charged with spreading malicious rumours and treason. The international body pressed for her release.

Afterwards, she joined a group of women known as Release Political Prisoners (RPP) who pressed for the release of political activists like Koigi wa Wamwere. They camped at Freedom Corner at Uhuru Park. As a result, political prisoners were released early 1993.

Wangari started Jubilee 2000 in September 1998 which pressed for cancellation of heavy debts owed by poor countries in Africa.

She also led in the war against corruption (grabbibng of public land) and destruction of environment.

In 2004, she became the pioneer African woman and environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution towards sustainable development, democracy and peace. She also won the Conservation Scientist Award.

In 2002, she was elected to parliament to represent Tetu constituency on National Rainbow Coalition (NARC). In 2003, she was appointed Assistant Minister for Environment, Natural Resource and Wildlife until 2005.














Topic 8





After 1963 Kenya adopted the parliamentary government, i.e. one made up of the Legislature, executive and judiciary. The three arms of the government operate a system of checks and balances.

The government is based on parliamentary democracy, i.e. the people elect their own leaders through the electoral process.

The M.Ps forms the legislature and therefore make the laws while the executive arm implements them. The judiciary ensures that nobody violates them.

Moreso, there’s an effective defense force that protects the country from external and internal attacks.


The electoral process in Kenya

Kenyans choose the president, members of national assembly, senate, the deputy president and members of county government they want after every five years.

The elections are organized by The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Kenya (IEBC) which replaced the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK). Kenya has 290 electoral units (constituencies). Methods used to elect the Mps include the use of Queuing (mlolongo) which is no longer used, acclamation and secret ballot.

In 1969, elections were delayed for one year while in 1983 they were conducted before the expiry of the five year period. This was done to restructure the political situation following the 1982 attempted coup de tat.

Voting in Kenya is based on universal suffrage, i.e. one-person-one vote.


Functions of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of Kenya

  • Conducting/supervising referenda and elections to any elective body or office established by the Constitution.
  • Conducts any other elections as prescribed by the constitution
  • Ensures continuous registration of citizens as voters.
  • It revises the voters roll regularly
  • It is in charge of the delimitation of constituencies and wards. In this, IEBC shall review the names and boundaries of constituencies and names, number and boundaries of wards within 8 to 12 years. In constituency review, it shall consider geographical features, urban centres, community economic and cultural ties and means of communication.
  • Regulates the process by which parties nominate candidates for elections. It oversees the allocation of party seats for nominated and special members of National Assembly, Senate and County assembly.

Each party list of nominees must comprise appropriate number of qualified candidates based on gender. Each partys list for national assembly must reflect the regional and ethnic diversity of Kenyans. The seats are allocated to political parties in proportion to total number of seats won at the general elections.

  • Settles electoral disputes except election petitions
  • Ensures registration of candidates for elections.
  • Conducts voter education
  • Regulates the amount of money spent by a candidate or party in respect of any election
  • Ensures development of a code of conduct for candidates and parties contesting elections
  • Ensures compliance with the legislation relating to nomination of candidates by parties.


Requirements for political parties

  • Parties must reflect a national character in its membership
  • Have democratically elected governing body
  • Promote and uphold national unity
  • Promote and practice democracy through regular, fair and free elections within the party
  • Respect the right of all persons to participate in the political process
  • Respect and promote human rights and fundamenntal freedoms
  • Promote the principles of the Constitution and the rule of law
  • Observe the code of conduct for political parties.

Parties are prohibited from

  • Being founded on a religious, linguistic, racial, ethnic, gender or regional basis
  • Engaging in violence of intimidation of its members, supporters etc
  • Maintaining a paramilitary force
  • Enagging in bribery or other forms of corruption
  • Using public resources to promote its interests or its candidates unless provided for in an act of parliament


Types of Elections

They include the following:

  1. General elections. They are held on every second Tuesday in August after every five years. The president cannot dissolve the parliament as before.
  2. By-elections. They are ordered by IEBC and a new leader is elected to fill a vacant seat. This can be done if
  • A sitting MP dies.
  • Resigns from parliament or absenteesm
  • He commits an election offence and his/her election seat is nullified through a petition in court.

A by-election will be held within 90 after the seat has been declared vacant.

  1. Party election. These are held by various political parties from the grassroot level to the national level to choose party officials e.g. after the death of Wamalwa Kijana, Musikari kombo was elected the new chairman of FORD Kenya.


Reason for election/Importance of elections

  • It is a constitutional requirement that it be done after five years.
  • It gives Kenyans the chance to pick leaders of their choice.
  • They keep leaders on their toes e.g. they get to know that they have to meet the needs of their people lest they lose their seats.
  • It gives citizens the chance to exercise their democratic right of electing their own leaders, and also control them.
  • They help to generate new ideas on how to run the government through different parties manifesto.
  • They enable Kenyans to replace the representatives who do not satisy the needs of the electorate.
  • They enable Kenyans to take part in their government.


Principles of the electoral system inKenya

  • Freedom of citizens to exercise their political rights
  • More than ⅔ of members of elective public offices should not be of the same gender
  • Fair representation of persons with disabilities
  • Universal suffrage based on the aspiration for fair representation and equality of vote
  • Free and fair elections based on secret ballot, transparency absence of corruption and an independent body conducting elections.


Electoral Regulations

Electoral regulations are contained in

  • The constitution of Kenya
  • The National Assembly and Presidential Elections
  • The local government Act
  • The election offences Act.


Stages of the Electoral process in Kenya

  1. Voter and civic education.

Voters are provided with information, materials and programmes to inform them about voting process for a particular election Such information include eligibility to vote, where to register, type of election, who the candidates are and how to file complains.

Civic education may include system of government, nature and powers of elective offices, principles of democracy, rights of citizens, law and order and conflict resolution. Voters will therefore understand their responsibilities during elections, the need to vote and benefits of voting.

  1. Voter registration.

For one to be registered, he must be a Kenyan citizen with an original I.D or passport, Be above 18 years old, Not have been convicted of election offence and not have been sentenced to serve more than 12 months in prison. He must be of sound mind. It is illegal for any person to register as a voter in more than one constituency or twice in the same constituency.


  1. Nomination of Candidates.

Party nominations. For one to be nominated for a county position, one must

  • Be a registered voter in any parliamentary constituency in Kenya
  • Be able to speak and read English and Kiswahili languages. Those with visual impairment are exempted. There are also ethical and moral requirements.
  • Must belong to a registered political party if he is not contesting as an independent candidate.

One can be disqualified from county elections if the person

  • Holds State or public office
  • Has held office as a member of IEBC within five years before elections
  • Has not been a citizen for the last 10 years before elections
  • Is of unsound mind
  • Declared bankrupt by a court of law
  • Is serving a sentence of imprisonment of at least 6 months
  • Has been found to have misused or abused state office or public office.

A parliamentary candidate

  • Must be a registered voter
  • Satisfy educational, moral and ethical requirements
  • Be nominated by a political party. If hes to vie for National Assembly as an independent candidate, he must be supported by at least 1000 voters in the constituency or if hes to vie for senatorship, 2000 voters in a county must support him. Independent candidates must be registered voters and must satisfy educational, moral and ethical requirements. He must not have belonged to a political party for the last three months


One can be disqualified as a member of National Assembly if he/she

  • Is certified to be of unsound mind
  • Declared bankrupt by a court of law
  • Is serving a sentence of imprisonment of at least 6 months
  • Is a member of the county assembly
  • Has been found to have misused or abused state office or public office.
  • Has not been a citizen for the last 10 years before elections
  • Is holding a state or public office or is a member of armed forces
  • Has held office as a member of IEBC within five years before elections


An MP may lose a seat in parliament when he/she

  1. Ceases to be a Kenyan citizen
  2. Receives a jail term exceeding six months or a death penalt from a court of law
  3. Is found to have committed an election offence and his election is nullified. In 2010, Joel Onyancha of Bomachoge, Omingo Magara of South Mugirango, Chirau Ali Makwere of Matuga, George Thuo of Juja, Abdirahman Ali Hassan of South Wajir, Dick Wathika of Makadara, and Bishop Margaret Wanjiru of Starehe, John Ngeta of Kirinyaga Central, Simon Mbugua of Kamukunji and Bonny Khalwale of Shinyalu lost their seats. Wanjiru. Makwere and Khalwale recaptured their seats.
  4. Resigns from the National Assembly in writing to the Speaker
  5. Is declared bankrupt by a court of law
  6. Is of unsound mind
  7. Resigns from the sponsoring party or as an MP
  8. Fails to attend 8 sessions during the life of parliament without permission from the speaker
  9. Defects from one party to another.
  10. Was elected as an independent candidate but decides to join a political party.




Qualifications for nomination as Presidential Candidate

  • One must be a Kenyan citizen by birth
  • Is qualified to stand for election as an MP
  • Is nominated by a political party, or is an independent candidate
  • Is nominated by not fewer than two thousand voters from each of majority of the counties.

One is not qualified if

  • He/she owes allegiance to a foreign State. No dual citizenship for a president.
  • Is a public officer, or is acting in any State or other public office.
  • Is a member of parliament


Presidential candidate, whether independent or party candidate must garner 50% plus 1 in all votes cast in the election, and 25% of the votes cast in more than 24 counties.

President elect is sworn in by Chief Justice on Tuesday after 14 days. If there is a petition challenging his victory, he will be sworn in 7 days after a court has ruled in his favour. A president can run for only two terms of 5 years each.

The office of the president can be declared vacant due to:

  • Death of the president. Elections must be held within 60 days.
  • Resignation of the president in writing to the speaker of national assembly
  • Removal of the president by impeachment
  • Removal of the president on grounds of incapacitation


The nominees to vie for different seats are presented to IEBC for formal nomination to contest.


  1. Campaigns

After nominations, the candidates and the parties will meet the people to sell their ideas. Candidates are supposed to promote voter education and condemn violence. Campaigns end 12 hours before the polling day.


  1. Polling
  • On the polling day, the station opens at 6.00am and closes at 6.00 pm. If there is delay, then the presiding officer should compensate by extending the closing time.
  • Voters are allowed to vote even after the time. The voter must have a national ID or a passport, and a voter’s card.
  • His name is checked in the voters register, then if it is found, he is issued with ballot papers for presidential, parliamentary and civic elections.
  • The physically disadvantaged are assisted in the presence of the agent.
  • Ballot papers are put in the ballot box and the voter’s fingers marked with permanent ink to prevent further voting.
  • Once the exercise is over, the ballot boxes are opened by IEBC officials in the presence of the candidates of agents. The papers are then sorted out.
  • The presiding officer announces the results for each candidate, which are then send to the returning officer in charge of each constituency. He will compile the results from all polling stations and declare the winning candidate.
  • IEBC will declare the valid candidate for presidential, National Assembly and Senate positions.


Factors that undermine elections in Kenya

  1. Inadequate civic education. Voters are not sensitized on their right to vote. Some register more than once
  2. Some voters are illiterate hence cannot be able to mark ballot papers correctly
  3. Violence which hinders voting process, like one experienced in 2002 and 2007.
  4. There’s rigging of votes during counting
  5. Corruption where some candidates bribe voters


  1. IEBC has intensified civic education
  2. Engaging adequate security personnel during elections
  3. Making electoral commission more independent to control rigging. IEBC has introduced electronic voting system to curb rigging.
  4. Encouraging many local and international observers to assess the elections.


Responsibilities of IEBC

  • To ensure that voting system is simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable and transparent
  • To count, tabulate and announce results promptly at each polling station
  • That the results are openly and accurately collated and promptly announced by returning officers.
  • To put in place appropriate structures and mechanisms to eliminate electoral malpractice


Election Officials

  • District election coordinators. They link people at grass-root level with commission headquarters
  • Registration officers. They register voters
  • Returning officers. He sets up polling booths in a constituency, receives nomination papers from candidates, distributes ballot papers, supervises voting and counting of votes, appoints presiding officers in polling stations and announces results in constituency.
  • Presiding officer conducts polls in a polling station, helps illiterate people vote, seal ballot boxes, maintains law and order, and ensures impartiality in conducting polls.
  • Polling clerks assist and guides voters
  • Security personnel maintain law and order
  • Counting clerks sort out ballot papers and counts them
  • Party agents represent candidates at polling stations
  • Observers watch over elections and write a report.





The Formation of Government

Devolved government

Devolution refers to granting of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to a lower level such as a region. A devolved government is a form of government in which there is transfer or allocation of authority and power from the central government a local government.

In a devolved government, power and resources are decentralized. Part of political and economic decision making is transferred to the people at county level.


Objectives of devolution of government

  1. The main objective is to limit the power of the central government
  2. To promote democratic and accountable exercise of power
  3. To foster national unity by recognising diversity
  4. To give powers of self-governance to the people and promote their participation in decision-making
  5. To recognize the right of communities to manage their own affairs to further their development
  6. To protect and promote the interests and rights of minorities and marginalized groups
  7. To ensure equitable sharing of national and local resources
  8. To have checks and balances and the separation of powers
  9. To promote social and economic development and provision of accessible services throughout the country.


Principles of devolved government

  1. The county government shall be based on democratic principles and separation of powers
  2. It will have reliable sources of revenue to deliver services effectively
  3. Ensure gender balance in their representative bodies.


The National Government

The constitution of Kenya (2010) provides for the formation of a national government. Article 1 of the constitution states that all sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya, who either directly or indirectly, exercise their sovereign power during elections at national and county levels. After elections, the winning party and the elected president will appoint cabinet secretaries from among the professionals to form the executive. The president will also appoint members of judiciary with the advice of the Judicial Service Commission and National Assembly will approve.

The president can be removed from power through a motion of impeachment, or the Supreme Court can also nullify the results of presidential election.

However even after the dissolution of Parliament, the cabinet exists until a new one is appointed. This is done to ensure that there’s no vacuum.

The new government then has the following roles to play

  1. Ensure social and economic development in the country by setting up policies, to improve schools, hospitals, trade, agriculture and industry
  2. To uphold human rights through administration of justice
  3. Organises a strong defense to protect the country
  4. Set up sound foreign policies to promote international cooperation with other countries.
  5. Fostering national unity by recognnising diversity and ensuring equitable sharing of national and local resources.
  6. Protection and promotion of the interests and rights of minorities and marginalized communities.



Formation of County Government

The constitution provides for a devolved government in which we have 47 counties. Article 176(1) provides for formation of a county government consisting of county assembly and county executive. The assembly will have elected members and the executive will have members appointed by the governor from outside the assembly.


The County Assembly

It is composed of

  • Members elected by the voters from wards during general elections
  • Special seats members nominated by political parties based on their seats in the county. Membership should not be more than two thirds of same gender.
  • Represenattives of marginalized groups, people with disabilities and the youth nominated by parties based on their county seats.
  • The Speaker who is ex officio Hes not from among assembly members. He will preside over the assembly.

To qualify to be elected as county assembly member

  • One must be registered voter
  • Satisfy educational, moral or ethical criteria
  • Be nominated by a political party or have a support of 500 voters if you are an independent candidate.


Disqualification for a county seat

  • If one is of unsound mind
  • Is bankrupt
  • Is serving a prison sentence of six months or more
  • Is a state or public officer
  • Has been a member of IEBC within 5 years before election
  • Has abused a State or public office
  • Has not been a citizen within the last 10 years.


Functions of the county assembly

  1. Can make laws necessary for for effective performance of the county

Note that the laws made,

  • Where there is conflict of interest with the national assembly laws, then the national interests will prevail
  • Law making and other businesses must be done in an open manner and sitting to be held in public
  • The public should participate in legislative and other businesses of the assembly
  • Unless otherwise, the public and the media are allowed in during sittings.

The law making process will be like the one in national assembly, but less elaborate.

  1. Exercises authority over the county executive committee and other county organs
  2. Receive and approve plans and policies exploitation of county resources.
  3. Approve policies for development of and management of infrastructure
  4. Enhancing legislation that lead to better administration and management of county government
  5. Approves oversight budgets and development projects
  6. Approving investment decisions and loans
  7. Monitoring the implementation of projects and assessing and evaluating their impact on development in the county.


The county executive Committee


  1. The county governor. He will hold office for a maximum of two terms of 5 years each. The person elected to be a governor must be eligible for election as member of county assembly. The same applies to the deputy governor.
  2. The deputy county governor appointed by the governor
  3. Appointed members who should be less than one third of assembly members. They should be 10 if the assembly has more than 30 members. The 10 members are accountable to the governor for the performance of their duties.

The county governor can be removed from office on the following grounds

  • Gross violation of the constitution or any other law
  • Having committed a crime under national or international law
  • Abuse of office or gross misconduct
  • Physical or mental incapacity to perform office duties

Vacancy in the office of county governor

  • If the governor dies
  • If he resigns in writing addressed to the speaker of the county assembly
  • Ceases to be eligible to be elected
  • Is convicted and jailed for 12 months
  • Is removed from office under the constitution

The deputy will resume the office for the reminder of the term of the governor. If he/she is unable, the speaker will take over until elections are held in sixty days.


Powers and functions of County Governor

  1. Is the chief executive of the county. He is in charge of county administration and public servants are answerable to him/her.
  2. Nominates deputy governor to deputize him/her
  3. Appoints members of county executive committee who are accountable to him
  4. Supervises the functions of of county executive committee.
  5. Paticipates in the law-making process as the county executive committee prepares legislation.
  6. Is in charge of implementation of county and national legislation




Functions of the deputy governor

  1. Assists governor in management and cordination of the functions of the county administration
  2. Acts as governor in the absence of the governor.
  3. Assists governor in the supervision of the work of county executive committee.
  4. Assists in preparation of proposed legislation
  5. Assists in implementation of both county and national legislation in the county.


Functions of the county executive committee

  • Implementing county legislation
  • Implementing national legislation in the county
  • Managing and coordinating functions of the county administration and its departments
  • Preparing proposed legislation for considerarion by assembly
  • Preparing regular reports on matters relating to the county
  • Perfoming other functions given to them by national legislation


The boundaries of the counties may be changed on recommendation of an independent commission set up by parliament. To change the boundary, the following must be considered

  1. Populatrion density and demographic trends
  2. Physical and human infrastructure
  3. Historical and cultural ties
  4. The cost of administration
  5. Views of affected communities
  6. Objectives of devolution of government
  7. Geographical features


Functions and powers of the county government

  1. Promotion of agriculture in the county e.g. animal husbandry slaughter houses, diseas control etc
  2. Provision and supervision of county health services e.g. licensing and control of health facilities, veterinary services, cemeteries, ambulance services etc
  3. Regulate and control pollution through regulation e.g. outdoor audio advertisement
  4. Promoting cultural activities, public entertainment and public amenities like libraries, parks, stadiums etc
  5. Maintaining public transport and ensuring efficiency e.g. ferries, lighting, parking
  6. Ensuring animal control and welfare e.g. licensing dogs, burial and dead animals etc
  7. Putting in place legislation that encourages trade development, tourism, creation of cooperatives, trade licensing etc
  8. Regulating county planning and development through land survey and mapping, boundaries, fencing etc
  9. Promoting and regulating education at pre-primary, polytechnic and childcare level.
  10. Implementing specific national government policies on natural resources and environmental conservation
  11. Regulating county public works and services e.g. sanitation, storm water management etc
  12. Ensuring availability and working of fire fighting services and disaster management centres
  13. Control of drug abuse and access to pornography in the county
  14. Ensuring the participation of the community in governance at local level.


Cooperation between national and county government

  • The two governments must respect each other in performance of their functions and exercise of their powers.
  • They have to assist, support, consult and implement legislation of each other. The national government will give financial support. County governments are expected to operate financial management systems that comply with national legislation requirements.
  • Liase with each other to exchange information, policies and administration.
  • Disputes have to be settled amicably between the governments.


The national legislation must prevail at all times. This is necessary for

  1. The maintenance of national security
  2. Maintenance of economic unity
  3. Protection of the common market in respect to mobility of goods. Services, labour and capital
  4. Promotion of economic activities across the county boundaries
  5. Promotion of equal opportunity or access to government services
  6. The protection of the environment


Challenges facing county governments

  1. Difficulty in raising its own revenue in addition to funds received from national government
  2. Possible conflicts in cases where functions of county and national government overlap, e.g. provision of basic education
  3. Need for capacity assessment and training of human resources to handle the new county administrative structures will be a challenge
  4. Planning and management of economic resources that cut across more than one county e.g. water, forest or land can be a challenge to effective planning. Affected counties will be required to cooperate and consult.
  5. The need to cooperate in provision of services that cut across counties, like bridge construction, road maintenance, water supply, H.E.P. Developing a policy outling how services will be provided will be a challenge.
  6. Theres a challenge of restructuring certain institutios like CDF and Provincial Administration to be in line with the constitution and fit in county structure.


The National Government

The Legislature

It is also referred to as Parliament. It is the law making organ. It is made up of the national assembly and the Senate.

Composition of the National Assembly

  • After 2012 elections, it will have 290 elected members
  • 47 women will be elected, one from each county
  • 12 members nominated by parliamentary political parties according to their proportion in national Assembly to represent special interests i.e. youths, disabled and workers
  • The speaker who is an ex-officio member. He/she is not from the elected members.


Composition/membership of the Senate

  • 47 elected members, each from one county
  • 16 women nominated by political parties according to their proportion of members
  • 2 members (man and woman) to represent the youth
  • 2 members (man and woman) to represent the persons with disabilities
  • The speaker who is an ex-officio member. He/she is not from the elected members.

Kiswahili, English and Kenyan sign language are the official languages to be used.

Parliament will have a quorum of 50 members for National Assembly and 15 members for Senate.


Offices of Parliament

The Speaker and Deputy Speaker

The speaker is elected from among persons who are qualified to be elected as members of Parliament but are not such members. The deputy is elected from the members of each of the houses.

The office of the speaker becomes vacant

  • When a new House of Parliament first meets after an election
  • If the sitting speaker dies or vacates office through resignation.
  • If the house resolves by two-thirds of all members to remove the speaker

The speaker is the spokesman of the national assembly although he is an ex-officio.

When there is a tie in voting in parliament, he has a casting vote, which means that his role determines the winner.

In Parliament, the speaker is accompanied by a ceremonial mace while he is on the chair. This is a symbol of constitutional authority of the national assembly and the speaker’s office.

Since independence, Parliament has had six speakers namely Muinga Chokwe for upper house and Humphrey Slade for lower house in 1963, In 1964, Slade became the first speaker for a single house, Fredrick Mbiti Mati 1970, Moses arap Keino 1988, Prof Jonathan Ng’eno 1991, Francis ole Kaparo 2004, and Kenneth Marende 2007.


The roles of the speaker

  1. Ensure that all the proceedings of the house are done in accordance with the rules of procedure
  2. Discipline members who have violated standing orders
  3. Maintain order during debates and also interprets rules of the house
  4. Represent and protect the authority of parliament
  5. Receives bills, motion questions for house discussion and determines the order of discussion
  6. Ensures fairness in the house by allowing all to air their views
  7. Adjourns sittings if the house lacks quorum
  8. Keeps and maintains attendance register and events, gives permission to MPs to be absent
  9. Head of National Assembly department and takes charge of its general administration and welfare.
  10. Chairs the speakers committee, the committee of powers and privileges and standing orders
  11. Issues rules for the regulation of visitors to parliament and represents parliament in its relations with foreign country
  12. Chairs the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Inter-parliamentary Union and the Union of African Parliaments. He also represents Parliament at the Commonwealth speaker’s conference.
  13. Declares parliamentary seats vacant and issues writs for general elections and by-elections.
  14. Receives and accepts letters of resignation from members of Parliament
  15. Swears in MPs before participating in House deliberations.
  16. Summons parliament from recess for a new session.


Party leaders

The constitution provides for a leader with the largest party or coalition of parties to be leader of majority party while the leader of minority party shall be the person who is the leader in the National Assembly of the second largest party or coalition of parties. Party leaders

  • Promote and uphold national unity through party activities
  • Enforce adherence to the principles of good governance, democracy and respect for human rights
  • Advance the goals of the party
  • Leader of majority party is to ensure and maintain the support for legislation
  • Leader of minority party has to protect the rights of the minority
  • Leader of majority party is to ensure accountability and transparency in the government


Function of Parliament

  1. It represents the people and exercises their sovereignty.
  2. Protects the interest of the citizen by debating on public issues through questions, motions, bills etc.
  3. To pass amendments to the constitution and also alter county boundaries
  4. To protect the constitution and promote democratic governance of the Republic.


Functions of the National Assembly

  • It reprersents the will of the of the people and expresses their sovereignity
  • It provides a forum for the expression of national interest and also unites the people.
  • It makes laws that affect the nation through debates on bills. It makes, amends and repeals laws
  • It controls revenue and expenditure of the Republic. It determines the allocation of national revenue between the levels of government.
  • It reviews the conduct of the president, deputy president and other state officers and can initiate the process of removing them from office.
  • It exercises oversight over state organs to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability.
  • It approves declaration of war and extension of state of emergency when declared.


Functions of the Senate

  • It protects the interests of the counties and their governments
  • Senators participate in the law making process by debating and approving bills.
  • Senate determines the allocation of national revenue among counties. It exercises oversight over national revenue allocated to county governments.
  • It exercises oversight on the conduct of the president, deputy president and other state officers and can initiate the process of removing them from office.



The Process of Law Making

It is done when the speaker or deputy speaker is present and there’s quorum of 50 members of the National Assembly or 15 members of the Senate.

A proposed piece of legislation (law) is called a Bill. We have public and private bills.

A public bill can be a government or private member bill.

The public bill deals with public policies that affect all citizens of Kenya

A private bill affects particular persons, associations or people living in a small part of the country.

Government bills are introduced by ministers while private bills are introduced by back benches.

There is a Money Bill. Such a bill deals with taxes, payment of charges by the public, issue of public money, raising or quaranteering of any loan etc. Such a bill can only be introduced in the National Assembly.

Before drafting a bill, government departments consult and ascertain the validity of the intended bill. If it is recommended, then the bill is drafted by the government draftsmen in the Attorney General Chambers, known as the Parliamentary Counsel.

When the cabinet is satisfied with the draft, it is published in the Kenya Gazzette for at least 14 days before its introduction in parliament.

This is meant to give the public a chance to view and criticize the bill.

The draft proposed is also given to the parliament for consideration to give members a chance to research on it and prepare for a debate in future.

Before a bill is considered by National Assembly or Senate, the two speakers must consult to determine whether it concerns a county or a nation, or whether it is a special bill or an ordinary bill.

A bill passes through the following stages

  1. First Reading

A bill is introduced into parliament by the clerk to the national assembly. When he reads the title of the Bill, it is defended by the Minister in charge who refers it to the relevant departmental Committee made up of 11 members who go through the bill clause by clause. The committee looks at the bill and reports to the house within seven days.

  1. Second reading

After seven days, the bill is read and moved by the minister in charge, then seconded by a Cabinet Secretary.

At this stage, all the principles of the bill are discussed through an open debate, and where possible amendments are made. Members get a chance to add other clauses or delete some sections. The MPs can also reject the bill at this stage.

If a bill is rejected or deferred, it cannot be taken back to the parliament until after six months. This gives the department or private member from which the bill originated time to rethink and redraft the bill.

  1. Committee stage

A small group of members elected by the house scrutinize and analyze the bill and incorporate all the recommendations from the second reading. The committee then reports to the house.

  1. Report Stage

The chairman of the committee reports to the house on behalf of the committee. The members of the national assembly confirm whether or not their proposals have been taken into account. If accepted, the bill proceeds to the third reading.

  1. Third reading

The bill is further debated on and further amendments made to the bill if need arises. If it is approved, it is passed to the president for his assent.

  1. Presidential Assent

If the president approves the bill and signs it; it becomes an Act of Parliament and is gazzetted as one of the laws of the country. The president has to act within 14 days.

If the president rejects the bill, it will be taken to the parliament for amendment considering the presidents reservations. The parliament can still pass the bill without amending it. It is then resubmitted to the president for assent within seven days.

If the president assents, the bill becomes an act of parliament. It is then published in the Kenya Gazzette. It becomes a law on the 14th day after publication.


Special Bills from the Senate can be amended by the resolution of two-thirds of the house. If the National Assembly fails to pass the Bill, it will be taken to the president to assent in its original form within 7 days.

Ordinary bills concerning counties, if rejected by one house, will be referred to the mediation committee for deliberations until a consensus is reached. The committee is made up of equal members from both houses. It is appointed by the 2 speakers. Once approved, the bill is taken to the president for assent within 7 days.


Parliamentary Supremacy

Such supremacy is provided for by the constitution. Parliament is supreme in that

  1. It has power to make, amend and repeal laws. However, the president can dissolve a parliament, or a constitutional court can overrule an act of parliament, hence challenging its supremacy.
  2. It can terminate the appointment of a president through a vote of no confidence. This requires two- thirds of National Asssembly and two-thirds of Senate.
  3. It can limit power of executive or even pass a vote of no confidence in the government.
  4. It makes Cabinet Secretaries to be accountable to it for their activities in their ministries.
  5. Bills passed by the cabinet have to be legislated by the parliament which makes the law.
  6. It has power to approve government revenue and expenditure after budget has been presented to it.




Limitations of parliamentary supremacy

  1. At times, a powerful cabinet can influence parliamentary decisions making it less supreme
  2. Parliament cannot pass any law against peoples customs and traditions without their permission
  3. Parliament cannot pass a law that is contrary to the constitution of the land.
  4. President can declare state of emergency to deal with a crisis without consulting the parliament.
  5. Parliament cannot make laws that undermine international laws. Application of international law can limit supremacy of parliament.
  6. County governments can make laws which are necessary for effective performance of county powers. Such can undermine parliamentary supremacy.


Merits/advantages of parliamentary supremacy

  1. It promotes harmony given that the legislature and executive work together when dealing with people’s views.
  2. The system is flexible especially in times of crisis. People can choose anybody to handle the situation
  3. Given that cabinet secretaries are accountable to the electorate; parliamentary government is therefore responsible and responsive.
  4. The system allows citizens to participate in governing process by electing their representatives.
  5. The system acts as a training ground for effective leaders especially during debates
  6. Parliamentary government allows cabinet secretaries to answer questions and MPs to raise people’s grievances, which makes the executive more responsible.
  7. It provides for regular elections giving citizens chance to elect MPs who can perform.
  8. Parliamentary system gives citizens a chance to participate in national political leadership given the high number of constitutencies and counties.
  9. It allows for constructive criticism from the opposition in parliament leading to good governance.
  10. The system legitimizes actions taken by government following MPs recommendations.


Demerits of parliamentary supremacy

  1. It can create instability where the cabinet is dominated by one party which may make decisions that are dictatorship. It works well in a two or more party state.
  2. In case of emergency, effectiveness may lack since the president has to consult the cabinet before making a decision.
  3. It weakens the executive since cabinet secretaries spent a lot of their time in legislature at the expense of their ministries and constituencies.


The Executive

     It is the arm or branch of the government that implements laws made by legislature. It handles general administration of the country. It comprises the president, deputy president, the cabinet and civil servants.



Powers and functions of the president

  1. He/she is the head of state and represents the people of Kenya locally and internationally.
  2. Has a duty to respect, uphold and defend the constitution. He safeguards sovereignty of the republic.
  3. To protect the rights and fundamental freedoms of the citizens and rule of law
  4. To promote and enhance the unity of the nation.
  5. He appoints Deputy President, cabinet secretaries, Attorney General, Chief Jusctice, Director of public prosecutions with approval of National Assembly, Principal Secretaries, Heads of Parastatals, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, Judges etc.
  6. Promote respect for the diversity of the people and communities of Kenya.
  7. He is the commander in chief of the Kenya defence forces. He/she has powers to declare war or to make peace with approval of Parliament. He chairs National Security Council of Kenya.
  8. He is authorized to establish public commissioners of inquiry to look into matters affecting various aspects of public life.
  9. He addresses new opening of parliament after elections and addresses national assembly.
  10. He receives and entertains several heads of state and governments.
  11. He chairs cabinet meetings in order to discuss government policies and assigns responsibilities.
  12. He may, with the advice of Advisory Committee grant free or conditional pardon to a person convicted of an offence, substitute a less severe form of punishment, postpord execution of a punishment or remit all or part of a punishment.
  13. Presides over national holidays in the country.
  14. May confer honours in the name of people of Kenya e.g. Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (OGH), Elder of Burning Spear (EBS), Distinguished Setvice Medal (DSM) etc.



The Deputy President

  1. He is the principal assistant of the president in the execution of presidential functions
  2. He/she can act as the president when the president is absent
  3. Performs functions conferred on the office by the constitution and other functions assigned by the president.

The deputy can only serve for two terms.


The Cabinet

The cabinet comprises of the President, deputy president, Cabinet secretaries (between 14 and 22) and Attorney General.

Cabinet Secretaries are appointed with approval of National Assembly. They are not MPs. They can be dismissed by president or reassigned. Dismissal may result from gross misconduct, crime committed or violation of constitution.


Roles/ functions of the Cabinet

  1. It advises the president on various aspects of government policies, therefore it is vital that the ministers are well versed in affairs affecting their ministries, the government and the country as a whole.
  2. It meets with the president to discuss national and international issues.
  3. It has the collective responsibility of defending government policies both in and out of parliament.
  4. Cabinet members also give direction, manage and exercise control over their departments.
  5. Cabinet members formulate policies and programmes of the government. It is responsible for ensuring that government policy is implemented by the civil servants serving in the various government departments
  6. It initiates new bills and presents them to parliament and also explains such bill to other members of parliament
  7. They perform delegated duties e.g. can represent the president at functions or meetings both locally and abroad.
  8. Take part in the law making process by suggesting bills related to their ministries
  9. They play part in budgeting by forwarding their departmental budgetary needs.


Secretary to the cabinet

The person is nominated and appointed by the president on recommendation by the National Assembly. He can also be dismissed by the president or resign by writing to the president


  1. Taking charge of the cabinet office
  2. Arranging the business of the cabinet as directed.
  3. Keeping minutes of the cabinet
  4. Conveying the decisions of the cabinet to the appropriate persons or authorities


Principal Secretaries

The person is in charge of State department administration. Hes appointed by the president on recommendation of the Public Service Commission and approved by National Assembly.

He/she can resign by giving written notice to the president.


The Attorney General

AG is nominated and appointed by the president on approval of the National Assembly.

Functions include

  1. Is the principal legal adviser to the National Assembly
  2. Reprersents the national government in court or in any other legal proceedings where the government is involved
  3. Can appear as the friend of the court in any civil proceedings where national government is not involved.
  4. Promotes, protect and uphold the rule of law and defend the public interest.
  5. Parforms any other function conferred on the office by an act of Parliament or president.

Githu Muigai took over the office of AG from Amos Wako in August 2011


Director of Public Prosecutions

Is nominated and appointed by the president on approval of the National Assembly. He/she holds office for a term of 8 years.

He shall consider the interests of the public, administration of justice and need to prevent and avoid abuse of the legal process.


  1. Has power to direct Inspector-General of the National Police Service to investigate information or allegations of criminal conduct.
  2. He/she exercises State powers of prosecution
  3. Can institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court who is suspected to have committed a crime.
  4. He can take over and continue any criminal proccedings commenced in any court, except court martial, by any person or authority with their permission.
  5. He can discontinue at any stage any criminal proceedings instituted by by the Director of Public Procecutions with the permission of court before judgement is made.

Keriako Tobiko was appointed to this office in July 2011 by the two principals.


The Public Service

Values and principles of public Service

  1. High standards of professional ethics
  2. Efficient, effective and economic use of resources
  3. Responsive, prompt, effective, impartial and equitable provision of services
  4. Involvement of the people in the process of policy making
  5. Accountability for administrative acts
  6. Transparency and provision to the public of timely, accurate information
  7. Fair competition and merit as the basis of appointment and promotion
  8. Represenation of Kenya’s diverse communities
  9. Providing adequate and equal opportunities for appointment, trainng and advancement, at all levels of the public service

Public servants are employed by the Public Service Commission, which also promotes and manages the affairs of PSC.

PSC has a chairperson, vice, Secretary appointed for a term of five years, and 7 other members. The president appoints members of PSC with the approval of the National Assembly.

For one to join the PSC,

  • Should not have held or vied for a political position for the last five years.
  • Should not have held any state office
  • Should not be an official in a political party or organization.

The PSC has the following functions and powers

  1. Establishing and abolishing offices in the public service
  2. Appointing and confirming persons to the public offices
  3. Disciplines, or demotes public officers
  4. Promotes the values and principles of the public service
  5. Ensures that the public service is efficient and effective
  6. Develops human resource in the public service
  7. Reviews and makes recommendation on conditions of service, code of conduct and qualification of officers
  8. Monitors and evaluates administration and personnel practices of the public service
  9. Hears and determines appeals in respect of county governments public service


National Security

National security is the protection of Kenya’s territory against internal and external threats.

Operations of National security must adhere to the law, democracy, human rights and freedoms, and adhere to the cultural diversity of Kenyan communities.

It is subject to the authority of the Constitution and Parliament.

There is National Security Council whose main responsibility is to exercise supervisory control over national security organs.

The Council consists of the President, Deputy President, 3 Cabinet Secretaries i.e.for defence, Foreigh Affairs, and Internal Security. It also has Attorney General, Chief of Kenya Defence Forces, and Director General of National Intelligence Service and Inspector–General of the National Police Service.

Functions of National Security Council include

  1. Ensures cooperation and effective functioning of national security organs by integrating foreign, domestic and military policies
  2. Assesses and appraises the objectives, commitments and risks to the Republic in repect of actual and potential national security capabilities.
  3. Gives annual reports on state of security in Kenya to parliament
  4. May deploy national forces outside Kenya or approve deployment of foreign forces in Kenya

Composition of national security

  1. The Kenya Defence Forces
  2. The National Intelligence Service
  3. The National Police Service

The National Security organs objective is to promote and quarantee national security.


The Kenya Defence Forces

  1. The armed Forces

Kenya established her own defence forces in 1963. These are

The Kenya Army which protects the country against external land-based attacks,

Kenya Navy which protects Kenya against sea-borne invasions, illegal landings and departure and unauthorized fishing

Kenya Air Force which helps in control of locust invasions.



  1. They defend the country from external attacks
  2. They take part in development projects such as road and bridge construction
  3. They provide emergency services during national disasters e.g. fire, earthquake and floods.
  4. They contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security by contributing personnel to assist in peace keeping operations in war torn countries e.g. Bosnia, Sierra Leone and East Timor.
  5. They assist the regular police in the maintenance of law and order in the country e.g. during August coup d’état 1982, 1992 multiparty elections etc
  6. They entertain the public during national functions.
  7. The Airforce helps in locust control while the Navy controls sea-borne invasions and illegal landings and unauthorized fishing at the coast.


Challenges facing the Kenya Defence forces

  1. Involvement in indiscipline such as the 1982 abortive coup by airforce
  2. Some members have been accused of getting involved in corruption e.g. during recruitment exercise, procurement of used F-5 jets from Jordan
  3. Tribalism, regionalism and nepotism have been experienced hence demoralizing hardworking officers
  4. Inadequate funds to equip the forces with good equipment to facilitate their work
  5. Majority are not provided with opportunities to acquire further education
  6. Gender-based discrimination has been experienced where women were not allowed to marry. It has changed since then.
  7. Piracy and militia attacks at the Kenyan borders have been a security challenge.
  8. Invasion of Kenyan waters by foreign fishermen such as China, Japan and Europe challenges the ability of Navy to curb illegal fishing
  9. Allegation of violation of human rights especially after 2007 election in Mt Elgon region where the Army was sent to restore peace. They destroyed property and sexually assaulted women.


  1. National Intelligence Services

It is an independent civilian government agency dedicated to protecting the national security interests of Kenya and safeguarding its citizens from threats such as terrorism.

Functions include

  1. It is responsible for security intelligence and counter intelligence to enhance national security in accordance with the constitution.
  2. It liases with Criminal investigation Department to investigate threats such as terrorism.
  3. They are sensitive to, and protect human rights issues and individual freedoms guaranteed by the constitution.
  4. Provides intelligence information which can be used to assist the government in decision making.


Challenges facing the National Intelligence Service

  1. Lack of trust from Kenyan citizens makes them reluctant to provide information to the NIS.
  2. Given that it handles sensitive information, its financial credibility, political independence and accountability of its operations is in question.
  3. Intelligence agency is threatened by internal and external forces such as Al-Shabaab militia, Merille warriors from Ethiopia etc.
  4. Political interference from high offices for gaining political mileage hampers their operations.
  5. Limited financial and human resources limit their operations. Sometimes, some of the staff is incompetent.
  6. Given the nature of NIS, the public have no idea of its operations and type of advice they give to government. It was blamed for not having acted during 2008 violence since the public does not understand it.
  7. NIS does not have power to follow up on advice given to government e.g. before the 2007 elections, it gave its advice but didn’t have power to implement it, hence violence.


The National Kenya Police

The National police are trained at Kiganjo in Nyeri. They include the Kenya Police Service and the Administration Police Service.

There is Inspector General of the National Police Service who is appointed by the president with approval of the Parliament. Under him is Deputy Inspector-General for each of the two services. The two are appointed by the president on recommendation of the National Police Service Commission.

The composition of the Commission

  • It is headed by a person who qualifies to be a High Court Judge
  • 2 retired senior police officer
  • 3 appointees of high integrity who have served the public with distinction
  • Inspector-General of National police Service
  • 2 Deputy inspector-General.

Functions include

  1. Recruitment and appointment of persons to hold an office in the service
  2. Confirmation of appointments and determination of promotions and transfers within the service
  3. Exercising disciplinary control over and removing persons holding an office
  4. Performing any other function prescribed by the national legislation.


Functions of the National Police Service

  1. Maintains law and order by arresting law breakers
  2. They detect and prevent crime hence protects life and property
  3. Prevents corruption and promotes transparency and accountability.
  4. Ensures compliance with constitutional standards of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  5. Fosters and promotes good relationships within the broader society.
  6. Protects the law in order to safeguard both life and property
  7. Detects those who are about to commit a crime in society and hands them to the appropriate authority.
  8. Confines crime susopects in remand as they await the hearing and judgement of their cases in court.
  9. Directs traffic and inspects motor vehicles and examines prospective drivers and arrests traffic offenders.
  10. Fights international crime by liaising with International Police (Interpol) to arrest international criminals
  11. Takes part in national projects such as road construction.
  12. Investigates crime and prosecutes those charged with criminal offences.
  13. Provide emergency relief services to victims during natural calamities
  14. Provide entertainment and controls crowds during national days such as Jamuhuri Day.


Challenges facing the National Police Service

  1. They lack adequate transport and communication facilities to combat crime effectifly
  2. Involvement in corrupt practices such as demanding money from the public for services to be given. This undermines the maintenance of law and order.
  3. Interference by politicians and senior civil servants hampers the effectiveness of the police force
  4. Lack of rapport between the police and the public. They treat one another with a lot of suspicion.
  5. Incompetence of some police officers due to nepotism and tribalism in recruitment. Some with poor academic qualification make them incapable of handling sophisticated acts of crime.
  6. Influx of small arms into the country undermines police work. Some criminals have better weapons than police.
  7. The rise of terrorists activities which are crude such as suicide bombing are a challenge to the police.
  8. Modernization and advancement in information technology has led to internet crime which is too sophisticated for the police to handle.
  9. Lack of enough personnel to control increasing crime hence crime go undetected and also poor methods of crime investigation.
  10. Formation of community based security groups who in some cases turn into terror gangs.


Measures taken/possible solutions to improve national security organs

  1. Acquisition of modern sophisticated communication equipment and vehicles has improved transport and communication
  2. Qualification requirements for the police have been raised. Graduates are also employed
  3. Terms and conditions of service for police have been improved
  4. They now have a spokesman who coordinates and disseminate information affecting relationship between police and the public
  5. Community policing has been introduced to get information from the public via hotlines
  6. Professional training programmes for officers have been introduced to improve effectiveness of the officers.
  7. The navy is making efforts to patrol ships plying Kenyan waters to improve security.
  8. Aviation experts have recommendated the relocation of Moi Air base from its current site to avoid possible disaster.


Correctional Services

In 1963, Kenya enacted the Prisons Act to harmonize the treatment and conditions of offenders in Kenya’s penal institutions.

In 2001, Kenya Prisons Reform Programme initiated reforms based on human rights in the prisons. The reforms led to interactive collaboration between prisons, courts and National Police Service. It led to improvement in the management and conditions of the prisons.

We have open institutions which hold prisoners convicted of less serious crimes and closed institutions for offenders imprisoned for a long time e.g. Kamiti Maximum Prison.


     Functions of correctional services

  1. Ensures safe and secure custody of the criminals. It complements the work of the police by protecting the citizens from criminals.
  2. It implements the decisions of the courts of law e.g. it administers capital or corporal punishment as decided by the courts.
  3. Looks after the welfare of the inmates, ensures that they receive medical care.
  4. It rehabilitate criminals through counselling i.e. the officers try to understand the fact that crimes are committed and individuals can be corrected
  5. It trains the prisoners in various vocational skills to enable them become useful members of the society upon their release. They are taught skills in carpentry, agriculture, mechanics, tailoring etc.
  6. Correctional services keep watch over the behavior of suspected criminals whose cases are still pending in law courts.
  7. They help in confining suspected dissidents who are a threat to state security.


Challenges facing correctional services and possible solutions

  1. Overcrowding in prisoners e.g. the 78 prisons in the country cannot accommodate 15,000 prisoners. This has led to poor living conditions and sanitation.


Reasons for overcrowding in the prisons

  1. Increase in crime
  2. Too many people are being held in the remand due to the failure to raise money to obtain bails.
  3. Many remanded prisoners because their cases are pending in courts.
  4. Sending of petty offenses to prison


  1. Frequent outbreak of diseases in prisons due to congestion and poor conditions in the cells. Prisoners lack drugs and medical personnel e.g. in 1997, 630 prisoners died from infectious diseases including HIV and AIDS.
  2. Brutality due to inadequate training of the wardens. In 2001 some inmates were killed by wardens at King’ong’o prison.
  3. Poor remuneration and living conditions of the prisons officers have demoralized them hence they don’t do their duties as expected
  4. Food shortage, inadequate medical facilities has even led to corruption in the prisons whereby the prisoners are forced to pay to get enough food, blankets and even medical care.


Reforms introduced by the Kenyan Government in the Prisons

In 2003 the vice-president and Minister for Home Affairs Hon Moody Awuor proposed the following to rehabilitate the living conditions in the prisons.

  1. Changed and improved diets in the prisons
  2. Improved living and sanitary conditions. There are better clothing and beddings.
  3. Allowing visits by spouses among the married prisoners
  4. An allowance of 60/- per day for work done while in prison
  5. Prisoners to watch, read and listen to news
  6. Availability of distance learning from Strathmore College to enable them study accounts among other subjects. Provisions of computers to prisoners to enable them learn computer technology.
  7. The department is training personnel to rehabilitate drug and alcohol addicts.
  8. Streamlining of the hearing of cases with a view to keeping prisoners in remand for a short period.
  9. Release of death-row inmates. In 2003, 11,500 prisoners were released to reduce congestion.


The Judiciary

It is the one that administers justice through the court system. It consists of the judges, Magistrates and other judicial officers.  Courts are graded according to the seriousness of the cases they handle and the punishment they give. Some courts can hear cases from particular areas like districts while others have power to hear cases from countrywide.

Jurisdiction refers to the right or power to administer justice and apply laws.

The courts and tribunals are guided by five principles in exercising their judicial authority

  1. Justice must be done to all, irrespective of status
  2. Justice shall not be delayed
  3. Alternative forms of dispute resolution must be pursued including mediation, arbitration, reconciliation etc
  4. Justice shall be administered without undue regard to procedural technicalities
  5. The purpose and principles of the constitution must be protected and promoted.


Court System in Kenya

The court system consists of

  1. Superior Couts, i.e. Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and The High Court
  2. The Subordinate Courts, i.e. Magistrate courts, Kadhi courts, Courts Martial and tribunals

The Supreme Court

It’s the highes court and operates from Nairobi. It’s the final court.

It consists of Chief Justice (currently Dr. Willy Mutunga 2011) as the president, Deputy Chief Jusctice (currently Nancy Barasa 2011) and five other judges. They are appointed by the president on recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission and approval of the National Assembly. They retire at the age of 70 years.

For one to qualify,

  • Should have a degree in law or be an advocate of the High Court
  • At least 15 years experience as a superior court judge, or judicial officer etc
  • High moral character, integrity and impartiality.



  1. Hears and determines disputes relating to elections.
  2. Hears and determines appeals from the court of Appeal, High Court etc
  3. Listens to petitions on the interpretation or application of the constitution
  4. May give advice on any matter concerning county government to national assembly or any state organ on their request.
  5. Makes rules for the exercise of its jurisdiction
  6. May review the certification of the court of Appeal in matters of public interest and may affirm, vary or overturn the certification.


  The Court of Appeal

It’s the second highest in the land. It has 12 judges appointed by the president on recommemndation of the JSC. Each judge must have 10 years experience as superior court judge or a distinguished academic or legal practioner.

Its function is to listen to appeals from High Court or any other court or tribunal set up by parliament.

It has no original jurisdiction (power to hear and determine cases brought to it for the first time)


The High Court

It began as the Majesty’s Court for East Africa in 1897. In 1902 it came to be known as the High Court of East African Protectorate based in Mombasa.

In 1921 a new supreme court was created and its headquarters moved to Nairobi. It was later changed to the High Court of Kenya in 1964.

In consists judges to be determined later on. They are appointed by the president on the advice of JSC. The judges will then appoint the principal judge. Qualifications are the same as Court of appeal judges.

Functions of the High Court

  • It has unlimited original jurisdiction in criminal and civil matters.
  • It determines where a right or freedom has been denied, violated or threatenend.
  • It determines whether any law is inconsistent with constitution or not. It handles issues to do with interpretation of constitution.
  • It can hear appeals from lower courts and tribunals.
  • It supervises all the subordinate courts, i.e. the judges scrutinize the monthly returns of the small courts.
  • It has authority to call for the record of any proceedings before any subordinate court or person, body or authority with the purpose of making any order or giving direction.


The services of a judge can be terminated by the president on recommendation of the Judicial Service Commision. A tribunal determines the case. Reasons can be

  1. Inability to perform the functions of the office arising from mental or physical incapacity
  2. A breach of code of conduct prescribed for judges by an act of parliament
  3. Bankruptcy
  4. Incompetence
  5. Gross misconduct or misbehavior.


Magistrate Courts

These are subordinate courts whose original and appellate jurisdiction is limited to a geographical area. They have power to deal with inheritance, legitimacy, administration of estates, land issues, inheritance, divorce etc.

The courts are also empowered to hold inquests upon the occurrence of a sudden death to determine whether its cause is suspicious or were natural.


Kadhis’ Courts

They are headed by the chief kadhi assisted by a number of Kadhis, who are appointed by the judicial service commission. The Kadhi must profess the Muslim religion and must possess knowledge of the Muslim law

They were set up to look in matters of inheritance, marriage, divorce and other personal law among the Muslims.

Appeals from these courts are heard in the high court and from the court of Appeal.

Laws used in the Kadhis courts come from the Koran Hadith, Islamic Scholarship and Islamic culture.


The Courts Martial

These are military courts convened by the chief of General and Commander of the Armed Forces.

They are criminal courts in their own rights and their powers are totally penal or disciplinary. They are meant to enforce and ensure discipline within the armed forces.

They try cases involving assisting an enemy, cowardice, desertion, insubordination, neglect of duty, malingering, drunkenness and absence without leave.

There are no appeals from the courts martial to the high court. In Kenya the courts martial were set up after the abortive coup of August 1982 when soldiers of the Kenya Air Force were to appear in court for toppling the government.

Objectives of sentencing a person who has broken the law

  1. To deter the criminal from future crime
  2. To deter others from committing similar offences.
  3. To protect the offenders from the public and also stop the criminal from continuing to break the law
  4. To reform the criminal
  5. To satisfy the demand of the people that a wrongdoer should suffer for having committed a crime.

Magistrate courts hold inquests upon the occurrence of sudden death with the intention of finding out the exact cause of the death.


Judicial Service Commission


  • The Chief Justice
  • 1 Supreme Coyurt judge elected by judges of the high court
  • 1 Court of Appeal judge and 1 magistrate – be of opposite sex
  • The Attorney General
  • 2 Advocates with 15 years experience
  • 1 person nominated by Public Service Commission
  • 1 woman and 1 man who are not lawyers appointed by the president
  • Chief registrar of the judiciary who is the secretary to the commission


Functions of the Judicial Service Commission

  1. To promote and facilitate independence and accountability of the Judiciary and the efficient, effective and transparent administration of justice
  2. Recommends to the president persons for appointment as judges
  3. Reviews and makes recommendations on the conditions of service of judges and juduicial offices other than their remuneration
  4. Appojnts, receives complains against, investigates and disciplines affected magistares, registrars or other staff
  5. Prepares and implements programmes for the continuing education and training of judges and judicial officers
  6. Advices national government on improving the efficiency of the administration of judges.


Challenges Facing the Judiciary

  1. Too much interference from the executive. This begins with the appointment of the judges by the president. Many times they decide for the judges what to do
  2. Corruption in the judiciary has made the public doubt its ability to protect Kenyans. The Ringera report of 2003 made the public know how the rich people used the judiciary to acquire their selfish motives
  3. Incompetence of some of the judges. Some are appointed on tribal and political grounds
  4. There are few judicial offices in service e.g. in 2002, there were 47 judges serving over 30 million people. More so they lack other facilities such as equipment, chairs, libraries etc.
  5. They also lack adequate finances to cater for its needs. This frustrates their operations.
  6. Judicial officials though qualified lack continued professional development i.e. they don’t keep abreast with the latest developments in the law and its practice.
  7. Members of the public are ignorant about judicial affairs and legal rights e.g. members of the public fear the courts and also find the legal language complex. This has made the judiciary deny many people their rights.
  8. Information about the judiciary has not been made available to the public more so the litigation fees are high therefore limiting the public access to the courts.


Reforms undertaken in the Judiciary

  1. Increased legal education has been give to the officers and members of the public by the judiciary and other bodies like Kituo cha Sheria.
  2. Improvement of the terms and conditions of service for the judges and other officers.
  3. Setting up of a task to investigate the conduct of judges. This led to the suspension of 23 judges.
  4. Recruiting of more legal officers to reduce the backlog of cases in courts.


The rule of law

This means the exercise of government authority according to written and established laws and procedures.

According to Albert Venn Dicey, this means that all persons whether individual or in government are subject to the law.

It also means that all persons are equal before the law. The rule of law is important e.g. in Kenya all citizens and residents are governed by the same law regardless of their status, colour and religion. The rule of law requires that all be treated equally before the law.


Elements of the rule of law

This concept has four elements

  1. The principle of legality. This means that the state can only exercise these powers granted to it by the law.
  2. Separation of powers of the three arms of government meaning that the legislature, executive and judiciary should have equal powers and control each other through a system of checks and balances.
  3. Equality before the law, i.e. everyone must be treated equally under the law.
  4. Judiciary must work without favour or fear of intimidation in the administration of justice.


Principles of the rule of law

  1. All laws should be prospective and open i.e. laws passed should take effect in the future
  2. Laws should be stable, i.e. not changing too often.
  3. Making of certain laws should be guided by open, stable, clear and general rules
  4. The independence of the judiciary must be guaranteed
  5. Principles of natural justice must be followed e.g. questions like ‘is it fair?’ must be answered before action is taken.
  6. The court should be in a position to review cases
  7. The courts should be easily accessible i.e. not be intimidating and expensive.
  8. The discretion of the security forces should not be allowed to pervert the law, i.e. shooting of the suspects by the police is a threat to the rule of the law.

However the rule of the law should

  1. Protect persons from the abuse of human rights
  2. Assists in economic and social development by teaching political parties and individuals that the law should not be broken to achieve political ends.


The concept of Natural Justice

It refers to the requirement that the people of the bodies that resolve disputes adhere to at least minimal standards of decision making.

The rule of law is governed by the principles of natural justice which ensures fairness in the exercise of administrative powers.

However, natural justice is based on the following rules/principles

  1. The person affected by an impending decision must have a right to a fair hearing prior to the decision made.
  2. The person or the body hearing the case should act in good faith i.e. without bias.


The right to a fair hearing

This requires that an individual shall not be penalized by a decision affecting his or her right or legitimate expectations unless she has been given prior notice of the case against her/him, a fair opportunity to answer it and the opportunity to present his/her case. This involves

  1. Prior notice of hearing
  2. The right to be heard
  3. The conduct of a hearing
  4. The right to be represented e.g. by a lawyer
  5. The decisions and the reason for it i.e. judge should give reasons for his decision and the sanction being imposed as soon as possible, within 24 hours before the case is concluded.


The right against bias

The adjudicator must be able to show that he has conducted a full inquiry into the circumstances involved before making his decision.

He should not have a personal interest in the outcome or be seen to be biased.

Natural Justice therefore ensures that proper procedure is followed to allow a fair hearing, one must be made aware of the matters that will affect them, be given reasonable time and the opportunity to present their case, and the ruling must be free from bias.

Therefore the concept presumes one to be innocent until proved guilty by the court of law. The police have no right to beat up a suspect. They should only arrest and produce the suspect in court for trial.


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