Kenya: Between Hope and Despair, 1963-2011
On December 12, 1963, people across Kenya joyfully celebrated independence from British colonial rule, anticipating a bright future of prosperity and social justice. As the nation approaches the fiftieth anniversary of its independence, however, the people's dream remains elusive. During its first five decades Kenya has experienced assassinations, riots, coup attempts, ethnic violence, and political corruption. The ranks of the disaffected, the unemployed, and the poor have multiplied. In this authoritative and insightful account of Kenya's history from 1963 to the present day, Daniel Branch sheds new light on the nation's struggles and the complicated causes behind them.
Branch describes how Kenya constructed itself as a state and how ethnicity has proved a powerful force in national politics from the start, as have disorder and violence. He explores such divisive political issues as the needs of the landless poor, international relations with Britain and with the Cold War superpowers, and the direction of economic development. Tracing an escalation of government corruption over time, the author brings his discussion to the present, paying particular attention to the rigged election of 2007, the subsequent compromise government, and Kenya's prospects as a still-evolving independent state.
foundations for friendly relations with the US, so Odinga’s pre-independence ties to Moscow and Beijing ensured a warm reception in both capitals for the Kenyan ministers and civil servants. In Moscow, the Kenyans signed an agreement that provided Soviet funding and assistance to build a 200-bed hospital and a technical college.43 The Chinese agreed to provide manpower, technical expertise and a soft loan of $15 million to fund a major irrigation project in the Tana River area.44 These agreements
Akamba Union. The groups all disavowed political activity. ‘We are not gathered here to talk politics,’ Mungai told a GEMA meeting in early 1973. ‘GEMA is not a political body; we are not gathered here to collect weapons because GEMA is not a military organisation, but we are here to collect funds for the social welfare of the needy.’26 Not all Kikuyu leaders were convinced, however. Kenyatta gave GEMA his blessing on its formation only in the hope that it would resemble the Ismaili social
prominent ﬁgure to be caught in the net was Bernard Hinga, the commissioner of police, in November. Hinga was replaced by Gethi, who had supported Moi throughout the succession struggle. Under the cover of anti-corruption, Moi was beginning the process of replacing one privileged inner circle with another. He was unconcerned at the corrupt practices of his allies. Diplomats alleged that Kibaki, for example, was given free rein to continue all manner of dubious business deals. For instance, as
ministers adopted a new, increasingly authoritarian tack. The president made it clear that he had no time for persistent critics of his government and that of Kenyatta. During discussions with a church group in Kabarnet in 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6x 7 8 9 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30 1 2 3 4 35x 3594_04_CH04.qxp 148 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30 1 2 3 4 35x 7/29/11 | 9:38 AM Page 148 K E N YA July 1980, he asked: ‘Was President Kenyatta’s government a
respected and the right of the individual safeguarded.’10 Land was, Kenyatta thought, to be paid for through the fruits of hard work and purchased by any aspiring African landowner; European owners were to be compensated at proper market values if they wished to sell, and none were to be compelled to leave independent Kenya. He explicitly ruled out the nationalisation of foreign-owned assets, including land, or the compulsory purchase of European-owned land. Kenyatta was not in any mood to