Multi-Party Politics in Kenya: The Kenyatta & Moi States & the Triumph of the System in the 1992 Election

By David W. Throup; Charles Hornsby | Go to book overview
parliament in six days (rather than the usual 14), coming into effect as Constitutional Amendment No. 2 ( 1991) on 10 December, so that President Moi could discuss the decision in his Uhuru Day speech on 12 December.Whether President Moi's decision was an inspired tactic or an ill- considered response to pressure remains unclear. Also unclear is the exact reason why he made the decision that it was time to change. Certainly he had been pressured heavily by Western leaders in the previous three months that some form of change was required, and diplomatic sources suggest that he had made his decision in principle some time before but, concerned about the strength of hardline opposition to reform, had waited until the moment was ripe. Specifically, it appears that KANU moderates, including Saitoti, persuaded the President that resumption of Western aid was conditional on political reform, and that KANU could legalise opposition parties, win a snap election and keep the money rolling in. It is clear that Moi was under intense pressure in the period 25 November- 2 December, as he lost his closest ally to gaol and found Western governments arrayed against him. Without Biwott, the hardliners were caught by surprise.By deciding to accede to international pressure for greater political pluralism before it was inevitable, President Moi had seized the initiative back from FORD, enabling KANU to control the legislative process which would legalise opposition parties and to prepare the multi-party electoral process to KANU's advantage. Although FORD had won the legal right to compete, the government remained hostile to open debate, a free press, and the norms of Western-style pluralist democracy. Moi and KANU would fight hard to win the forthcoming election, and their methods would be rather different from those used by those leaders whose conversion to multi-party democracy was more deep-rooted.
Notes
1. Jennifer A. Widner, The Rise of a Party-State in Kenya, passim.
2. David Throup, "'Render Unto Caesar the Things that are Caesar's: The Politics of Church-State Conflict in Kenya, 1978-90'", in Holger Bernt Hansen and Michael Twaddle (eds), Religion and Politics in Africa, James Currey, London, 1995, pp. 143-76.
3. Ibid., pp. 154-73.
4. Bishop Okullu publications include Church and Politics in East Africa, Uzima Press, Nairobi, 1974; Church and State in Nature Building and Human Development, Uzima Press, Nairobi, 1984; and "'Church and Society in Africa'", in B. Onimode et al. (eds), Alternative Development Strategies for Africa: Coalition for Change, Institute for African Alternatives, London, 1990, pp. 79-97.
5. David Throup, 'Render Unto Caesar the Things that are Caesar's: The Politics of Church-State Conflict in Kenya, 1978-90', pp. 147-73.
6. Interview with the Rt. Rev. Dr Henry Okullu, London, May 1994.
7. Weekly Review, Nairobi, 21 January 1983, pp. 4-5.
8. Interview with Paul Muite, Nairobi, November 1993.
9. Interview with Gibson Kamau Kuria, Nairobi, December 1992.
10. Weeky Review, 9 December 1988, p. 10. See also Weekly Review, 7 April 1989, pp. 13-16.
11. Weekly Review, 16 December 1988, pp. 4-9; and 23 December 1988, pp. 4-7. See also Weekly Review, 24 February 1989, pp. 4-6, and 21 April 1989, pp. 14-15.
12. Weekly Review, 23 September 1988, p. 17; 30 September 1988, p. 16; 7 October 1988, p. 12; 21 October 1988, pp. 4-7; 4 November 1988, pp. 14-15; 16 December 1988,

-88-

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