Magazine article New African

Kenya: 40 Years of Independence

Magazine article New African

Kenya: 40 Years of Independence

Article excerpt

Kenya celebrated 40 years of independence on 12 December. On the same day in 1963, Prince Phillip, the duke of Edinburgh, representing the Queen, handed over the instruments of power to Prime Minister (later President) Jomo Kenyatta in Uhuru Park, Nairobi. Forty years on, Kenya has become a totally different country. Suzie Ochieng reports.


A year ago, Kenya's third president since independence, Mwai Kibaki, took the oath of office in the same Uhuru Park in front of a crowd estimated at nearly a million people. The ceremony in December 2002 marked an important transition in Kenyan politics, the first time a sitting president--Daniel arap Moi--had handed over power to an opponent.

The adherence to constitutional government with the regular holding of national elections has been one of the enduring strengths of Kenya. Even during the one-party years, elections were held in 1969, 1974, 1979, 1983 and 1988.

Kenya returned to multiparty democracy with the elections of December 1992--the first multiparty elections since the pre-independence elections of 1963. In 1997, multiparty elections were again held, returning President Moi to power. In the December 2002 elections, Mwai Kibaki gained over 60% of the presidential vote with NARC winning 126 seats in the 210 seat National Assembly.

President Kibaki's first year of government has been marked by a "political commitment to good governance, sound macroeconomic management and a relentless campaign against corruption," as he stated when opening a consultative group meeting of donors and development partners in Nairobi on 24 November 2003.

This was recognised by the IMF which cited the president's "strong commitment to break with Kenya's past" when endorsing the country's three-year reform programme on 21 November. The IMF has approved a $252.8m loan to Kenya ending a three-year freeze on IMF support to the country--and a decade of mistrust and uneasy relations with the donor community. Earlier in the year, the European Union approved a [euro]225m assistance programme for Kenya (2003-07) geared to long-term development projects.

The government has set out eight priority areas in its economic revival strategy, which include rehabilitation and expansion of rural infrastructure in identified potential agricultural regions, rehabilitation and the expansion of major international roads.


President Kibaki's determination to fight corruption was demonstrated at an early stage when he set up a department in the Office of the President to deal specifically with issues of governance and ethics and advise him directly on the anticorruption campaign. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.