Decolonization & Independence in Kenya, 1940-93

By B. A. Ogot; W. R. Ochieng | Go to book overview

in the minds of political observers. For example, had the Change-the- Constitution group got clearance from Kenyatta before they took to the warpath? Or had Kenyatta suddenly realized that the controversy was fraught with dangerous divisive trends and therefore changed his mind?


Conclusion

Kenya's social and economic performance under President Jomo Kenyatta is discussed in the first part of this chapter and in Chapter Five. It is, however, fitting -- by way of conclusion -- to highlight the major political features of Kenyatta's regime. First, we wish to observe that in the period between 1963 and 1978 the ruling national bourgeoisie under Kenyatta effected major constitutional changes that helped them to consolidate political power and to impose their political and economic dominance on the state. In the final analysis, these constitutional changes aimed at strengthening Kenyatta's personal rule, and in the process the ruling party, KANU, was neglected -- and by extension participation by the wananchi in the political process. Whereas Kenya had emerged into uhuru with a very lively multiparty system, a vociferous parliament and an independent press, by 1970 freedom of speech was virtually a thing of the past and government critics were in detention. Second, we also wish to observe that, due to the Western and capitalist orientation of Kenyatta and his regime, Kenya's colonial heritage -- laws, parliament, civil service, police, army, economy, education and provincial administration -- remained largely unchanged and unsympathetic to and remote from popular wishes. This problem was aggravated by Kenya's heavy reliance on Western capitalist countries for skilled manpower, development and technical grants and trade. The highly personal style of government which Kenyatta's unique position created could be justified as giving confidence and stability to the new state, 'but to some it began to look as though the old colonial power had simply transformed itself into one where Kenyatta was a new-style Governor and the Kikuyu had replaced the Europeans as the top dogs'. There was a constant problem of unemployment, many of those out of work being school-leavers and former members of the Mau Mau forces. 'Old KCA [Kikuyu Central Association] leaders looked enviously at the smart cars, and European secretaries enjoyed by younger men, the fruits, their elders felt, of their sacrifices.' 67 There is, therefore, a lot of truth in Oginga Odinga's view that Kenya under Jomo Kenyatta was 'not yet uhuru'.

-106-

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Decolonization & Independence in Kenya, 1940-93
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Contributors viii
  • Prologue on Decolonization xi
  • Notes xvii
  • Introduction the Invention of Kenya 1
  • Note 3
  • Part One the Decolonization of Kenya 1945-63 5
  • One Decolonization: A Theoretical Perspective 7
  • Conclusion 21
  • Notes 22
  • Two the Formative Years 1945-55 25
  • Conclusion: Towards an Alternative Future 43
  • Bibliography 44
  • Three: The Decisive Years 1956-63 48
  • Part Two the Kenyatta Era 1963-78 81
  • Four Structural & Political Changes 83
  • Conclusion 106
  • Appendix: Constitutional Amendments Under Kenyatta 107
  • Notes 108
  • Five - Social & Cultural Changes 110
  • Conclusion 143
  • Notes 144
  • Part Three the First Nyayo Decade 1978-88 149
  • Six the Economics of Structural Adjustment 151
  • Conclusion 182
  • Notes 183
  • Seven the Politics of Populism 187
  • Notes 213
  • Eight the Construction of a National Culture 214
  • Part Four Epilogue 1989-93 237
  • Nine Transition from Single-Party to Multiparty Political System 1989-93 239
  • Conclusion 259
  • Notes 260
  • Index 262
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