Transition from Single-Party
to Multiparty Political System
Multipartyism in Kenya has had a chequered history. Beginning with a multiparty system from 1960, the country was transformed into a single- party state with the merger of the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU) and Kenya African National Union (KANU) parties soon after becoming a republic in 1964. Two years later the one-party system was challenged by Oginga Odinga, the father of political pluralism in Kenya, who left KANU to form an opposition party, the Kenya People's Union (KPU). With the banning of KPU by Kenyatta's government in 1969, Kenya reverted to the one-party system, a position that held strong until 1982, when Odinga, together with George Anyona, again sought to establish another opposition party, the Kenya African Socialist Alliance (KASA). This move did not materialize, for in June of the same year Parliament amended the constitution, inserting Section 2A, making Kenya a de jure one-party state. Thus what had been fluid was now frozen. And between 1982 and 1988 a strong opposition to political and intellectual monolithism gradually developed, spearheaded by the dissidents (see Chapter Seven). With their emphasis on 'human rights' and 'liberties', they challenged the dominant political discourse of self-aggrandizement and power. They questioned the tacit assumption of the majority of political bystanders that all resistance was so dangerous that it was impossible.
But the right political climate had to be created in Kenya before dissidence could make an impact. Up to 1989, openly defiant and even seditious appeals had failed because the national and international conditions were not ripe for change. In fact, struggle for the 'second liberation' in Kenya had started with independence. Several leaders, led by Oginga Odinga, began to realize that the country had attained a false freedom and hence it was 'not yet uhuru'.
But, from 1989, the world conjuncture had changed, thus favouring the struggle of the people against authoritarian states in Europe, Latin