Decolonization & Independence in Kenya, 1940-93

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

ments. Governments in sub-Saharan Africa have long repressed ethnic interests, centralizing power and economic resources purportedly to promote a new 'integrated' national consciousness. Their critics now demand proportional ethnic representation and an end to nepotism as the high road to the same elusive national unity. But the political and constitutional institutions congruent with ethnic pluralism are not found in strong centralized states. Rather they are found in the opposite. African states may now have to try a formula for stability and equity that disaggregates centralized power, allows freedom of association, including ethnic organization, and in particular promotes federalism.

Federalism may ironically strengthen national political loyalty. By diffusing autocratic power and providing cultural autonomy and control over local resources, it may satisfy varied and sometimes highly idiosyncratic provincial demands. Strengthening the parts could then provide solidarity for the whole. African leaders and many of their external advisers have argued that, outside Nigeria, African states are too small for federal arrangements. But it is the complexity of the social organization, not the size of the population, that mandates decentralized power. Switzerland, for instance, is both smaller and more federalist in constitutional character than the United States. 24

But is federalism the formula for stability and equity in Kenya? Is it congruent with ethnic pluralism? Will it produce a democratic culture that will enable the citizens -- whatever their origins, colour of their skins, the land or language of their ancestors -- to join together in support of certain ideals and principles which make it possible for them to live together? A truly democratic culture should deny no specific identity, be it ethnic, religious, linguistic or cultural, any more than it should develop at the expense of national identity, collective solidarity and the shared hopes of all. It should promote integration by reconciling the double imperative essential to citizenship -- of unity and freedom, of membership in the community and individual liberty. Will federalism permit the free exchange of ideas, which is the corner-stone of democratic culture, in so far as the freedom of information and expression alone can ensure the transparency that is indispensable to the exercise of choice and responsibility? And, finally, will federation permit the free movement of people? In short, the important question Kenyans should be asking themselves is not whether they should have a unitary or federal structure, but what kind of unitary government or what kind of federal structure. Are the majimboists demanding the devolution of powers to clearly defined regions or are they proposing the creation of homogeneous 'Bantustans'?


Conclusion

In a situation where democracy does not address the community's demands and does not generate new bases for social integration and collective identity, the influence of populist or fundamentalist movements

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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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