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8 Key Events That Shaped Kenya's Politics

Kenya has one of the most vibrant political system in East Africa and this has been mainly shaped by its political experiences.

In this article we are going to explore eight (8) key events that shaped Kenya's politics for good.

British Colonialism

The first event takes us to the Kenya's history which starts at the Berlin conference held in 1884. in that year, European nation met and petitioned Africa into small territories which they divided amongst themselves. As fate would have it the land where Kenya stands was assigned to Britain and the British named it the East Africa protectorate.

36 years later in 1920, Britain annexed the East Africa protectorate and Kenya as you know it started to exist as a British colony. The colony was named after its highest mountain Kirinyaga mountain which the Europeans pronounced it as Kenya instead of Kirinyaga hence the name Kenya.

And a part from 1920 being the year that Kenya was officially named, it also marked a significant political development that would shape the country's trajectory for the next 43 years. And in many ways, it is still continues to shape the country's political development.

Colonialism was the center of it and it prompted Africans to form political formations around tribes which they used to advise for regional grievances to the colonial administration.

The most prominent of these formations was the 'Maumau' formed and dominated by the Kikuyu, the Meru and the Embu tribes.

The Independence

The second key event was in 1963 which was a major milestone in Kenya's political history as it ushered in the independence. It allowed African majority rule and Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, a moment that marked the rise of popular political figures who shaped the local politics for the next several decades. It was also a turning point for the degeneration of politics into violence, assassinations, political detention and tribal clashes.

The pioneer political class quickly become Kenya's elite class as they are use their power to accumulate wealth for their families and built was has now become a political charged term dynasties.

Leadership Shift(Moi's Presidency)

The third event was in 1978 a turning point in Kenya's political history as it marked the first transition of power.

Mzee Jomo Kenyatta died on August 22 1978 paving the way for his vice president Mzee Daniel Arap Moi as President.

While the transition was largely peaceful, it had come after chaotic back dealing as powerful forced close to the first president made attempts to ensure Moi would not succeed Kenya. The Moi Presidency proved yet another turning point and because although the new president promised to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, he had to cover out his own political image and build new political power.

The search for Moi identity and an obsession with the high handless ness of the Kenyatta ways, let to what is largely led to the dark years of the 80's. The infamous Nyayo torture chamber were built and they were used to silence perceived and real enemies of president Moi.


The fourth has to be 1982 a significant year as it was the first time they the military attempted to institute a coup against a seating Kenyan President. It was a moment that redefined the place of military in politics and largely relegated them to the Barracks as opposed to neighboring countries like Uganda and Zimbabwe where the military is the major force in politics.

Introduction of Multiparty Democracy

Fifth is 1992, the year of the second liberation and multi partism. The 1980's brought along a culture that nearly institutionalized the cultures if violence as a legitimate room in Kenyan politics. However, it also gave birth to the year of resistance to tyranny and the resolved by Kenyans to uphold democracy.

Kenyans in the millions successfully pressured the more regime to leave way for multi party democracy which significantly altered the DNA of Kenyan politics. It also brought a culture of liberal party discipline as politicians the art of making briefcase parties which are quickly assembled during elections and quickly die after.

Unity Among the Opposition

The sixth cane in 2002and the rise of democracy despite the gains made in 1992, when multi party democracy was allowed, democracy remains stifled. 2002 changed the tides when opposition candidate Mwai Kibaki defeated Uhuru Kenyatta who had been sponsored by the ruling party KANU. The Kibaki win through the so called NARCK revolution was a result of the unity among opposition candidates, a trick they has since became popular in Kenya politics. The year birth a new regime that fairy demonstrated the relationship between a good political environment and a economic growth.

2007 Post-Election Violence

The seventh moment that shaped the political landscape of Kenya was in 2007 which marked the return of bad politics. Through the NARCK revolution birthed a new era of relative democracy and economic growth, the old habits of violence as a tool for political power has only been allowed to simmer and had not died.

2007 will go down in history as the year Kenya proved to the world that it was not only just an island of surrounded by turmoil as many regarded it. In about two weeks over 1000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced.

The event of 2007 continue to shape Kenyan politics to date with the current administration having been formed in the wake of ICC investigation into the international crimes committed during that period.

2010 Co Constitution

And finally the eighth moment can be described as a new dawn in 2010. The chaos of 2007 a point of reflection among the political class. This led to the writing snd the promulgation of the 2010 constitution which is often described as one of the world's most progressive. Among the changes that have come about the 2010 constitution is the change of structure of administration from the centralized provincial administration to devolution.

Today, some of the most powerful political figures in Kenya are Governors, Senators and Cabinet Secretaries, positions which have existed courtesy of the new constitution.

The big political event of the last three years have also revolved around the 2010 constitution as President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga have sought to make changes to it though the Building Bridges Initiative. With the court ruining that declared the the initiative as unconstitutional, this was to remain to be the turing point in Kenya's history.

Content created and supplied by: Kipkirui2020 (via Opera News )

Africa Britain British Colonialism East Africa Kenya


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