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Kenya

Kenya: Between Hope and Despair, 1963-2011

DANIEL BRANCH
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 352
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1npwvg
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    Kenya
    Book Description:

    On December 12, 1963, people across Kenya joyfully celebrated independence from British colonial rule, anticipating a bright future of prosperity and social justice. As the nation approaches the fiftieth anniversary of its independence, however, the people's dream remains elusive. During its first five decades Kenya has experienced assassinations, riots, coup attempts, ethnic violence, and political corruption. The ranks of the disaffected, the unemployed, and the poor have multiplied. In this authoritative and insightful account of Kenya's history from 1963 to the present day, Daniel Branch sheds new light on the nation's struggles and the complicated causes behind them.

    Branch describes how Kenya constructed itself as a state and how ethnicity has proved a powerful force in national politics from the start, as have disorder and violence. He explores such divisive political issues as the needs of the landless poor, international relations with Britain and with the Cold War superpowers, and the direction of economic development. Tracing an escalation of government corruption over time, the author brings his discussion to the present, paying particular attention to the rigged election of 2007, the subsequent compromise government, and Kenya's prospects as a still-evolving independent state.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18064-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-ix)
    Lower Heyford
  6. List of acronyms and abbreviations
    (pp. x-xi)
  7. NOTE ON ORTHOGRAPHY
    (pp. xii-xiii)
  8. Map of Kenya
    (pp. xiv-xiv)
  9. INTRODUCTION: THE PARTY
    (pp. 1-24)

    In late June 1963, Oginga Odinga hosted a party at his Nairobi home. Wearing, as one American diplomat described, ‘his traditional beaded cap, his Mao style, high collared jacket of fine black cotton, and black trousers’, Odinga greeted each guest personally as they entered his house. The guests, all from ‘the top echelon of Kenya, diplomats, guests from near-by countries, and a host of Odinga’s retainers and employees from his ministry’, were treated to ‘huge quantities of native foods … served buffet style. Beans, maize, chicken, bread, potatoes, and cooked greens were the basic fare. The consumption was enormous.’¹ The...

  10. CHAPTER ONE FREEDOM AND SUFFERING, 1963–69
    (pp. 25-66)

    Colonel Pink was proud of Lamu’s independence celebrations. Having brought his military background to bear as the finance officer for the committee charged by the local authority with organising the ceremonies, the owner of Petley’s Hotel in Lamu town was sure the events would surpass those of many larger towns in Kenya. Distance from the capital Nairobi was to be no object. The population of the small island off the north-eastern coast participated in the independence celebrations as fully as other citizens of the new nation. Over 11 and 12 December 1963, Lamu’s people enjoyed a football match, a fancy...

  11. CHAPTER TWO THE BIG MAN, 1968–69
    (pp. 67-88)

    Kenyatta spent the first weekend of May 1968 at his beachside home at Bamburi, north of Mombasa. At some stage on the Sunday, he suffered a serious stroke. Heart and blood specialists and medical equipment were rushed from Mombasa to the president’s home. His wife, Mama Ngina, hurried to Bamburi from Nairobi to be at the ailing president’s side, along with the attorney general, Charles Njonjo, and the vice president, Daniel Arap Moi. The president’s brother-in-law and minister of state, Mbiyu Koinange, had in any case been at Bamburi as usual for most of the weekend.² Although the president’s condition...

  12. CHAPTER THREE THE FALLEN ANGEL, 1971–75
    (pp. 89-120)

    ‘To understand Mathenge’, a British diplomat wrote in March 1972, ‘is to some extent to understand both the President and the Kenya Government.’ As one of the president’s most trusted lieutenants, Isaiah Mathenge served as provincial commissioner in Coast from 1965, and then in the Rift Valley after his appointment in 1971. From his office in Nakuru, Mathenge was Kenyatta’s direct representative at the epicentre of post-colonial politics as the president set about tightening his grip on power in the aftermath of Mboya’s assassination and the dissolution of the KPU. Few could therefore rival the insight he could provide into...

  13. CHAPTER FOUR FOOTSTEPS, 1975–82
    (pp. 121-160)

    Kenyatta collapsed and died at his beachside home in the early hours of 22 August 1978. For many, his death occasioned reflection rather than displays of grief. While in its reaction the public did not ignore such issues as corruption and authoritarianism, it tended to set these to one side and instead to focus on Kenyatta’s role in winning independence. Even Odinga agreed. As Kenyatta lay in state prior to the funeral, he went to pay his respects. After saying a prayer over the body, a tearful Odinga spoke to the press. ‘We have had very many differences, but there...

  14. CHAPTER FIVE LOVE, PEACE AND UNITY, 1982–88
    (pp. 161-182)

    As Kenya marked five years of Moi’s rule and the twentieth anniversary of independence, vast numbers of buildings and monuments were erected, emblazoned with the second president’s slogan ofNyayo(‘Footsteps’). Though generally aesthetically unedifying, none was quite as ugly as Nyayo House. Opened in December 1983, the dirty-yellow skyscraper, which was quickly stained by traffic fumes, was built across the road from the city’s Uhuru Park. There, at his inauguration, Moi had promised Kenyans that he would deliver ‘love, peace and unity’.² Instead, in the words of the Mwakenya dissident group, the country had become a ‘democracy of the...

  15. CHAPTER SIX THE WAR OF ARROWS, 1989–94
    (pp. 183-216)

    Speaking at a religious conference held just days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a political scientist, Kabiru Kinyanjui, told his audience:

    The events of the last few weeks in Eastern Europe challenge not only our thinking, language and world-view, but also our understanding of freedom and the basic quest for justice and peace. The thinking which shaped post-Second World War Europe and the world in general has collapsed. A new order is emerging.²

    He was right: in the weeks that followed, the demands for political reform, inspired by events in Eastern Europe, grew ever louder in Kenya and...

  16. CHAPTER SEVEN THE GOLDENBERG YEARS, 1993–2002
    (pp. 217-244)

    On 20 January 1994, Oginga Odinga suffered a heart attack at home in Kisumu. He was quickly transported to hospital in Nairobi, but died there that same day. Odinga’s advanced age – he was eighty-two when he died – and poor health did little to diminish the grief that many felt. Even Moi was magnanimous for once: ‘Kenya has lost a great son, a nationalist and a patriotic citizen.’² The president glossed over his rival’s role in the restoration of multipartyism, but Odinga’s supporters and allies were less willing to forget his leadership of the reform movement. ‘He offered his...

  17. CHAPTER EIGHT NOTHING ACTUALLY REALLY CHANGED, 2002–11
    (pp. 245-286)

    Less than a week after the Kariobangi massacre of early March 2002, Moi held a rally in the neighbourhood. He used the event to anoint a group of the so-called ‘Young Turks’ within KANU’s leadership as the pool of candidates to succeed him after his retirement at the election later in the year. Moi paraded Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto on the dais. In front of the large crowd at the rally, Moi turned to each and asked: ‘If I leave for you [the] leadership, will you kill? Will you protect the country? Properly?’² Six years...

  18. CONCLUSION: THE LEOPARDS AND THE GOATS
    (pp. 287-300)

    In August 2010, the Odinga residence in Nairobi hosted another party, on this occasion to celebrate the outcome of the constitutional referendum. Some things had changed: it was Raila rather than Oginga who greeted the guests, and the Kamba dancing troupe had been replaced by ‘a bevy of beauties’. But some things remained the same. The younger Odinga was no less generous a host than his father had been. Guests were treated to a buffet table covered with ‘chicken, lamb and beef’ and ‘beer, wines, spirits [and] soft drinks’. Ida Odinga, Raila’s wife, welcomed the visitors. ‘We are celebrating a...

  19. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 301-318)
  20. NOTES
    (pp. 319-346)
  21. INDEX
    (pp. 347-366)